The Seven Tigers (77.26)
The 7 Tigers are a group of three points located directly above UB 60.
Location: The first point is 2 cun above UB 60, the second point is 4 cun above UB 60, and the third point is 6 cun above UB 60.
Indications: Pain in the ribs, pleurisy, sternum, clavicle, scapula (tai yang connection), lateral neck muscles, and pain in the trapezius and at GB 21.
The UB Meridian and Superficial Back Line
The Seven Tigers are an interesting group of points because they're located in the UB 58 to UB 60 region. In the area of UB 57 - UB 58 the bladder meridian shifts laterally, and these points are in the lateral aspect of the UB meridian and above UB 60.
They're also associated with the superficial backline and more specifically the soleus muscle. The superficial back line (SBL) looks a lot like the bladder meridian.
The tai yang relationship between the UB and SI meridians helps us to understand why these points can treat pain in the scapular region. However, these points can also be used for pain at GB 21. One way we can understand this is because these points are located between the UB and GB meridians in the lateral lower leg.
The 7 Tigers & the Scapular-Thoracic Joint
Anatomically, we need to understand the Scapular-Thoracic joint (ST joint) because the 7 Tigers are often a good choice for problems in the ST joint. The ST joint isnt a true joint in the way that bones come together to form joints; however, it is referred to as a joint in anatomy and Western medical sciences.
To understand the ST joint and the way the 7 Tigers can work on disorders of this area, we need to look at the muscles involved in the mobility of the ST joint. The trapezius plays a role in the ST joint, as do the rhomboids, levator scapulae, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior. and the pectoralis minor.
Remember that these points treat pain and tension at GB 21, and that this point is located on the trapezius. The trapezius muscle also forms a part of the ST joint as it attaches to both the scapula and thoracic vertebrae. Since the 7 Tigers treat both scapular area pain, and pain at GB 21, we can begin to see how they can treat disorders of the ST joint.
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7 Tigers, STJ, & Tai Yang - shao Yang Connections
In the traditional perspective we simply say the foot tai yang channel can treat the hand tai yang channel - the 7 Tigers treat scapular pain. Traditionally in the Master Tung system we also think of the 7 Tigers as being located between the UB and GB channels, so that helps explain why they treat GB 21 pain.
As we come to understand more about myofascial anatomy, and how it relates to acupuncture points, we can start to refine our point selections and use them in a more targeted way.
Furthermore, if we look at the small intestine meridian or the deep back arm line, we find that the rhomboids, subscapularis, and levator scapulae are on the small intestine meridian or the deep back arm line. Some of these muscles are also part of the ST joint such as the rhomboids and levator scapulae.
The 7 Tigers can also be effective for neck and shoulder problems that involve the levator scapulae muscle. The point small intestine 13 is located at the attachment of the levator scapulae to the medial upper edge of the scapula. For patients that have pain at SI 13 that extends into the neck, the 7 Tiger points are also bery effective. This has to do with both the tai yang relationship and the ST joint.
The 7 Tigers & Upper Back Pain
For pain in the upper back it is crucial to determine if the pain is in the erector spinae, rhomboids, or trapezius. If the problem is located near the spine or in the erector spinae, then UB 57 and ashi points just proximal or distal to that that are a great treatment.
I do like the 7 Tigers for some cases of upper back pain, but it helps to understand how different point groups work and understand the anatomy behind it so that you can get better at your point selections
The rhomboids are located between the scapula and thoracic spine, and either the 7 Tigers, or UB 57 with local ashi points can be effective. I don't needle the 7 Tigers with UB 57 and local ashi points because they both work on the UB meridian and SBL.
While the 7 Tigers work well for scapular pain and tension in points like SI 13 and GB 21, they may not be the best points for pain between the scapula and spine. I usually prefer to use UB 57 and its local ashi points when the pain is located in that region. If the pain is localized closer to the spine, or if the erector spinae are involved, UB 57 and local ashi points generally work better than the 7 Tigers.
This also corresponds with imaging, as the mid calf area is more associated with the upper back, and the more distal 7 Tigers relate more to the upper shoulders and neck.
If you do treat a patient for upper back pain, and dont get a result with the points in the gastrocnemius at and around UB 57, then some clients will respond well with the 7 Tigers. However, to get a result with this client they will also need to present with symptoms in the small intestine meridian and at points like SI 11, SI 12, and SI 13.
To sum this up, I have found that the 7 Tigers usually work best when the ST joint is involved and the muscles around it like the trapezius, rhomboids, or the levator scapulae have trigger points.
The pectoralis minor is also a part of the ST joint, but it is a part of the lung meridian and the deep front arm line. For ST joint conditions that occur with pain in the anterior shoulder and at LU 1 or LU 2, it is necessary to use points like Xiao Jie. In doing this we are directly reaching the LU meridian. Several points on the lung meridian such as LU 6, LU 7, 33.13, 33.14, Xiao Jie, 22.01, and 22.02 can also treat upper back pain.
For ST joint patterns that involve both the upper back, shoulders, trapezius, and anterior shoulder it is necessary to pair one of the UB point groups with a point group on the lung meridian.