When studying for such a large exam, it is important to be able to approach the material from different angles.
When it comes to acupoint location, depth and angle – do you need to know everything? If I say no, and you don’t put the work in, then you’ll blame me when a station asks for the depth and angle of the first five acupoints before you place the sticky-dots. And I don’t want my sleep interrupted knowing that I steered you wrong! 😉
So where’s the balance? Maybe we can look at this from a few different angles…
1. The purpose of the chart is to chunk areas together. Chinese medicine teaches us that patterns are important. So, by identifying that, for example, all scalp acupoints are needled on a transverse angle and are 0.5-1.0cun in depth, you can free up more brain power to remember other things.
2. Whenever there is an acupoint that can have a couple of different angles, ask yourself, “Are there neighbouring acupoints that I can group them with?” Here’s an example: UB22 and UB23 can be needled, according to Deadman, either obliquely or perpendicular-oblique. Up until that point, down the back, everything was done oblique. It makes sense to just needle those two acupoints obliquely for safety. It also makes sense to group them together with neighbouring acupoits to save brain power. That’s why, on the needle/cupping/moxa station, the examiners don’t compare your angles from UB17 and UB23. It’s often UB17 and UB25 because there is no room for argument.
3. Just about any needle can be through-needled – EXCEPT those with major things in the way such as bone or organs. If you know your anatomy, I don’t think you will get tripped up here. This is generally what the exam will be asking you. Can you through-needle from UB13 to KD27? Heck no – organs in the way. Can you through-needle from GB3 to ST7? Nope – zygomatic arch in the way. Through-needling questions, like depth and angle, have to do with safety.
I hope this helps you approach memorizing depths and angles in a cohesive way.