The Sinew Channels (Jingjin) and Vertebral Fixations

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by Brian Lau, DOM, AP, C.SMA

This article will explore vertebral fixations and their relationships to both extraordinary vessels (Qi Jing Ba Mai) and the sinew channels (Jingjin). In Sports Medicine Acupuncture®, assessment of vertebral fixations is an important part of overall assessment and treatment when working with sports injuries and orthopedic conditions. Extraordinary vessel (EV) point pairs are used in conjunction with local needling at the M-BW-35 (Huatuojiaji) points, and with mobilization techniques, to free restrictions preventing proper vertebral movement. The Huatuojiaji needle technique and the mobilization are used to balance asymmetrical locking of the facet joints, where one side is locked in a closed position in relation to the other side. The EV point pairs regulate specific global strain patterns that stress the spine in specific regions. These strain patterns will be the focus of this article.


Vertebral fixations are assessed by motion tests and by manual muscle tests. Vertebral fixations at specific regions of the spine will cause bilateral weakness of specific muscles when testing with manual muscle tests.1 Interestingly, the muscles that become bilaterally weak are not innervated by the spinal nerves at the level of fixation. To gain insight into this phenomenon, it is useful to look at the sinew channels, note their connection to the spine, and understand how they can exert a negative influence on these spinal segments when dysfunction exists. Bilateral muscle weakness can then be seen through a channel