What Are the Acupuncture Points for Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, can involve persistent pain radiating from the elbow joint or weakness at the wrist because of inflamed tendons. Common causes include repetitive use or a strong shock to the arm, according to Andrew Biel, author of “Trail Guide to the Body.” The World Health Organization lists tennis elbow as one of the many conditions known to respond to acupuncture treatment, a form of alternative medicine that uses small needles inserted at precise points to balance the 12 energy pathways along the body. If you have symptoms of tennis elbow, consult with your health-care provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Arm Three Miles

Large intestine point 10, also called Arm Three Miles, sits on the forearm, about an inch below your elbow fold. Acupuncturists use this point to relieve arm pain and immobility, according to Chinese medicine specialist Jim Cleaver, an instructor at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon 2. Arm Three Miles also invigorates the flow of energy along the large intestine channel, which is purported to ease the inflammation of tennis elbow. Doctors of Chinese medicine may refer to this as softening hardness, Cleaver explains.

Pool at the Crook

According to Chinese medicine principles, major joints, like the elbow, have the potential to become the site of blocked energy along a channel. The name Pool at the Crook represents this tenet of Chinese medicine. Also called large intestine point 11, it lies on the inner fold of the elbow, about an inch above Arm Three Miles, and it may carry tenderness when energy is blocked. Cleaver considers Pool at the Crook a major point for clearing heat and relaxing the sinews of the arm in cases of tennis elbow and other arm maladies.

Elbow Bone

Large intestine point 12, also called Elbow Bone or Elbow Crevice, sits just above the fold of the elbow. Acupuncturists use this point to relax sinews, relieve numbness and alleviate tennis elbow pain that radiates upward toward the shoulder. Considered a local point, Cleaver uses it to treat pain in the immediate area. Acupuncturists may use points on other parts of the body to stimulate the flow of energy in the elbow to relieve inflammation and swelling.

Cubit Marsh

Lung point 5, also called Cubit Marsh, sits at the crease of your elbow outside of the biceps brachii tendon. Chinese medicine considers the lung channel to be a regulator of water within the body; stimulating this specific point helps balance the water involved in inflammation. Cubit Marsh is an indicated point for conditions that involve restricted elbow movement, like tennis elbow, as well as pain in the upper arm.