One way is for problems on the meridian. The small intestine meridian joins with the urinary bladder meridian to form the Taiyang meridian. While the small intestine portion of the channel runs up the ulnar side of the arm to the shoulder blade; the leg portion of the meridian, named for the urinary bladder, covers most of the rest of the back with points where we often feel pain or are injured. It comes up a lot because back pain is ubiquitous. SI 5 is also the fire point on the fire meridian, so I think of it as deeply connected to inflammation.
The second way is for constitutional issues. Theoretically, the small intestine is said to, “separate the clear from the turbid.” The way that I interpret this is that it speaks to the function of the immune system, whose job, in our body, is to identify what is clear (what is us) and what is turbid (what is a germ that needs to be expelled). Sometimes the function of our immune systems gets convoluted, and if we are not separating the clear from the turbid, the good cells from the pathogens, and the body is attacking itself; you end up with an autoimmune disorder.(and inflammation, which we’ve already pointed out that this point is good at clearing).
SI 5 is the yang organ to the HT yin organ; together they govern aspects of our mental state. Texts about these organ systems have a lot of references to their use for madness and mania in many forms. There’s one point close by that is for, “tendency to ascend to high places to dance and sing,” which would be good for any people who like to get on the bar to dance around and sing their favorite karaoke song. But this point really speaks to our mind’s ability to separate the clear from the turbid and give us an opportunity to see things how they are. That we can, in our actions, act with clarity.
Combined with the stillness of acupuncture this yearning for mental clarity is a powerful intention. It reminds me of being in the warmer waters of the ocean, on a beach break and how when the waves would crash it would churn up the sand in the bubbly foam. Then, when there was a break from the crashing waves the water would become still and the sand would begin to settle showing the wonders beneath the sea. Our minds are as mysterious as the ocean and our thoughts are constantly breaking. Find stillness and clarity in acupuncture and see what’s inside your mind.