Category Archives: Acupressure Points

Transition from Water to Wood

Transition to springAfter the last few very cold days here in South Australia, you may be wondering what planet I’m on as I talk about the seasonal change from winter to spring. According to the ancient Chinese solar calendar, spring starts at the beginning of February in the northern hemisphere, which means the beginning of August here in the antipodes. August 5th is a cross quarter day, marking the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The ancients called this “Establishment of Spring Qi.” From this date, the days begin to lengthen rapidly, temperatures rise and there is an overall quickening in nature.

If you tune into your own body, you may notice that you too are responding to this speeding up. You may perceive it as a feeling of get-up-and-go, a sudden desire to dust off the hiking boots, clean the mountain bike, or get started on spring cleaning. For some it may appear as a restlessness that can only be managed by movement. This is the Wood energy of spring making itself felt in you.

This is a great time to make plans and start new projects, for the ambient Wood energy will support you in your endeavours. It’s a bit like a surfer catching a wave. If you catch the first waves of Wood in August, they will add power to your arm as you implement your new plans.

But take care not to rush too quickly to action. Wood energy can be jerky and erratic and many people suffer tendon and ligament strains in spring as a result of jumping into motion too quickly after a winter of inaction. Make sure you stretch your body before starting physical activity. If you are starting a new project, ensure your plans are sound before you launch into your endeavour.

There is an acupoint which can be very supportive of this transition from Water to Wood. Gall Bladder 25, Capital Gate, lies on the side/back of the body at the end of the twelfth rib. While it is a point on the Gall Bladder meridian (Wood), it is also the mu or alarm point of the Kidney (Water). Therefore it influences both Elements, helps to smooth the movement of Water to Wood and can ease our passage from winter to spring

Capital Gate relaxes the sinews and can get you going, stimulating the will to move into action. The point also helps with low back pain, spinal weakness, feeling the cold, lower abdominal cramp or distension, kidney complaints and difficult urination. It is known to support the free flow of Qi in the area after gall bladder removal.

So if it feels like your get-up-and-go got up and went during the winter, support yourself in the early spring with Capital Gate.

 

Location of Gall Bladder 25

 

GB25GB 25 is located a the free end of the twelfth rib. Place your thumbs on your lower back around the level of your waist. Press upwards with your thumbs until you feel the bottom ribs. Follow the ribs down and outwards to the sides of the body until you can feel the ends of the ribs. You are still on the back of your body, but almost to the side. The point is often tender to the touch. Apply sustained pressure for two to three minutes or until the point relaxes and the Qi flows.

My Achilles is killing me!

Thetis dipping AchillesTightness in the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon is a condition that affects many people. This includes joggers, cyclists and other athletes who use their legs strenuously. It can also affect people who wear high heels or ill fitting shoes, those who stand a lot, and those who suddenly take up an aggressive running program after being inactive for a long time. But the condition is not confined to those who are active. People who suffer from blood deficiency, for example the elderly and women during menstruation are prone to tightening of the tendon during the night and so may wake up feeling sore in the calves.

Symptoms of Achilles tendon tightness include cramps, pain and stiffness along the tendon in the morning, pain along the tendon or the back of the heel that worsens with activity, severe pain the day after exercising, thickening of the tendon, bone spur at the heel, and swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day.

There is a great acupressure point that helps alleviate these symptoms, Bladder 57, Support the Mountain which is located in the middle of back of the lower leg. Sustained pressure here relaxes the Achilles tendon and all the calf muscles that attach to it. This in turn takes pressure off the heel bone where the tendon attaches.

The influence of Support the Mountain extends beyond the leg, for it is an excellent point for pain and stiffness in the lumbar region and for sciatica. When it is held together with Bladder 23 which we learned in an earlier post, the combination provides  an excellent release of the low back. The point also treats haemorrhoids and rectal prolapse.

Did you know that the Achilles tendon is named after the Ancient Greek mythological hero whose mother dipped him in the River Styx to make him invulnerable? Unfortunately the heel by which she held him was not submerged and this remained a vulnerable place. During the Trojan War, Achilles suffered a small would to his heel and subsequently died. The term Achilles heel is now used to refer to a person’s weak spot.

So if calf pain is your Achilles heel, BL 57 Support the Mountain can come to your aid.

Location of Bladder 57

BL 57

 

The point is located in the middle of back of the lower leg, half way between the crease at the back of the knee and the ankle. It lies in a depression between the heads of the gastrocnemius muscle. If you press the ball of your foot against resistance, this depression becomes more evident. Use firm pressure for two to three minutes or until you feel the Qi moving smoothly.

Power Source Point

WaterfallI expect my acupressure students are tired of hearing me repeat that the source point of a meridian is often the best point to use because it directly influences the corresponding organ and balances the meridian no matter whether it is excess or deficient. I emphasise the source points because they are such safe and effective points to use, especially for beginners.

The source point of the Kidney meridian is K 3, Supreme Stream and is located behind the inner ankle. It is said that palpation of this point indicates the condition of the kidneys, while treating it tonifies and balances the functioning of those organs. It also helps to reduce lumbar pain, especially when used in combination with BL 23 in the low back, a point I explored a couple of blogs back.

The Kidney meridian also influences the urinary and reproductive systems, so K 3 can be used to treat irregular menstruation, infertility, impotence, premature ejaculation, frequent urination and cystitis.

The ears are the sense organs of the Kidney, so this point  benefits the ears and the sense of hearing. It helps with tinnitus, ear infections and hearing loss. Many of the conditions of old age relate to the decline of Kidney Qi, things such as incontinence, memory loss, hair loss, insomnia and feeling the cold. This point can support a person with any of these conditions and is therefore a boon to the aged.

Supreme Stream steadies the Water Element and can have a very calming effect upon the emotions. It is especially helpful in calming fear, the emotion of  Water. This point can settle anxiety, help recovery from highly adrenalised states and aid in healing from frightening and traumatic experiences.

Source points help us to reconnect with our Original Qi, that deep reservoir of energy that we were born with and which serves as our fuel tank for life. Since this Qi is stored in the Kidneys, K 3 is particularly significant in supporting our connection to this power source. It supports us in realising our potential in the world by aligning us with the positive Water qualities of will, determination, courage, persistence and perseverance.

We are still deep in the season of winter and this point will be especially useful at this time of year. Holding a point in the season that corresponds to its Element makes it doubly effective. I recommend utilising this power point over the next few weeks.

Location of Kidney 3

SAMSUNGThe point is immediately behind (posterior to) the inner ankle bone. Find the tip of the ankle and move your finger backwards until you are in the deep hollow between the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon. Feel for a tender spot. Use direct pressure for 2-3 minutes, or until you feel a harmonising of the Qi at the point. I suggest you hold the left side first, then the right. If you are working on someone else, try holding it with BL 23 on the same side of the body. Related points held in combination are much more powerful than points held by themselves.