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  • Writer's pictureCat Calhoun


Updated: Jul 15, 2019

Sometimes called "ringing in the ear," tinnitus can actually be a number of pitches and may occur on one side or both. Sometimes it's a high pitch, sometimes like a low buzz, hissing, or whistling and lots of expressions in between. This noise could be continuous or might be intermittent.

In Chinese medicine we make a distinction between the loud and soft and the high and low pitches. A loud noise in the ear or ears is generally equated to an excess while softer pitches are often tied to deficiencies. A high tone is often Liver Yang rising while lower tones are Kidney deficiencies.

Point Suggestions for Tinnitus

Tinnitus often occurs on only one side, hence the "affected" and "opposite" sides below. If your patient has tinnitus in both ears, you can switch these up as needed, but there is no need to needle bilaterally.

You can add Shen Guan on the affected side or the contralateral side if you feel this is a deficient condition.

Affected side:

Opposite side

  • Zhong Bai and Xie Bai These are located on the Shaoyang hand meridian. The Shaoyang meridians go to the ears. Look at the Liu Wan and Shui Qu points and note that the location on the foot is very similar to the location of these points on the hand.

  • Wai San Guan This is also on a Shaoyang channel. One of its' indications is for middle ear problems, so this set of points has a strong effect on the inner workings of the ear.

  • Liu Wan and Shui Qi Liu wan and Shui qi are roughly Master Tung's Gb 43 and 42, but aren't located in quite the same spot as you learned in TCM school. The Shaoyang meridians (Gb and Sj) go to the ears. In point energetics you learned that points at one end of the meridian have a strong affect on the other end. Not only do these points have a strong channel association, they also have a mirror association, as the foot images the face.

Three Needle Protocol

I feel like this set of points is better for an excess condition than a deficient condition. The guide points given (SI 2, SJ 2, or San Cha San) are all in the position of the Ying Spring points on the channels. Great for excesses and clearing heat.

  • Affected side: Ling Gu and Da Bai

  • Contralateral side: SI 2, SJ 2, or San Chan San (22.17) These are guide points to the ear. You could also pick one of any of the sets above if you are treating what appears to be a deficient condition.

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