The biggest change to my practice and understanding of acupuncture was bought about by studying the works of Prof Wang Ju-Yi.
This venerable acupuncturist, who still practices into his 70's in Beijing, single-handedly restored channel palpation to its rightful place at the heart of acupuncture diagnosis.
The most critical aspect of channel palpation is the simple realisation that the channels are physical extensions of the organs. There is nothing esoteric or mysterious about them and visible in EVERY anatomical textbook in existence as negative space.
Channel palpation allows us to effectively feel what is going on in the organ by extension into the channels. Any pathology in the organs is transmitted along the channels: in fact this is one of the ways in which the body tries to heal itself.
Palpation not only gives us valuable diagnostic insight but also starts the process of warmming the channel and point up, and discovering the exact position of the point. Good Deqi along the channel is the final confirmation that you are on the right path.