Category Archives: Planning

Seeing Clearly, Stepping Nimbly

Tongziliao – Gall Bladder 1 – Pupil Crevice

Today is another windy spring day in South Australia. This time it’s a warm wind, but the forecast for tomorrow is for cool winds. Such is the changeable nature of spring. Wind is the climate of the Wood Element and when it penetrates the body’s defences, can create headaches and affect the eyes.

In previous springs we have examined other Gall Bladder points which treat wind invasion. Last year we looked at Gall Bladder 15 while the previous spring it was Gall Bladder 41.

Tongziliao – Gall Bladder 1 – Pupil Crevice, is named for its location at the outer side of the eye, in a hollow on the orbital bone. It is useful for eliminating wind, a condition to which the Liver is prone and averse. The point treats redness and itching of the eyes, eye pain and tearing, visual obstruction or dimness. It also treats headaches and migraines, especially around the temples. When there is a deviation of the mouth or facial paralysis such as occurs in Bell’s palsy, the point is called for.

At this point there is a close connection between the two Officials of Wood.  The Liver Official’s job is to use far-sightedness and good judgement in making the  plans needed to navigate the world. The Gall Bladder Official is responsible for decision making and for strategising the best way implement those plans. Tongziliao is an appropriate point to use to support both of these functions.

Gall Bladder 1 is a meeting point with the Bladder and Triple Heater meridians. In other words it is like a railway hub through which three lines pass. Using this point will have wide ranging influences by having an effect on all three of these yang meridians of the head.

Another of its important functions is as an entry point. Qi moves through the cycle of all 12 primary meridians, moving out of one meridian at its exit point, and into the following meridian at its entry point. In this case, Qi moves from Triple Heater 22 to Gall Bladder 1. It is common for Qi to become blocked at these points of exit and entry which are referred to as Entry-Exit blocks. In fact, such blocks can be impediments to treatment progressing and so the Five Element practitioner must always be alert to their possibility.

Tongziliao can be used to promote clarity of vision at all levels of the body, mind and spirit. Gall Bladder timidity is a psycho-emotional condition which describes a lack of courage to make decisions and move to decisive action. This point supports such a person to see clearly what needs to be done and to act accordingly.

Gall Bladder 1 is the start of that meridian’s long zig-zag journey around the head and down the sides of the body. It’s pathway embodies the qualities of the yang Wood Official as he moves back and forth, stepping nimbly and flexibly around obstacles in the way of achieving his goals. To support your own clarity of vision and flexibility of purpose, try holding GB 1 this spring.

Location of Gall Bladder 1


In a slight hollow at the side of the orbital bone of the eye, approximately 0.5 cun posterior to the outer canthus (corner of the eye).

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.

Healthy Bones

Shugu – Bone Binder – Bladder 65

10 Bones copyThough we are still in winter, spring is just around the corner. So I decided to choose an acupoint that will help us to make the transition between these seasons. Shugu is the Wood point on a Water meridian and so serves this purpose nicely.

In Five Element Acupuncture and Acupressure, we pay a lot of attention to the different Element points on the meridians. Every meridian has the five Element points on its pathway. These points are found between the fingers and elbows, and between the toes and knees. These points, sometimes called command points, are tools for moving Qi from one Element to another. Shugu is one such point. As the Wood point on a Water meridian, it moves Qi from Water to Wood. Specifically it moves Qi from Bladder to Gall Bladder, thereby sedating Bladder and tonifying Gall Bladder.

In doing so, this point harmonises the relationship between Water and Wood. We might use the metaphor of a tree whose deep roots are able to access the water and nutrients in the soil in order to grow and stay healthy. Shugu likewise enables us as humans to make wise use of our inner resources for optimum growth. It allows us to utilise these resources in service of our vision for the future. It is like hooking up the driveshaft (Water) to the wheels (Wood) so we can go somewhere. When there is drive without vision, will without plans, seed without growth, this point will serve.

As a distal point on the Bladder meridian, Shugu can treat problems of the urinary bladder such as difficult urination and cystitis. Jarrett points to its use in helping kidney stones to smoothly exit the body. The point also treats conditions along the pathway of Bladder, including lumbar pain, neck pain, headache and sore, painful eyes. Furthermore, it helps clear heat from the body, including fever and the heat-related condition of haemorrhoids.

But what of the reference to bones? The bones are governed by the Water Element because they are the tissues that are deepest in the body. As the Wood point of Bladder, Shugu encourages the healthy growth of bones and supports the healing of fractures, hence the name Bone Binder.

In the Chinese Tongshu calendar, spring begins at the point midway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. For us here in the southern hemisphere, that means August 7th. You might try holding this bony point to smooth your passage into springtime.

Location of Bladder 65



On the outside of the foot in a depression posterior and inferior to the head of the 5th metatarsal. Run your finger up the side of your foot from the little toe until you find the large bony prominence half way along. Now go back towards the toe until your finger falls into a depression.