Category Archives: Transitions

AutumnWinter

Last weekend we went for a drive in the Adelaide Hills, as did many others released from Covid lockdown in South Australia. The autumn colours on a bright, sunny day were absolutely stunning, providing backdrops for much photography, and sitting smiling in the sun.

We are witnessing the annual transition from autumn to winter, one which reminds us that descent and decay are inevitable precursors of change and renewal. This year we also have ringside seats to a global transformation that may be the defining event of our lifetimes.

Autumn is the season of Metal which inspires us to let go of those things that no longer serve us, indeed may be holding us back from our development. Letting go prepares us to move into winter, season of the Water Element which coaxes us deep inside. The cold weather persuades us indoors, to warm fires and hot drinks, but it is also an invitation to go more deeply within ourselves, to reflect upon the deep places, often dark, within mind, heart and soul.

I find it interesting that I return to writing this blog after an absence of seven months at the very time when nature is bidding reflection. The call has been irresistible.

A client recently told me that he watched again the Metal and Water videos that I filmed around this time last year, and that he found more within them than he had seen the first time, nuances of tone and inflection, movement and posture. The truth is that each time we come to a season, even though we may have been here 20, 40 or 80 times, we are changed since last we traversed the autumnwinter. Our minds, our hearts, our souls are different and we are truly traversing the season for the first time in our current state.

Watch the Metal Video — Watch the Water Video

In choosing an acupoint about which I haven’t yet written, one which deeply supports this passage into winter, I settled on a point that I use frequently in the treatment room at this time of year.

Kidney 10 – Yingu – Yin Valley

Yingu is the Water point on a Water meridian. Such points are referred to as horary points or Element of the Element points. They have a profound influence upon the Element, in this case, shaking up the Water and revitalising the Kidney Qi.  They have a cleansing, enlivening and balancing effect and can provide treatment of the Element at depth.

This effect is amplified by using the points in their corresponding season, in this case, the winter. If you wish to further multiply their power, hold the points at the time of day when the Qi is at its peak in the meridian. In the case of Kidney, this is 5pm-7pm. I liken this alignment to getting all the winning reels up on a slot machine. And for those people who are of a Water constitution, this point really hits the jackpot.

The name Yin Valley may refer to the location of the point, lying as it does between two tendons of the hamstring muscles. But another interpretation evokes the pathway of the Kidney channel. Having travelled from the foot up the inside of the leg to Kidney 10, from here, the pathway continues up the leg to connect with Governor Vessel 1 at the coccyx, then goes deep into the body, passing through the organs of the bladder and the kidneys before re-emerging, like an underground river, at the pubis and Kidney 11. This deep pathway echoes the invitation of the Water Element for us to travel deeply into ourselves at this time of year, dropping down into those dark recesses of the soul that are often hinted at in dreams.

At a physical level, Kidney 10 is a useful local point for pain and constriction at the inside of the knee. It clears damp heat in the lower burner, thereby treating such conditions as urinary dysfunction, painful or bleeding urination, genital pain or itching, uterine bleeding and impotence. Given the deep pathway described above, it also treats coccyx pain, low back pain and conditions of the bladder and kidneys.

Emotionally, the Water Element relates to fear. While Kidney 10 is not renowned for its effect on the emotions, it is interesting to observe that fear can make our knees shaky and weak, and this point helps treat knee imbalances.

So, for a good cleansing flush of the Water, clearing out debris and dirt in the river and making the water sparkle with freshness, try working with Yingu this winter.

Location of Kidney 10

 

At the medial (inside) end of the knee crease between the tendons of semitendinosus and semimembranosus. If you tighten your hamstring muscles, this accentuates the tendons. As you slide your finger along the knee crease, find  the more prominent semitendinosus tendon, then drop into the hollow between it and the less prominent and more medial semimembranosus tendon next to it. This is easier to find with the knee slightly bent.

Season Travel

I was recently invited by my publisher Singing Dragon Press to write a blog as part of their marking of World Acupuncture Day on November 15th. As is my usual way of working, I chose to write about the current season. The wrinkle is that the current season in London where Singing Dragon is based is winter, while I am inhabiting summer in the Adelaide Hills.

Therefore it was an interesting exercise to write about winter and the Water Element without feeling its manifestations around me. It required a kind of inner travel to the cold, wet, dark of the northern winter where nature’s energy is shrinking, folding in on itself and withdrawing within. All this while experiencing warmth, brightness and energetic expansion as my sensory experience.

It took a few days of contemplating this polarity before, quite unexpectedly one day, the winter muse led me to the computer and poured out a Watery musing on the nature of fear. I was transported to the bleak winter landscapes of the UK and the resonances of that season.  It was not easy to hold the dual experiences of outer summer and inner winter, but it did work. I wonder if I was tuning into that same discombobulation that occurs when we physically transport ourselves to the opposite hemisphere and season. One of the ways of working with that seasonal upheaval is to hold points of the Element to which you are travelling, pulling yourself forward to your destination in a seasonal rebalance. While I didn’t actually hold Water points on myself when doing the inner season travel, my conscious focus on the qualities of winter and Water had a similar effect.

The blog is now the property of Singing Dragon so I can’t repeat it here, but you can read it at this link, whatever your hemispherical condition.

Finding Wisdom in Water’s Depths

The Next Chapter of Your Life

Zhangmen – Chapter Gate – Liver 13

As we move into spring in the antipodes, the energy of the Wood Element is all around us. Time once again to roll out Wood points to smooth our passage through this sometimes jerky season.

New chapterI struggled a bit with getting this blog out. You may have noticed that it’s a week overdue. So it was with some amusement that I discovered that the Wood point I wanted to write about, Liver 13, is good for writer’s block!

One of the point’s many names, Chapter Gate, suggests support for the start of a new chapter, whether it be a piece of writing, or metaphorically a new chapter of your life. Zhangmen helps us to move to new beginnings.

The point is a meeting point, a place where the Liver, Gall Bladder and Spleen meridians converge. It is therefore a great harmoniser of the relationship between Wood (Liver) and Earth (Spleen). It smooths away the frustration and irritation that can be caused by stagnation in the Liver Qi; and it supports Spleen’s capacity for clear, productive thinking. Altogether, this makes for the ability to see the road ahead, think clearly, make plans for the future, and move forward with purpose. When you’re at a crossroads, Zhangmen helps you to navigate the next stage in your life.

From Chapter Gate the Qi moves upwards to Gate of Hope, Liver 14, which we looked at two springs ago. These two Gates are often treated together, mutually supporting the freeing of stuck energy and moving smoothly through transitions. This combination can be a powerful support for depression that is caused by stagnant Liver Qi.

At the physical level, the point treats abdominal pain and distension, gurgling tummy, loss of appetite and diarrhoea which may alternate with constipation. It supports the Spleen in its function of transforming food into Qi and transporting its energy around the body. Good for those times when overindulgence in food leaves you overfull and nauseated.

Another name for the point is Camphorwood Gate. Zhang denotes the camphor laurel tree and by extension any valuable wood. This point is where Wood receives Earth and The Book of History teaches, “When Wood receives the virtue of Earth it becomes a thousand pieces of valuable lumber.” Wood’s ability to see the way forward is united with Earth’s capacity to transform plans into manifestation. A valuable product is the result.

When you’re having trouble turning the page to reveal the next chapter of your life story, try holding Zhangmen.

Location of Liver 13

LV 13Located at the tip of the 11th rib. Another of the point’s names is Elbow Tip: if you let your arms hang at your sides and press your elbows in, the tip of the elbow locates the point. Another method is to palpate downwards along the fixed ribs. As you get towards the side of the body, the fixed ribs give way to a gap. Keep going and you’ll touch the tip of the 11th rib.