Yao Tong Xue. Technically, this is two points. But, I think of them as one, like two friends that are always together wearing matching outfits, or ingredients that are consistently used at the same time like carrots, onions and celery or galangal, lemon grass, and kaffir lime leaves.
The name of these two points translates as “Lumbar Pain Points.” And, that’s exactly what it is for. In fact, as far as back pain points go, these little guys, on the back of the hand, are made to order in a pinch. I use these on just about everyone with back pain, and the chances are that if you’ve come into the clinic with a sore back, I’ve snuck these into the back (AKA: dorsal side) of your hands.
When I think of why these points should help back pain, I think of Hamburger Helper and their mascot Lefty, who is a gloved hand brought to life. If Lefty came to life and needed some acupuncture, Yao Tong Xue would be right in his lower back area.
The most profound results I’ve had using these two points was actually on myself. It was about a decade ago, when my kids were super little and didn’t help with the luggage when we traveled. We had been to my wife’s parents in Southern California’s Orange County and I was loading up the car for the long, return drive back on Interstate 5. Towards the end of the luggage loading process (which was extensive, little children have the most stuff of anybody), I tweaked my back.
I didn’t hurt too much at first. I was uncomfortable and sore, but caught up in the moment and hubbub of travel and visiting family. We said our goodbyes to my in-laws as my wife and kids loaded into the car, and we hit the road for the 6 hour drive. We got on the 405 north and passed the 605, the 710, the 110 and the 105. By the time we hit the typical slow down on the 405 by LAX, my back began to throb. As we were crossing underneath the 101 in the Valley, I was in serious pain.
Luckily, I tend to keep acupuncture needles in my wallet. On this occasion I had a few needles to spare and fished them out. Without taking any unnecessary breaks (I am, after all, a middle aged man programmed to try to make good time on the road) while I was driving, I needled myself. I rested my left hand on my left knee, drove with my right knee, and with my right hand, quickly needled Yao Tong Xue on my left hand as I was passing the 118.
By the time we merged on the 5, and passed Six Flags Magic Mountain, my back began to loosen. As we edged past Pyramid Lake, I was feeling like my old self again. By the time we stopped at the In and Out Burger at the foot of the grapevine, I was a little sore but more or less fine.
My take away from this experience is that these points are super strong when used promptly. There is great value in attending to pain issues right away. These points work best in the acute phases. So, don’t delay. If you tweak your back, come get acupuncture right away. Pass the 680, the 980, the 880, the 80, and take the 580 to our acupuncture rest stop and get your butt in one of our chairs.