Acupoints Small Intestine 9a and Small Intestine 9b

A note for newcomers: Are you just getting started with acupressure? For helpful tips about acupressure with animals, refer to the links at the end of this article.

Overview: Has your Frisbee-loving dog developed shoulder pain from his endless jumping and short stops? Does your dressage horse have a short stride in the foreleg that is affecting her scores? Small Intestine (SI) 9a and 9b are two of the very best acupressure points for treating all shoulder pain and front leg lameness in your animal.

The effect of SI 9a and 9b are strongest in the shoulder region and benefit the entire forelimb. These two points help alleviate acute pain due to injury in the shoulder and foreleg. These points also address chronic pain from long term conditions like arthritis and elbow dysplasia. Almost all acupoint formulas use these two points for the treatment of front leg pain.

SI 9a and 9b also function as Test points for the shoulder and front leg. Sensitivity to pressure at these points can indicate the presence of pain in the front leg and are particularly effective for identifying pain in the shoulder region. You can use SI 9a and 9b to help you and your vet monitor the state of chronic front leg conditions in your animal. You can also use the points to assess the progress of recuperation after a front leg injury. No matter what condition your animal has in the front leg, SI 9a and 9b are a great way to monitor the healing process.

Five Element Effects: SI 9a and SI 9b are included in the Elemental Acupressure point sequence for the Fire Element.


Instructions for finding Small Intestine 9a and SI 9b on animals:

A note about SI 9a and SI 9b: On the human body SI 9 is considered a single point. On animals, there is disagreement about the exact location of SI 9 and two different locations are most often cited. At Elemental Acupressure we feel that both locations warrant attention in your acupressure sessions. We plot both point locations on our charts and label these two locations SI 9a and SI 9b.

After many years of using both locations, I feel that the lower position, labeled SI 9a, is more effective for acupressure. Many acu-puncturists feel that SI 9b is more effective for their work. We recommend that you experiment with both locations to see what works best for you and your animal. Some animals will prefer work at one location, others will be tender in BOTH areas. Many animals benefit from stimulation at both points. Also note that animals with conditions in the shoulder often hold tension in a band of muscles BETWEEN these two points and respond well to massage on the entire region.

Finding SI 9a and SI 9b on Horses:
(for the location on small animals, see description below) Download our SI9 point location video for horses

Point Location Description: Small Intestine 9a is found on the side of the horse’s shoulder. It lies between the heights of the point of shoulder and the point of the elbow in a deep dip found in the large muscle mass of the shoulder. See Fig. 1. Small Intestine 9b lies directly above SI 9a, at the level of the point of the shoulder.

Anatomic description:  Small Intestine 9a lies in a large dip in the muscle tissue dorsal to the humerus, on the caudal border of the deltoid muscle. SI 9b lies immediately dorsal to 9a, on the caudal border of the deltoid muscle, between the long and lateral heads of the triceps brachii, at the level of the scapulohumeral joint.

Hands-on description – how to find Small Intestine 9a and SI 9b on a horse:  While you work on these points is it important to maintain awareness of your stance. Most horses are happy to receive acupressure on SI 9a and 9b but for horses who react strongly to these points, you want to be in a safe position. As with all acupressure on the foreleg, start out by stroking with a relaxed flat hand along the outside surface of the entire shoulder region, from the shoulder blade down to past the elbow to test the horse’s receptivity. If the horse accepts your touch, then you can proceed. If not then you need to work on that sensitivity before you begin your acupressure. For more detailed tips on safety positions during equine acupressure, refer to our books, Basic Acupressure for Horses [English edition] or Pferde Sanft Heilen: Akupressur für Pferde [German edition].

Once you have the horse’s acceptance, you are ready to get into position. Face the side of your horse at the shoulder and put your hands into the “butterfly position, with the pad of one thumb resting over the thumbnail of the other. Stretch your fingers out to make two butterfly “wings with your fingers. See Fig. 2. In a moment, this “butterfly hand position will help you find and stimulate SI 9a.


Before you put that butterfly position to use, you need to find the point which lies in the middle of the shoulder muscles. To do that, separate your hands and take the hand closer to the front of the horse and cup it around the front of the horse’s forelimb at the top by the chest. Cup your second hand around the point of the elbow. See Fig. 3. Now stretch your thumbs inward, toward each other, until they touch, approximately at the midpoint of the outside surface of the leg at the level of the point of the elbow. Your hands should be in the butterfly position again, this time resting on the foreleg muscles of the horse. See Fig. 4. Now slide your thumbs upward over the lower (ventral) aspect of the shoulder muscles (the triceps). You are looking for a deep dip in the muscle tissue about 1.5 inches/3 cm in diameter. If at first you don’t find it, palpate the area and be open to wherever it feels right. The point should lie in or around the area shown in the Fig. 5. This is SI 9a. To find SI 9b, move your fingers straight up to the level of the point of shoulder. See Fig. 6. You may also find sensitive areas along the line connecting the two points. This entire band of muscle can benefit from gentle pressure and massage.

To do acupressure at SI 9a, palpate softly to find your mark. Remember to touch respectfully while you explore, in case the horse is sensitive here.  Once you have found the point, press gently into the point with your thumb or fingers, going as deeply as the horse allows. Once you find the point, press gently for 30 seconds, then release. To stimulate SI 9b, repeat the steps above at the higher location. Refer to our acupressure instructions for more detailed information. For more tips on working with SI 9a and 9b be sure to read the "Notes for Acupressure Practice" found at the end of this text.
















Finding SI 9a and SI 9b on small animals:

Download our SI9 point location video for dogs

Point Location Description: Small Intestine 9a is found on the side of the animal’s shoulder. It lies between the height of the point of shoulder and the elbow in a deep dip found in the large muscle mass of the shoulder. Refer to the Fig. 7 to see the location more clearly. Small Intestine 9b lies directly above SI 9a, at the level of the point of the shoulder.

Anatomic description:  Small Intestine 9a lies in the muscle tissue dorsal to the humerus, on the caudal border of the deltoid muscle. SI 9b lies immediately dorsal to 9a, on the caudal border of the deltoid muscle, between the long and lateral heads of the triceps brachii, at the level of the scapulohumeral joint.

Hands-on description – how to find Small Intestine 9a and b on a small animal: SI 9a and b are easiest to find when the animal is lying on the side with the legs extended out. As with all acupressure on the foreleg, start by stroking with a relaxed flat hand along the outside surface of the entire shoulder region, from the shoulder blade down to the elbow to test the animal’s receptivity. If the animal accepts your touch, then you can proceed. If not then you need to work on that sensitivity before you begin your acupressure. Refer to our books, Basic Acupressure for Horses [English edition] or Pferde Sanft Heilen: Akupressur für Pferde [German edition] for tips.
 
Once you have the animal’s acceptance, put your hands into the “butterfly position, with the pad of one thumb resting over the thumb nail of the other. Stretch your fingers out to make two butterfly “wings with your fingers. See Fig. 8. In a moment, this “butterfly hand position will help you find and stimulate SI 9a.

Before you put that butterfly position to use, you need to find the point which lies in the middle of the shoulder muscles. Separate your hands and take the hand closer to the front of the animal and cup it around the front of the animal’s forelimb at the top by the chest. Cup your second hand around the point of the elbow. Stretch your thumbs toward each other until they touch, approximately at the midpoint of the outside surface of the leg at the level of the point of the elbow. Your hands should now be in the butterfly position again, this time resting on the foreleg muscles of the animal. See Fig. 9. Now slide your thumbs up over the lower (ventral) aspect of the shoulder muscles (the triceps). You are looking for a dip in the muscle tissue about 1 inch/2.5 cm in diameter on a full sized dog, proportionally smaller for a smaller animal. If at first you don’t find it, palpate the area and be open to wherever it feels right. The point should lie in the area shown in or around the Fig.10. This is SI 9a. To find SI 9b, move your fingers straight up to the level of the point of shoulder. See Fig 7. You may also find sensitive areas along the line connecting the two points. This entire band of muscle can benefit from gentle pressure and massage.

To do acupressure at SI 9a, use a soft pressure to find your mark. Remember to touch respectfully while you explore, in case the animal is sensitive here.  Once you have found the point, press gently into the point with your thumb or fingers, going as deeply as the animal allows. Once you find the point, press gently for 30 seconds, then release. To stimulate SI 9b, repeat the steps above at the higher location. Refer to our acupressure instructions for more detailed information. For more tips on working with SI 9a and 9b be sure to read the "Notes for Acupressure Practice" below.

Notes for Acupressure Practice:
 
SI 9a and SI 9b are Test points for the shoulder and foreleg. Reactivity to pressure at these points indicates the presence of pain in the forelimb. These points are valuable tools for monitoring the health of these body parts, but be warned! Pressure here can elicit an explosive reaction, especially the first few times you stimulate them. Some horses will paw or even try to bite when SI 9a and 9b are pressed. This is because even gentle pressure on a blocked point can hurt. Acupressure releases the blockage allowing the stuck energy to flow again.

Even though your animal may be reactive to SI 9a/9b stimulation, working these points is crucial to releasing energy blockages in this region. Once animals discharge this stuck energy, most breathe a deep sigh of relief and become much less reactive. The good news is that as the region becomes healthier over time, reactivity to pressure will diminish and most animals begin to welcome the relief they receive from stimulating these points.

To stay safe in these circumstances always take proper precautions. One way to reduce the likelihood of a strong response is to massage the area first. With horses start by stroking with a flat hand. Then form a fist and GENTLY knead your knuckles into the muscles behind the shoulder joint and above the elbow. If gentle knuckle pressure is too much for the horse, back off and use only gentle fingertip pressure. Start lightly and progress with pressure, going only as deep as the horse allows. With cats and all but the largest of dogs, use the tips of your fingers or the pads of your thumbs to do the massage; knuckle pressure will be too strong.

When treating an injured shoulder or forelimb, SI 9a/9b should be stimulated daily for two weeks. This brings beneficial circulation of blood and chi to the healing site. After that initial recovery period, work these points 3 to 5 times a week until you see a noticeable improvement the animal’s movement. Once the lameness or sensitivity disappears continue with weekly acupressure for 3 to 6 months to help strengthen the forelimb and help prevent re-injury.

Helpful Links:

Read more about the Fire Element in animals
Read more about how to do acupressure on animals
Read more about our acupressure books for animals
Read more about our acupressure charts for animals
Read more about our acupressure training program

Email Elemental Acupressure

Complete Site Directory