Acupuncture point Shou San Li (Li 10)

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Zu San Li (St36) is one of the most famous acupuncture points, and it’s used to solve hundreds of illnesses: its reputation is so great, in fact, that it’s not only well known by professionals, but also by some patients. However, the “sister” of Zu San Li, Shou San Li, is not as famous as Zu San Li. I call them “sisters” because their Chinese name are very similar to each other, which are respectively  足三里 (St 36) and 手三里 (Li 10). Both of them end with 三里 (pinyin: San Li).

The Shou San Li point, then, is almost only known by practitioners and professional therapists. In other words, it’s not very famous! Here is a short introduction to its location and function.

Despite its relative obscurity, the Shou San Li point can be very effective to treat a host of common problems, illnesses and ailments. Here are just a few:

  1. Knee pains, including pains caused by arthritis, synovitis, especially for anterolateral knee pains.
  2. Back pains, mainly for the psoas pains, but also effective for lumbar pains.
  3. Forehead jaw joint pains.
  4. Ear pains, including otitis media pain.
  5. Shoulder pains and neck tightness

Shou San Li (Li 10) is located on the outer surface of the forearm and three fingers breadth below the elbow crease when the elbow is bent 90 degrees.


Location of Shou San Li

You can use 2 cun acupuncture needles to insert into the point at about 1 cun depth, and then proceed to simulate the points. Patients will typically experience a feeling of distension.

You can also massage Zu San Li everyday to keep healthy and release tension on your neck, shoulder and back; however, if you’re afflicted by one of the problems mentioned above, it is better for you to go for a certified therapist, such as acupuncturist. Acupuncturists can use acupuncture needles with precision and expertise to accelerate the healing process – this is a procedure that shouldn’t be attempted on one’s own, especially without training.

Worried about pain? You shouldn’t have to. High quality acupuncture needles are tiny, extremely sharp and very smooth: after all, they’re designed to relieve pain, not cause it. It’s therefore very unlikely that you’ll experience severe discomfort during an acupuncture needle insertion.

If you’re interested in learning more about needles or buying them, offers many different types of needles – and they’ll be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions!


About the author: Xiao Lei Wang is a professional TCM therapist with Quebec registered acupuncturist licence. He focuses on helping patients with Traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping therapies. You can find more about him on his own acupuncture clinic website. You could also book an appointment on the website.

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