top of page
Integrating the Balance Method with Zang-Fu Patterns

While all doctors of Oriental medicine are familiar with zang-fu methods of pattern identification, fewer know about meridian based patterns such as used in the Balance Method and Meridian Circuit Systems.  Having fluency in both systems is essential to getting the best clinical results.  While meridian based methods are more appropriate to designing acupuncture treatment protocols, zang-fu methods of syndrome differentiation are best used for herbal therapy.  

These two systems are not mutually exclusive and there is a lot of overlap between them.  When we integrate the two systems, we can better understand the subtle nuances of arriving at proper pattern identification.  Let's examine the differences between the way we understand liver patterns from a zang-fu and meridian based perspective.  


Zang-Fu Liver Patterns

Liver Qi Stagnation

Liver Qi Invading the Stomach

Liver Qi Invading the Lungs

Liver Yang Rising

Liver Fire

Liver Wind

Liver Wind with Phlegm

Liver Blood Vacuity

Liver Yin Vacuity

Liver Yin Deficiency with Empty Heat

Liver Blood Stagnation

Liver Cold Stagnation

LV / GB Damp Heat

Meridian Based Patterns

Liver System Connections 1 - 5

System 1: LV   -   PC

System 2: LV   -   LI

System 3: LV   -   GB

System 4: LV   -   SI

System 5: LV   -   LU

Liver Circuits: 

Jue Yin - Shao Yang

Jue Yin - Yang  Ming

Jue Yin - LI / KI

LV  -  GB  -  HT  -  SI

LV  -  LU   -   LI   -  LV

For a zang-fu pattern like liver stagnation there can be many symptoms such as headaches, eye pain, chest and costal tightness, shortness of breath, menstrual difficulty, digestive disorders, and more.

TCM style treatments would choose points like Four Gates, GB 34, LV 14, and maybe PC 6.  However, these kinds of textbook point prescriptions do not account for the diversity of individual symptoms.  

For some clients with liver qi stagnation, it may mostly affect the head, eyes, neck, and shoulders; however other clients with a liver qi stagnation pattern will not have any symptoms in the head or neck, but may suffer from abdominal pain, gastrointestinal disorders, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or menstrual problems.  

For the client with the symptoms in the head, should we use the same points as we would with someone that has liver qi stagnation causing chest pain and difficultly breathing?

How should the points differ between two clients, one who has liver qi stagnation causing menstrual pain, and another who has liver stagnation causing stomach pain?


This online acupuncture course will teach powerful methods for integrating meridian based approaches with traditional zang-fu techniques of pattern identification.  This online course consists of 4 hours of training with pdf files and audio mp3 recordings.  In this section you will learn how the 15 major meridian circuit patterns, as taught in Meridian Circuit Systems, corresponds with zang-fu patterns.  

bottom of page