The ability to locate an acupuncture point accurately is an essential component of both effective treatment and meaningful acupuncture research. This study examined the comparative accuracy of two commonly used mechanical methods of acupuncture point location: directional and proportional. Twenty final-year acupuncture students attempted to locate the points LI.10 (Shousanli) and ST.40 (Fenglong) using each method contralaterally on a volunteer. Both methods are appropriate for use in the locating of these points. Analysis of the results found no significant difference in accuracy between the two methods for either LI.10 (t=1.05, p=0.31) or ST.40 (t=0.59, p=0.57), both methods being found to be similarly inaccurate. The findings of this study demonstrate the serious limitations of both methods for accurate point location. Implications for acupuncture research and treatment are discussed.
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