What is Chu Zhen/pestle needle (杵针)
Chu Zhen or Pestle Needle is a representative acupuncture style from Sichuan, where I come from. Pestle Needle originates from Taoist medicine and Dao Ying (Qi guiding) practices. The ancestor of Li’s family learned the technique of Pestle Needle from the Taoist Master Ru Huan in Wudang Mountain. From then on, it has passed through 16 generations. Prof. Li Zong Yu, the successor of the 14th generation, published the first book on Pestle Needle in the 1970s. Now it’s a unique and effective therapeutic approach.
The pestle needle therapy originates from the “nine needles” of Huangdi’s Internal Classic (Huangdi Neijing) and is rooted in the theory of channels, I Ching, and Taoist medicine. Especially, it’s philosophic foundation comes from Yi Jing/I Ching (Book of Chang) within which the Li (philosophic foundation), Qi (energy flow), Xiang (manifestations), and Shu (ancient mathematics ) theories are widely used in differentiation, selecting points, and arranging needles.
Unlike the filiform needle technique, the pestle needles do not penetrate into the skin; rather they are a set of clubbed needles used to rub or press the acupoints and meridians of the body. Different pestle needles focus on stimulating different parts of the body through different manipulations.
Because Pestle Needle is the combination of puncturing and Tuina (Chinese Medical Massage), it is clinically featured with
- no skin puncture
- simple tools
- simplified points selection (mostly Du and Ren points, Shu and Mu points)
- simple manipulation and technique, safety (for elderly, weak body, female, kids).
During the last 40 years development, Pestle Needle has been particularized in whole China and abroad. Thanks to its wide range of indication (similar use as conventional acupuncture), It is widely used in hospital, nursing house and private clinics.
In treatment, four pestle-like needles are used to press, massage, tap, and push on points. There are two specific points combination are applied in Pestle Needles
- Ba Zhen (八阵): 8 points surrounding the middle point, based on the theory of Eight Trigrams
- He Che Lu (河车路): 7 Lines along the Du and Ren meridians, based on Taoist Qigong.
Clinical use of Pestle needle
Wang X, Yin X, Guo XT, Wang Y, Jin WQ, Mao AJ, Lao L, Zhang ZJ, Zhang J, Xu SF. Effects of the pestle needle therapy, a type of acupoint stimulation, on post-hemorrhoidectomy pain: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2020 Aug 6.
Wang YZ, Zhong L, Wu ZJ, Liu XH, Dong YW, Fan XH. Efficacy study on pestle needle combined with Chinese herbal fumigation for cervical spondylosis. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science. 2016 Jul 1;14(4):284-9.
Liu X, Yu Y, Zhong L, Fan X. Pestle needle at Yaoyangguan bazhen and Heche-mingqiang section for 31 cases of bi syndrome at low back. Zhongguo zhen jiu= Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion. 2016 Mar 1;36(3):295-8.
ZHANG J, Shisheng LI, Yijun SU. Pestle needling at Yāoyángguān-Bāzhèn points for intractable lumbodynia after lumbar disc herniation surgery: A randomized controlled trial. World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion. 2019 Sep 1;29(3):194-9.
McCann H. Pestle Needle Therapy. Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2009 Oct 1(91).