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Acupuncture and acupressure points in the hand: how do you learn them?

By Tom Kennedy

Acupuncture and acupressure points in the hand are some of the most commonly used for a few reasons:

  • Firstly, they are relatively safe to use as there are no underlying organs to worry about (not such an issue with acupressure of course).
  • Secondly, especially when it comes to acupressure, they can easily be used for self-treatment. For example the point Hegu (Large Intestine 4) is commonly used to treat headaches and other disorders of the head, and is even used to relieve pain during labour.
Acupressure point LI-4

Acupressure on the point Hegu (Large Intestine 4)

  • Thirdly, these are powerful points! For example, several of the shu (transporting) points are located on the hand/wrist, and these have always been regarded as one of the most influential categories of points. Here’s a sample from the ‘Five Shu Points’ section of A Manual of Acupuncture:

‘The five shu-points (transporting points) are the jing-well, ying-spring, shu-stream, jing-river and he-sea points of the twelve primary channels and are one of the most important groups of acupuncture points. All are located at or distal to the elbow and knee joints. Since the qi flowing in these portions of the channels is passing through a particularly dynamic change in quality, the five shu-points play an important role in the formation of many acupuncture prescriptions.’

There are also several Yuan-source points on the hand (the same as the Shu-stream points on the Yin channels, e.g. Taiyuan Lung 9) – another hugely significant group of points.

For all these reasons, the hand points are vital to learn as an acupuncturist or acupressure therapist, or even if you just want to experiment with acupressure self-treatment.

The images below (also taken from A Manual of Acupuncture) are a useful way of visualising all the acupuncture/acupressure points in the hand at the same time.

Acupuncture/acupressure points in the palm of the hand

Acupuncture and acupressure points in the palm of the hand

Acupuncture/acupressure points in the back of the hand

Acupuncture and acupressure points on the back (dorsum) of the hand


Those with access to A Manual of Acupuncture digital membership can read all about the various point categories, as well as extensive detail on the individual points. They also have the option of running tests by body area, including the hand (as well as a series of other ways to test yourself). This is a great way to learn the points on the hand, as well as other areas. See the video below for a demonstration of this, or follow the links on this site to try it for yourself.

Please also see our article on learning acupuncture point location, which offers several ideas on how to learn the points in general.