Category Archives: BL 23

In the Flow

Pangguangshu – Bladder Shu – Bladder 28

River FlowWinter usually brings a wave of Water related conditions and issues into the  treatment room. As the high tide of the year moves through the Water Element, it puts pressure on any existing imbalances in Water. This can include lower back pain and stiffness, cold invading the body, urinary system dysfunction, problems with the bladder, kidneys, ears and bones, fears and phobias, and reduced perseverance.

As we age, the lifelong decline in our Kidney Qi begins to affect all of these resonances of the Water Element. And the cold of the winter creates added pressure on our declining resources. This inspires some to migrate to warmer climate zones such as Queensland.

An acupoint that offers support for conditions of the waterworks is Pangguangshu, Bladder 28. This is the shu point of Bladder and treats that organ directly. The shu points are particularly useful in treating chronic conditions, those that have become entrenched for some time.

Bladder shu is used to treat difficult, painful, hesitant and frequent urination. These symptoms are associated with an enlarged prostate, and so the point is very helpful for treating the prostate conditions which afflict many older men. It is also used to treat cystitis which is an inflammation of the urinary tract, usually caused by infection. The effect of Pangguangshu also extends to the genitals, treating such conditions as swelling, pain or itching of the external genitals.

Bladder 28 is also useful in treating lower back pain as well as pain or stiffness in the sacrum, coccyx and buttocks. It has an influence over the Kidneys and can be used in combination with the Kidney shu point, Bladder 23. (See article here.) Because of its influence over the lower burner, it can be used to treat lower abdominal pain and fullness, and constipation caused by Qi stagnation.

At the psycho-emotional level, stagnation in the Bladder expresses as difficulty managing one’s resources and reserves. This can produce a sense of urgency and anxiety about life, leading to a tendency to use effort and willpower to push through obstacles in the way. There is an apt expression for this, ‘pushing the river’, which suggests using draining effort rather than going with the flow.

Zhi is the spirit of Water. It is often translated as will. When our Water Element is in balance and harmony, the power that fuels action arises naturally and spontaneously from true will that is not dependent on a pushing, urgent, straining effort. Pangguangshu can help to keep us in the flow.

Location of Bladder 28

BL 28


The point is 1.5 cun lateral to the midline at the level of the second sacral foramen (hollow). Find the top of the sacrum and go two fingers width below this and two fingers width lateral to find the point.

Navigating Winter Waters

Foggy lake

At the launch of my books at Ngeringa in the Adelaide Hills last week, I talked about ways that we can use the winter to support our Water Element. For those who couldn’t make that talk, and as a reminder for those who did, here are some ways to strengthen your Water this winter.

Embrace Yin.

Winter is the time of the Great Yin. Qualities of the yin polarity include darkness, depth, moistness, cold, receptivity and stillness. Our modern, productivity-oriented world tends not to value such qualities, rather driving us to year-round yang behaviour. While this posture is supported in the yang half of the year (spring and summer), if we do not adapt to the yin energy of winter, we need a lot of effort to keep going at full speed. Failure to heed nature’s rhythms is one of the reasons that there is so much sickness in the winter.

Sleep more

Unless you live at the equator, winter nights are always longer than those in summer. Where I live there are almost 5 hours more darkness at the winter solstice compared to the summer solstice. More time to sleep! Going to bed earlier will save on your energy bills and also allow you to generate more personal energy. An extra hour of sleep in the winter nights will deeply support your Water. Then, when the spring comes, you’ll have much more petrol in your tank to fuel new plans and projects.

Do less

If you’re spending more time in bed, you’ll need to take one or two things off your To Do list. Otherwise you’ll be cramming more into less space. Whether it’s turning down the invitation to a party or turning off the computer and TV earlier, do less and turn into bed.

Keep warm

The Kidneys are the yin organs of the Water Element. When external cold penetrates the body it injures the Kidneys, so it is really important to avoid cold invasion. Wearing a hat and a scarf are good. Also, make sure your lower back and abdomen are well rugged up. Keep your shirt tucked in and wear extra layers where necessary. The Japanese have a garment called a haramaki or belly warmer designed to warm the abdomen and lower back. You can also warm yourself by putting a hot water bottle or heating pack on your tummy just below the navel.

Go inward

The movement of the Water Element is inward, and indeed the long winter nights invite introspection. Sit by a fire looking into the flames, or if you don’t have a fire, look into candle flames. Fire gazing is a deeply relaxing activity and allows us to contact the less conscious parts of ourselves. Belly breathing meditation is also a great way to go inside. What’s more, by breathing into the belly centre (also known as the hara or lower dan tien) you can accumulate Qi which is then stored in the Kidneys. You warm yourself at the same time as filling your personal petrol tank.

Treat yourself

Two acupoints that are very supportive of Kidney and the Water are the source point (Kidney 3) and shu point (Bladder 23) of Kidney. Here are links to those points from previous winter blogposts.

Kidney 3

Bladder 23

Next time I will share a meditation that deeply supports the Kidneys, the Water Element and the Central Channel. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the winter season.

Hibernating bear