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Ma Dan Yang Acupuncture: The 12 Miraculous Points – Part 4

Ma Dan Yang was a practitioner of Daoism in the 12th century. As a young man he developed great skill in acupuncture and moxibustion (Zhen Jiu 针灸). He left behind an ode to 12 miraculous acu-points, today known as Ma Dan Yang Acupuncture. If you want to learn a few acupuncture points that produce consistent results in treating a variety of illnesses, learn these!

This article presents Ma Dan Yang’s ode to the fourth acu-point, Hegu (LI 4).

合谷 He Gu “Joining Valleys” LI 4*

He Gu lies at the Hu Kou (Tiger’s Mouth) and in the gap between the two bones where the thumb and fingers fork. Headache, swollen face, malarial intermittent fever and cold sensation, tooth pain and bleeding nose, and mouth closed and cannot open or speak (lock jaw). After the needle is inserted about 0.5 inch, the patient will feel peaceful.



Notes:  Hegu (LI 4) is especially effective for various problems relating to the teeth, head and face.


He Gu “Joining Valleys” LI 4

  • Headache and face swelling
  • Alternating fever and cold as in Malaria
  • Tooth ache and nosebleed
  • Mouth silent and not opening to speak (lockjaw)
  • Makes the person healthy and peaceful.


  • Regulates Wei Qi and Adjusts Sweating
  • Expels Wind Releases Exterior
  • Regulates Face, Eyes, Nose, Mouth, Ears
  • Activates Channel & Alleviates Pain
  • Induces Labor

Other Modern Indications:

  • Redness, Swelling and Pain of the Eye
  • Throat Pain; Mumps, Loss of Voice
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Master point of the face and head
  • Toothache
  • Headache
  • Facial Paralysis
  • Dysentery, Constipation
  • Motor Impairment of Upper Limbs
  • Prolonged Labor; Delayed Labor; Retention of Dead Fetus
  • Pain in Lumbar Spine
  • Arm and Upper Limb Pain
  • Contraindicated in Pregnancy
He Gu
He Gu

He Gu is located on between the thumb and forefinger at the high point of the muscle between the thumb and forefinger. It can be located by placing the transverse crease of the inter-phalangeal joint of the thumb on the margin of the web between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. The point is where the tip of the thumb touches.

* Many thanks to Craig Mitchell for his help with the translation.