The Challenges and Rewards of Learning Master Tung’s Acupuncture

I moved my clinic in April and my practice has been doing so much better!I went from a clinic in the basement level of a building with 1600 square feet, way more than I needed, to an office half the size but at street level and with a nice layout in a cool looking building.About half the tenets in the building are doctors and dentists.My office has a larger room that I use for the treatments and a smaller room with a door where I have the desk and files.It also has a small area for the waiting room.

I have been doing community acupuncture for about 2 ½ years now.When I first started I was doing strictly Dr. Tan stuff, but recently I have been learning more about Master Tung style acupuncture by taking weekend classes with Susan Johnson in Manhattan.Now my practice is about half Tung and this will probably increase because I have been seeing tremendous results with this and it usually involves fewer needles.Less is more!

I have taken four of Susan’s classes in New York and she has taught all the Tung points that are in Dr. Young’s book called Lecture’s on Tung’s Acupuncture Points Study.I am impressed with her as a teacher, she is thorough and detail oriented about important things like point location and she keeps my interest by sprinkling stories from her clinic here and there to illustrate how she uses the points.At the end of August there will be another class where we will practice finding and needling the points under supervision.We will also go over other techniques like bloodletting and cupping.There will be one more advanced class like this in October and then I will be finished with these classes.Maybe I will blog again about it at that time.

There are approximately 200 points in Dr. Young’s book and although a handful of them are in the standard TCM location such as ST36, (although we call it Four Flowers Upper 77.08), most of them are new and it has been a little overwhelming to try to learn and work with them, but like any acupuncture system there are certain points that are used more than others. Susan teaches in such a way that the material is immediately applicable, so when I get back home I can usually use what I have learned right away in the clinic.I have some senior citizens as patients and a lot of them have arthritic knee pain, the best way to treat this in master Tung’s system is to needle Heart Knee 11.09 (on the middle finger) and then ask the patient to get up and walk around a little, this is called the qi moving technique, it helps tell the body what area you are working on.

Now that my clinic is about as busy as I want it to be I have noticed that it has become important to me to get a weekly acupuncture treatment for myself. It reduces stress, and it helps me remember what it is like to be needled. I learn things by seeing what points the acupuncturist chooses and how I feel after the treatment. I also feel good about supporting someone else’s practice, I think every acupuncturist should get a regular acupuncture treatment!Isn’t that one of the reasons we have a sliding scale, so we are charging what we ourselves can afford?

Author: thomasriordan

<p> Tom Riordan has been involved with Eastern philosophy and healing arts since 1990. After earning a B.A. in History at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, he spent four years working at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. In addition to daily hatha yoga and meditation practice there, Tom completed the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training the Kripalu Bodywork Training. </p> <p> Tom is a graduate of The New England School of Acupuncture, in Newton, MA, the oldest accredited acupuncture school in the United States. He maintained a private practice for several years in Columbia, Missouri. He was the first person to be licensed to practice acupuncture in that city. He became very active in the State acupuncture association by serving as secretary for two years and treasurer for one year. Tom is certified by the National Council for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and he is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. </p> <p> He currently practices in Medford, MA where he has maintained a community acupuncture clinic since 2007. </p>

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  1. Susan’s classes are

    Susan’s classes are addictive.  She is coming to Asheville in a few weeks so I will be seeing her again soon.


    have fun!


  2. Heart Knee

    When using Heart Knee 11.09 for knee arthritis it is needled bilaterally even if the knee pain is on only one side.  This is because in this system points are needled bilaterally for systemic problems like arthritis.

     Tom Riordan Lic.Ac.

  3.  I just finished a seminar

     I just finished a seminar on Tung’s acupuncture for pain issues. I feel very drawn to him… and also like the few needles approach.

    I feel the same way about getting acupuncture – it’s a must for us.

    Best of luck!


    Roy Green Pach

    Jerusalem Community Acupuncture

    14 Hillel Street, Jerusalem


  4. Quick question

    Since this is an active topic and all; have you done both her beginners and advanced classes? Is there a need to do the beginner level if one already has some familiarity with the Dong style points?

    I’m curious because I’m thinking that some professional teaching might be a good way to supplement 10 years of looking at the points in books. 


  5. ask Susan

    usually she is pretty felxible about folks taking more advanced classes if they already know the points, but you need to ask her – email her and explain your level of study – she will be able to tell you if the advanced class is ok for you. it might be helpful to attend one of her “best off m. tung” classes before doing the advanced level, just to get a sense of how she works with this material. i didn’t do the advanced yet, but plan to next year, have done all beg series over the last few years.


  6. Sususan Johnson’s classes


    I have taken Susan’s “best of” class and all her beginner’s classes.  I will be taking her first advanced class in a few weeks.  If you are that familiar with the points and there is room in the class I doubt they would turn you away, but you can ask them.  Golden Flower is running the class, their site is and the number is 800-729-8509


    Tom Riordan Lic.Ac.

  7. Good News

    So much good news in one post Tom! I like the new space too and am glad to hear it’s working out well. Keep up your advanced studies, Medford needs your healing treatments. -jesse

  8. 11.09 uses

    Tom – Glad to hear the enthusiasm about using Tung points and Susan Johnson. The system is great and Susan, she is an excellent teacher. I have used Tung points for some time and I was taught that it is not necessary to needle these points (or most points) bilaterally. Of course, there are different interpretations, but the points are very powerful.