Category Archives: Vitality

Caught on a Sticky Wicket

Yinlingquan – Yin Mound Spring – Spleen 9

8 HumidI’ve just spent a week in Brisbane where the late summer has flowed deep into the autumn, producing 30 degree temperatures and 80% humidity. These conditions create a hot, damp, sticky climate that can be overwhelming for visitors used to drier places. As with any climatic condition, dampness that arises from high humidity can penetrate the bodymind. When it does, it affects the balance of the Earth Element and injures the Spleen.

When damp enters the body it produces symptoms such as heaviness, particularly in the limbs and lower body; lethargy and fatigue; fluid retention; and sluggishness of body and mind. Thinking can become slow and the mind foggy. There may be loss of appetite and distension of the abdomen. Overall, you feel like a wet noodle. Movement is like walking through mud.

You don’t just have to go to the tropics to experience damp. Cold, wet climates such as those found in northern Europe can cause damp to penetrate, as can being in wet clothes for too long, sitting on damp ground, working in damp conditions or living close to water in a damp house. Moreover, a diet that is injurious to the Spleen can create internal damp. This includes consuming too much sugar, cold foods and drink.

If any of this describes your current condition, then help is at hand. Yinlingquan – Yin Mound Spring is one of the best points for clearing damp from the body. As the Water point on an Earth meridian, it helps to rebalance conditions where the Earth has become waterlogged and soggy. These include oedema, bloating, urinary dysfunction, sticky vaginal discharge, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. Locally it is a great point for treating swelling of the knee. In all cases this Spleen point dries the dampness by draining the Water from the Earth.

You may have noticed that this blog is a week overdue. I was fully intending to write it while I was in Queensland but the humidity sapped my energy both mentally and physically. Even though in South Australia we are well into the autumnal season of Metal, I thought I would extend the run of Earth articles by writing about what was in front of me. Now please excuse me while I go and press Spleen 9.


SP9Location of Spleen 9

The point is located in a depression below the inside of the knee in the angle formed by the medial condyle of the tibia and the posterior border of the tibia. Run your finger up the inside of the lower leg, following the groove at the back of the tibia, until it falls into a depression below the prominence of the medial condyle.



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One for all, All for one

Late Summer is upon us in the southern hemisphere, time to return once more to points of the Earth Element. We begin with Spleen 6, a really useful point as you will see.

Sanyinjiao ~ Three Yin Crossing ~ Spleen 6
* Forbidden during pregnancy

5.9The motto of the Three Musketeers could well be applied to Sanyinjiao – Three Yin Crossing where three meridians unite at a single point. While the point is given to the Spleen meridian because its primary influence is upon the Spleen, it is a meeting point with the Kidney and Liver meridians. Like a river that joins together with two other tributaries, producing a combined force, SP 6 is a powerful confluence of forces where the combined action is more than the sum of the parts.

The wide range of conditions addressed by this point makes it one of the most frequently selected points in treatment. As it influences the three yin meridians of the leg, it treats conditions of the digestive, urinary, lymphatic and reproductive systems, treats damp, tonifies Qi and Blood, and raises the Qi upwards.

As a Spleen point, it strengthens the Spleen, thereby treating all Spleen Qi deficiency symptoms: feelings of heaviness and fatigue, abdominal fullness, loss of appetite and loose bowels. It clears oedema by mobilising the Spleen’s capacity to move fluids. Similarly it has a strong influence on nourishing the Blood and clearing Blood stagnation.

Three Yin Crossing is a great point for resolving damp, a pathogenic factor to which the Spleen is particularly prone. Damp in the lower burner can manifest as infections of the bladder, vagina and prostate; damp in the middle burner can cause diarrhoea, poor digestion, abdominal pain and nausea.

In its role as a Kidney point it strengthens Kidney Qi which is the source of our vitality. It treats difficult and painful urination, tinnitus, night sweats, dry mouth and difficulty with hot weather.

As a Liver point, it promotes the smooth flow of Liver Qi, treats painful menstruation and abdominal pain generally. It also treats pain in the genitals, seminal emission and sexual hyperactivity in men, impotence and infertility, blurred vision and hypertension.

Sanyinjiao is one of the best points for regulating the uterus, and so is very useful for all menstrual irregularities. Its effect on the uterus makes it one of the best points for promoting labour, and is therefore forbidden during pregnancy except in the final stages.

Emotionally it soothes the spirit when a person is despairing, feeling weighed down by the burdens of life. It helps calm a worried mind and ease insomnia. Its influence over the Liver means it can calm irritability, especially when associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Spleen 6 combines well with Stomach 36 to strengthen the middle burner and balance the Earth Element. A nice little treatment is to combine SP 6 with the source points of the three associated meridians, namely Spleen 3, Kidney 3 and Liver 3. The quality of the Qi at these three points will tell you much about the health of these meridians and organs.

If you want to raise your game, raise your Qi with this triple crown winner of a point.


5.10Location of Spleen 6


Located 3 cun (four fingers width) above the crest of the inner ankle bone. Press towards the back of the tibia bone.





This is an extract from The Way of the Five Elements by John Kirkwood. Available now from your favourite bookseller.

Return to Centre

Heavenly pivot 2February marks the transition from summer to late summer in the southern hemisphere. Late summer, the harvest time, is the season of the Earth Element. Earth mediates the transition from summer to autumn, but it also makes an appearance between autumn and winter, winter and spring, and spring and summer. The reason Earth is matched with the Late Summer in particular is that this transition is most evocative of Earth’s qualities of fruition, abundance, nourishment and support.

We now turn our attention from Fire to Earth and to acu-points that are supportive of the Earth Element within you.

Stomach 25 – Tianshu – Heavenly Pivot

Tianshu is the name the Chinese gave to the star Dubhe which forms part of the Big Dipper (Plough) in the northern night sky. This star is used as a pointer to Polaris, the North Star, around which the heavens appear to pivot.

This notion of pivoting around a centre is apt for the acu-point Tianshu – Heavenly Pivot which lies at the level of the navel. The point points to the umbilicus, our energetic centre, the original connection to our mother who was the earthly source and centre of our world in childhood.

This characteristic of centrality is, well, central to the nature of the Earth Element. We see this expressed at all levels of its manifestation. At the physical level the organs of Stomach and Spleen are central to digestion and lie in the middle of the body. Emotionally, Earth wants to mediate and to connect others together. At a cosmic level it provides the pivotal point of balance between the heavens and the mundane world.

Physically, Tianshu is a highly effective point for stomach and intestinal disorders. Peter Deadman goes so far as to call it the single most important point for the treatment of the widest variety of intestinal disorders.

As the front-mu point of the Large Intestine, it treats conditions such as constipation and diarrhoea. At this meeting point, the functions of Stomach and Large Intestine intersect, harmonising the processes of digestion and elimination.

Tianshu also treats endometriosis, abdominal masses and menstrual disorders. And it ameliorates the lethargy and fatigue of Spleen Qi deficiency.

As the celestial pivot, it balances the yang of the upper body with the yin of the lower body. For those who are energetically top heavy, ungrounded and relatively absent from their legs and feet, this is a great grounding point. When there is a lot of repetitive, obsessive thought, this point helps to draw the focus away from the head. For those who are energetically bottom heavy, the point helps to raise the Spleen Qi, supporting vitality and activity.

Emotionally, Tianshu is a good point for emotional volatility and where there are big swings in mood and in energy levels. It treats a condition known in Chinese medicine as running piglet Qi where there is a sensation of agitation and tightness in the abdomen as if tiny piglets were running madly between navel and the throat. This condition is exacerbated by stress, sexual repression and unexpressed emotion. Therefore the point is used in psychosomatic problems when there is abdominal distress. Running piglet Qi is often a diagnosis for panic attack.

Another feature of the Earth Element is that it facilitates transitions and this point is especially helpful in supporting someone who is going through a life transition by helping to keep them stable and centred with a grounded connection to the earth.

When you feel that you have become ungrounded, uncentred, or have left yourself in some way, you can return to centre by focusing on this point of pivot which balances the celestial Qi with the earthly Qi. Become balanced between heaven and earth.

Location of Stomach 25

The point is located at the level of the navel and 2 cun lateral to it. It is halfway from the navel to the border of the rectus abdominus muscle. You can hold the points together or one at a time. Hold with sustained pressure and focus for 3 minutes and notice any changes that occur.