Cun measurements – the key to point location

1 cun equals the width of the thumbCun means “inch”

A Cun (“tsoon”) is an important reference for locating acupoints. In order to locate acupoints, you must understand how to measure the body using cun.

How big is a cun?

One cun is equivalent to the width of your thumb. Notice that I said the width of your thumb. A cun measurement is relative to body size. Since we are all different shapes and sizes, it makes sense that the width of our thumbs will vary too.

Directions for locating acupoints always reference cun in relation to an observable landmark. 
For example, “Pericardium 6 (P 6) is located 2 cun proximal to the wrist crease on the palm side of the forearm.”  (“Proximal” means closer to the trunk. In this case we move 2 cun closer to, or toward the elbow, rather than toward the palm of the hand.)

Based on those directions we can now locate P 6:

Step one – find the wrist crease on the palm side of the forearm.

Step two – measure 2 cun (or thumb widths) from the crease towards the elbow.

Step three – P 6 is located on the center line of the forearm, 2 cun proximal to the wrist crease. Use the images below for reference:

cun measurements

Measuring 2 cun using the width of the thumb

cun measurements

Pericardium 6

One cun is relative to body size

cun measurements

No matter how thick or thin your thumb is, it is still one cun on your body.

Adjusting cun measurements to locate acupoints

Notice the relative size difference between you and the person you are working with. If you are taller, your thumb will be thicker.  Therefore, your cun measurement needs to be decreased for this person.

If you are shorter, your thumb width will be more narrow. Therefore, your cun measurement needs to be increased for this person.

cun measurements

Notice the width of your thumb compared to the person you are working with.

In practice, this is much simpler than this lengthy explanation. So go practice! Compare your thumb width to those around you. Practice locating P 6 on different people. Once you put cun measurements into practice, it will make sense. I promise!

About The Author

Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


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