Each of the twelve channels includes a point often referred
to in English as the cleft or xi-cleft point.
Most often, modern acupuncture textbooks refer to these points as being particularly useful in cases of acute pain.
While this is certainly true, a brief analysis of commonly found patterns
of palpated changes at these points will reveal other applications for these particularly useful points.
This short article will review the functions of the cleft points in the channel system and provide some ideas for broadening their clinical application.
The character (xi) generally refers to a narrow opening or pathway.
Consequently, many modern texts describe the cleft points as being in areas
where the channel pathway narrows and has a tendency to blockage and accumulation of qi and blood.
A more clinically useful conception is of the cleft points as areas where channel qi is filtered (guò lu) and flow is controlled.
They are like sluice gates (zhá mén) or toll booths regulating the nature and rate of channel flow.
As might be expected, these points are often found in areas of the body where an opening or clear separation can be readily palpated.
Sometimes, these palpable openings are between the bodies
of muscles or, in many cases, they can be palpated as spaces on or near bones.
online video of TCM congress Rothenburg 2010, 2 DVDs, 360 min., English/German.