Practitioners' News

Korean Hand Therapy: Micro-meridians - by Dan Lobash

by John Stan | Aug 03, 2016
Article written by Dr. Dan Lobash, Ph.D., L.Ac.

In a previous newsletter article I discussed the Correspondence Therapy level of KHT. This Basic Level of Korean Hand Therapy is characterized by an image corresponding to the body on each hand as shown in Fig.1. The concept is much the same in auricular therapy which superimposes a body image onto each ear. 

Figure 1: KHT Correspondence of the Front and Back of the Body

In KHT the possibilities do not stop there. The next level focuses on a micro-meridian system (see Fig. 2) overlaid on each hand that parallels the body meridian system. Micro-meridians in KHT give the practitioner another avenue of treatment that has not been developed in other micro-systems, such as the auricular therapy. These micro-meridians increase the healing effects of any treatment. 

Figure 2: Hand Micro-meridians

In Traditional Chinese Medicine one of the foundation concepts is QI and how it flows around the body through channels (meridians) to feed the internal organs. Acupuncture point locations along each body meridian access and affect Qi flow to the internal organs. When body meridians and acupuncture point functions are utilized, one can also apply another set of energy pathways called micro-meridians. Micro-meridians are a set of meridians analogous to the body meridians and are located on smaller parts of the body, such as the hands and feet.

Tae Woo Yoo, OMD, Ph.D. presented this set of hand micro-meridians as a part of Korean Hand Therapy in the early 70’s. One can accept their existence based on what the founder of KHT discovered. Or, one can also look for scientific explanations of the nature of meridians and micro-meridians plus how the micro-meridians are related to the body meridians.

Micro-meridians...A Reality?

Dr. Yoo established the existence of micro-meridians and their locations on the hands using a thermographic (heat sensing) camera. The camera was pointed at the locations of specific organ sites on the body while stimulating the related hand micro-meridian point. He followed this procedure for all of the main micro-meridians.

Hologram Construct

The question remains, “What is a micro-meridian?” To answer this, a new construct is needed. This new construct shows how the body meridians and micro-meridians are related. It states that the body is an energy field hologram. If the entire body is a hologram, then every body part, including meridians, are located everywhere on/in the body. The micro-meridians are not a different set of meridians; they are a holographic image of the body meridians. They are the same meridians. It would seem therefore that any stimulation of the holographic micro-meridian is a stimulation of the body meridian. There are many interesting paradoxes concerning micro-meridians that can be resolved with the hologram construct. However, we will explore this in greater detail in a future article.  

Similarities and Differences Between Body Meridians and Micro-meridians

There are some similarities and structural differences between KHT micro-meridians and body meridians.
  1. The number of micro-meridians is 12 Yin and 12 Yang on each hand. Therefore, there are 24 micro-meridians vs. 12 body meridians.

  2. Micro-meridians are designated with letters A though N.

  3. The KHT micro-meridians are a holographic representation of the body meridians. Therefore, Dr. Yoo assigned letters of the alphabet to each micro-meridian rather than use the body name. Thus the letter “C” designates the Lung micro-meridian, etc.

  4. The number of acupuncture points varies. The reason for this variation is that Dr Yoo decided that all points should be equally spaced along the course of the micro-meridians. He felt this was more practical due to the fact the that irregular spacing of the body acupuncture points would be nearly impossible to duplicate with any confidence due the small size of the hand.

  5. Because of the uniform spacing of point locations along the micro-meridian, some points match with the body meridians by location. However, sometimes there is no KHT corresponding hand point, and sometimes there is a hand point with no corresponding body point. Therefore, the acupuncture point numbers on each micro-meridian differ from body meridian numbers.

KHT Application of Micro-meridians

  1. The main use of the micro-meridians is to correct the body’s energetic imbalances. Therefore, diagnosing the imbalanced meridians and applying sedation or tonification strategies to the micro-meridian can balance the energetic flow. Metal pellets of opposite polarities, or special tiny hand needles, are used for the treatment. KHT treatment point patterns are not usually formulated on the basis of individual point indications and applications. The focus is on meridian balancing.

  2. However, another option is to treat the hand micro-meridian as if it was the body meridian (which it essentially is) by using traditional point stimulation patterns.

  3. The 8 extraordinary points on the hand micro-meridians can be used for treatment.

  4. The power of the hand micro-meridians lies in the fact that all hand points are distal points and therefore have stronger effects.

  5. Treatment principles with hand needles are the same as body needling. However, non-invasive metal pellets may be left in place for up to 24 hours (see Fig. 3).

In summary, the hand micro-meridians are very similar in principle to the body meridians, with the exception that all hand points are distal and therefore very potent.

Benefits of KHT

One of the great benefits for using the hands for diagnosis and treatment is that nearly everyone can access their hands. Also, another benefit is that the non-invasive treatment pellets can be applied without the discomfort of needles. They can be applied at bedtime with less likelihood of accidentally losing a pellet due to daily activities. KHT primarily uses pre-taped metal discs, as shown in Fig.3.

Figure 3: Pellets are Silver or Gold

Practical Application: Treating Acute Stomach Pain

The following example will show how easy it is to treat yourself or others with KHT. Three micro-meridians and five KHT acupuncture points are used for treating stomach pain. For purpose of clarity, Micro-meridian point names as well as equivalent body acupuncture point names will be used (see Fig. 5).


Figure 4: Treatment for Acute Stomach Pain

Step 1: Use KHT Correspondence point therapy to locate and treat corresponding tender points; (see grey shaded area on the hand in Fig. 5).

Step 2: Stimulate the micro-meridian digestive area hand points. This includes the hand points A-8,12, and 16 which are equivalent body points CV 8, 12 and 16: (See Fig. 5).

Step 3: Ask the client to report any pain changes. If the discomfort has not been sufficiently reduced, apply the 8 Extraordinary Master and Coupled points. Use pellets on the micro-meridian hand points F-4 (Spleen 4) and K-9 (PC 6). These will usually resolve an acute issue (see Fig.5).

Step4: However, if you want to apply another micro-meridian treatment, add a distal point (for acute conditions) on the Stomach micro-meridian E-45 (St 45) as shown in Fig. 5.

Step 5: An even stronger treatment is the sedation of the Stomach micro-meridian. This is done with two pellets, one silver and one gold along the course of the Stomach micro-meridian, as shown in Fig. 5.

Step 6: The same treatment can be applied to both hands. Or, moxibustion can be applied to both hands, on the same points (See Fig. 5) followed by the application of pellets. 

If the treatment is successful, the pain will be resolved or greatly reduced. The wonder of the hand micro-system is that the body responds with noticeable improvement immediately. Therefore, you know immediately if your treatment choice is correct. If the treatment does not work, then check the pellet placement.

Micro-meridian Conclusions

In the next KHT Newsletter article KHT will focus on exploring and understanding some of these methods.

Check out Dr. Lobash's Comprehensive KHT Webinar Series:

KHT Basics: Korean Hand Therapy for Instant Pain Relief and Functional Problems Webinar Series
(12.5 CEUs)

KHT Advanced Series
(16.5 CEUs)

Dr. Dan Lobash, Ph.D., L.Ac., practices KHT: Korean Hand Therapy and Traditional Oriental Medicine in California and travels extensively, teaching KHT internationally. He began his acupuncture career in 1980, and his practice of KHT in 1988. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, the United States International University, Five Branches Institute and College of TCM, and received his Ph.D. from the California Institute for Human Science.


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