There are 12 Jing channels and 15 Luo channels, which hold and construct 27 kinds of Qi and run up and down. The Qi goes out through the Jing-well point and mildly flows through the Xing-well point. The various branches of the Qi meet in the Shu-stream point. Then the enriched Qi flows freely through the Jing-river point. Eventually, the Qi flow returns through the He-sea point.   

Ling Shu, Jiu Zhen Shi Er Yuan 

This sentence records the first description of the five-Shu points with the metaphor of water flow. Now it’s clear to understand the primary function of the five points is to connect the 27 main channels and maintain the free flow of Qi and blood within. Besides, all Yang channels have a Yuan-source point, but the Yin channels don’t have. Therefore, the Shu-stream points of all Yin channels also work as Yuan-source points.

In Chapter 68 of Nan Jing, or Cannon of Difficult Questions. The functions of the five-Shu points are clarified.

The Jing-well point treat fullness below the heart; Ying-spring point treats body fever; Shu-stream point treats body and joints heaviness; Jing-river point treat cold and fever; and the He-sea point governs the rebel and sinking of Qi. Each of the five-Shu point connects to certain attribute of Wu Xing.

1. Taiyang

In the acupuncture treatment of Taiyang diseases, the hand Taiyang small intestine, foot Taiyang bladder, and Du channels must be given prior to. Therefore, DU14, BL12, KI3, BL62, etc. can be selected. The modification can be made as follows, Jing-well points i.e. SI1 and BL67 for the fullness below heart; Ying-spring points i.e. SI2 and BL65 for body fever; Shu-stream i.e. SI3 and BL65 for body heaviness and joint pain; Jing-river i.e. SI5 and BL60 for wheezing, cough, cold and fever; He-sea points i.e. SI8 and BL40 for the sinking and rebellious Qi. Generally speaking, SI4 and BL64, Yuan-source points, are essential to be selected. Taiyang and Shaoyin channels are connected by the collaterals. If the pattern involves the symptoms of both Taiyang and Shaoyin channels, SI4 and HT5, or BL64 and KI4 can be selected in combination. The method belongs to the Yuan-source and Luo-connecting combination.

2. Yangming

In the acupuncture treatment of Yangming diseases, the hand Yangming large intestine, foot Yangming stomach channels must be given prior to. Because excessive heat symptoms are primarily seen in Yangming, LI4, ST44, and LI11 are mainly selected. When the excessive pattern of Yangming Fu-organ presents with tidal fever, delirious speech, sweating on hands and feet, abdominal distention, flatus, and deep pulse, Jing-well i.e. LI1 and ST45 can be selected to drain the excessive heat, and ST25 and BL25 can be combined to remove the stagnated stool and heat. The modification can be made as follows, Jing-well points i.e. LI1 and ST45 for the fullness below heart; Ying-spring points i.e. LI2 and ST44 for body fever; Shu-stream i.e. LI3 and BL43 for body heaviness and joint pain; Jing-river i.e. LI5 and ST41 for wheezing, cough, cold and fever; He-sea points i.e. LI11 and ST36 for the sinking and rebellious Qi. Generally speaking, LI4 and ST42, Yuan-source points, are essential to be selected. Yangming and Taiyin channels are connected by the collaterals. If the pattern involves the symptoms of both Yangming and Taiyin channels, LI4 and LU7, or ST42 and SP4 can be selected in combination.

3. Shaoyang

In the acupuncture treatment of Shaoyang diseases, the hand Shaoyang Sanjiao, foot Shaoyang gallbladder channels must be given prior to. For instance, GB41 and SJ5 are frequently selected to harmonize Shaoyang. The modification can be made as follows, Jing-well points i.e. SJ1 and GB44 for the fullness below heart; Ying-spring points i.e. SJ2 and ST43 for body fever; Shu-stream i.e. SJ3 and GB41 for body heaviness and joint pain; Jing-river i.e. SJ6 and GB38 for wheezing, cough, cold and fever; He-sea points i.e. SJ10 and GB34 for the sinking and rebellious Qi. Generally speaking, SJ4 and GB40, Yuan-source points, are essential to be selected. Shaoyang and Jueyin channels are connected by the collaterals. If the pattern involves the symptoms of both channels, SJ4 and PC6, or GB40 and LR5 can be selected in combination.

4. Taiyin

In the acupuncture treatment of Taiyin diseases, the hand Taiyin lung, foot Taiyin spleen channels must be given prior to. For instance, RN12, BL20, SP9, ST36 are frequently selected to treat the damp-earth. The modification can be made as follows, Jing-well points i.e. SP1 for the fullness below heart; Ying-spring points i.e. SP2 for body fever; Shu-stream i.e. SP3 for body heaviness and joint pain; Jing-river i.e. SP5 for wheezing, cough, cold and fever; He-sea points i.e. SP9 for the sinking and rebellious Qi. Taiyin and Yangming channels are connected by the collaterals. If the pattern involves the symptoms of both channels, LU9 and LI6, or SP3 and ST40 can be selected in combination.

5. Shaoyin

In the acupuncture treatment of Shaoyin diseases, the hand Shaoyin heart, foot Shaoyin kidney channels must be given prior to. For instance, RN4 and RN6 are frequently warmed with moxibustion and KI3 and HT7 are supplemented to treat the representative symptoms of Shaoyin, e.g. tiny and thin pulse, sleepiness, uncontrolled urine, and stool, etc. The modification can be made as follows, Jing-well points i.e. HT9 and KI1 for the fullness below heart; Ying-spring points i.e. HT8 and KI2 for body fever; Shu-stream i.e. KI3 and HT7 for body heaviness and joint pain; Jing-river i.e. HT4 and KI7 for wheezing, cough, cold and fever; He-sea points i.e. HT3 and KI10 for the sinking and rebellious Qi. Shaoyin and Taiyang channels are connected by the collaterals. If the pattern involves the symptoms of both channels, KI3 and BL58, or BL64 and KI4 can be selected in combination.

6. Jueyin

In the acupuncture treatment of Jueyin diseases, the hand Jueyin pericardium, foot Jueyin liver must be given prior to. For instance, LR3, PC6, PC7 are frequently selected to calm down the liver and rebellious Qi, drain fire and unblock depression; RN14 to connect fire and water, ST36 to harmonize the middle Qi and lift clear Qi and drain turbid Qi. The modification can be made as follows, Jing-well points i.e. LR1 and PC9 for the fullness below heart; Ying-spring points i.e. LR2 and PC8 for body fever; Shu-stream i.e. LR3 and PC7 for body heaviness and joint pain; Jing-river i.e. LR4 and PC5 for wheezing, cough, cold and fever; He-sea points i.e. LR8 and PC3 for the sinking and rebellious Qi. Jueyin and Shaoyang channels are connected by the collaterals. If the pattern involves the symptoms of both channels, LR3 and GB37, or PC7 and SJ5 can be selected in combination.