The Pulse

Application of Biophysical Agents Over Acupoints for the Treatment of Pain

Posted by ACP on Oct 22, 2018 4:47:05 PM

Acupuncture has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Over the past few decades, the practice of acupuncture has been accepted in the United States for the treatment of various conditions, including pain management. Traditional acupuncture treatment involves inserting needles at various well-defined points known as “acupoints”. In contrast to needles, research demonstrates that the stimulation of acupoints with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and therapeutic ultrasound also reduces pain1, 2.  

361 acupoints are organized along 14 meridians, which are named after specific organs, such as SP-spleen, GB-gall bladder, LV-liver. The exact location of each point is determined by using a length of measure known as a “body inch”. Using the patient’s fingers, not the therapist’s, the “body inch” is derived as follows:


Use the Pain Desk Reference provided by ACP to locate and select the appropriate acupoints associated with the location and type of pain being treated.

Biophysical Agent Application Options over Acupoints:

TENS: place 2x2 electrodes directly over the acupoints and set the output intensity to elicit either a motor twitch or at a strong sensory stimulus, depending on the patient’s clinical indications

Ultrasound: 3MHz, 20% duty factor, at 0.5W/cm2 x1 min per acupoint

Please contact your ACP Clinical Program Consultant for specific pain reduction protocols using acupoints and for more information on how to use your pain desk reference for identifying and selecting appropriate acupoints.


1. Vance, et al. Using TENS for pain control: the state of the evidence. Pain Management, 2014; 4(3):197 -209.

2. Srbely, et al. Stimulation of myofascial trigger points with ultrasound induces segmental antinociceptive effects: A randomized controlled study. Pain, 2008; 139(2):260–266.

Topics: Pain Management, Clinical Tip