LI 4

Acupuncture Point Theory

LI 4 Acupuncture Point Applications and Theory

The acupuncture point "LI 4" , 合谷, is represented by "He Gu" in pinyin and "Union Valley" in english and may be found:

In the middle of the 2nd metacarpal bone on the radial side.


Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • Releases the exterior for wind-cold or wind-heat syndromes
  • Strengthens the wei qi, improves immunity
  • Regulates the sweat glands, for excessive sweating tonify LI 4 then disperse KD 7 and vice versa.
  • Any problem on the face - sense organs, mouth, teeth, jaw, toothache, allergies, rhinitis, hay fever, acne, eye problems, etc.
  • Toothache use both LI 4 & ST 44 - LI for the lower jaw & ST for the upper jaw.
  • Headache, especially frontal a/or sinus (yangming area).
  • Chronic Pain
  • Influence the circulation of Qi and Blood - Use the four gates, LI 4 & LV 3 to strongly move the Qi and Blood in the body clearing stagnation and alleviating pain.
  • Promote labor or for retained placenta  

LI 4 has some precautions to be considered (see our precautions list).

Avoid Moxa (MX)
Cautions with pregnancy (PG)


Li 4 has the following theoretical associations which serve as important guideposts in designing an effective treatment protocol:

Explore li 4 functional groupings theory - Command Point, Entry Exit Point, Shokanten - Nine Continent and/or YuanLuo, or read all point categories and related theory.

A single acupuncture point is not commonly thought of as an empirical way to influence a TCM diagnostic pattern. LI4, however, is a strong candidate to be incorporated into an acupuncture protocol for patients who exhibit: Lung Wind Invasion - Wind Cold and/or Lung Wind Invasion - Wind Heat

LI 4 may potentially be used, in coordination with a well designed acupuncture treatment protocol, to influence the following conditions: Common Cold, Eye Problems, Facial Pain, Headache, Rhinitis, Sweat Problems and/or Toothache

While not necessarily valid clinically, EX Yaotongxue (Acute issues of the low back - pain, sprain, stra…) and LU 10 (Clear Excess or Deficiency Heat from the LU Chann…) are nearby.

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