Acupuncture Point Contraindications and Precautions

Acupuncture is a safe and effective form of medicine. Complications from the clinical application of acupuncture are extremely rare and side effects, if any, are limited. There are a number of guidelines, however, which govern the use of particular acupuncture points. A precaution may be related to use in certain conditions, with particular techniques, or because of a points location. We have listed the commonly accepted contraindications and precautions below.

Note: It is worth noting that these are general guidelines and there are cases, techniques a/or styles of acupuncture where a practitioner may still use a point or technique even if it is listed here as a precaution.

Complete List of Precautions by Meridian

Meridian/Point

Contraindication

Meridian/Point

Contraindication

Lung - LULarge Intestine - LI
LU 1NDN Toward SternumLI 1No Moxa
LU 2NDN Toward SternumLI 4No Moxa, No Needle in PG
LU 3No MoxaLI 13AA
LU 5No MoxaLI 19No Moxa
LU 9AALI 20No Moxa
LU 11No Moxa
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Pericardium - PCTriple Heater - TH
PC 1NDNTH 19AA, No Bleeding
TH 22AA
TH 23No Moxa
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Heart - HTSmall Intestine - SI
HT 1AASI 18No Moxa
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Spleen - SPStomach - ST
SP 6No Needle in PGST 1No Moxa, Slow Insertion, No Manipulation
SP 12AAST 2No Moxa, NDN
ST 5AA
ST 8No Moxa
ST 9No Moxa, AA, NDN
ST 12AA, NDN
ST 13 thru ST 18Oblique Insert Only
ST 17No Needle (landmark only), No Moxa
ST 42AA
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Liver - LVGall Bladder - GB
LV 12No NeedleGB 1No Moxa
LV 14NDNGB 3NDN
GB 9No Moxa
GB 21No Needle in PG, No Needle w/history of heart disease
GB 22No Moxa
GB 33No Moxa
GB 42No Moxa
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KDUB
KD 21NDN, Avoid Liver on Right SideUB 1No Moxa, Slow Insertion, No Manipulation
KD 22NDN, Avoid HeartUB 2No Moxa
KD 23 thru KD 27NDN, Needle ObliquelyUB 3No Moxa
UB 6No Moxa
UB 8No Moxa
UB 10No Moxa
UB 30No Moxa
UB 31, 32, 33 & UB 34No Needle in PG
UB 40No Moxa, not even pole
UB 67No Moxa, except to turn breech
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Conception Vessel - CVGoverning Vessel - GV
CV 2 thru CV 7NDN in PG & NPN in advanced PGGV 4No Moxa in males under 20
CV 8No NeedleGV 6No Moxa
CV 9 thru CV 15NPN in advanced PGGV 15NDN, No Moxa
GV 16NDN, No Moxa
GV 22 & GV 23No Moxa, No Needle in infants with metopism
GV 25No Moxa
GV 26No Moxa
GV 27No Moxa
GV 28No Moxa

Precautions for Pregnancy

LI 4, SP 6, GB 21
UB 31 thru UB 34
CV 2 thru CV 7 (NDN in PG, NPN in advanced PG) & CV 9 - CV 15 (NPN in advanced PG)

Precautions for Moxa

LU 3, 5, 8, 11
LI 1, 4, 19, 20
TH 23
SI 18
ST 1, 2, 8, 9
GB 1, 9, 22, 33, 42
UB 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 30, 40, 67
GV 4 (in males under 20), GV 6, 15, 16, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28

Precautions for Ateries

LU 8, LU 9
LI 13
TH 19, TH 22
HT 1
SP 12
ST 5, ST 9, ST 12, ST 42

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