Category Archives: Point Location

Spring turns to Summer – Wood feeds Fire

Generation CycleAs spring transitions to summer there is a qualitative change in the way nature looks and feels. The rapid, uprising, often erratic and unpredictable energy of Wood begins to level out. Nature has gone through its most rapid growth from tender sprout to fully grown plant and the speed of growth begins to slow down. Likewise the rapid acceleration in the length of the daylight hours also begins to slow. In ourselves, the sense of strongly uprising Qi may be replaced by a feeling of outward expansiveness.

The sun rises quite early now and tries to coax us out of bed earlier than in spring. The days are much longer and the increasing warmth persuades us to shed layers of clothing, to wear lighter and brighter coloured garments. The temperatures are no longer simply warm but hot. The strength of the sun is noticeably more intense, encouraging us to wear hats and sunscreen. The night comes later, especially if there is daylight saving, encouraging us to stay outdoors and enjoy the lengthening days. Evenings are warm, and there are no longer the cool nights of spring.

In this transition nature offers us an invitation to come out, to be outdoors more, to be more expansive, both physically, and emotionally. This sense of expansiveness leads naturally to a desire to spend more time with others. The start of summer marks the beginning of the barbeque season, street parties, garage sales and get togethers of all kinds. Calendars begin to fill up as invitations to social activities surge.

As the energy of Fire begins to replace that of Wood, we may notice more activity in the heart centre, prompting us to seek more human contact and to have more fun in the process.

After spending the spring months exploring the qualities of the Wood Element within you, you have been developing a healthier Wood, healing the gnarled and creaky places in yourself. A healthy Wood Element gives birth to a healthy Fire Element. The work you have done in the spring season will serve as a platform for continued exploration, growth and healing in the summer. As the season transitions to summer and the Fire phase, you will be much better equipped to move into the expansive, loving, heart oriented Element of Fire.

Moving Between Wood and Fire

The acupoint I have chosen to end this round of Wood points is Xingjian – Moving Between. This is the second point on the Liver meridian, the Fire point on that channel. It is a point that encourages the movement of Qi from Wood to Fire when the Liver Qi is excess. Excess Liver energy tends to rise rapidly and often uncontrollably up the body. At the physical level it can manifest as headaches, dizziness, painful and red eyes, nosebleed, dry throat, pain and itching in the genitals, menstrual pain and irregularity, and abdominal distension. Emotionally it shows up as anger, frustration and irritability. The rapidly rising Liver Qi can produce anger related symptoms such as a rush of blood to the head, seeing red and flying off the handle. Insomnia can result.

Moving Between treats all these conditions, quelling the uncontrolled Liver energy by persuading the pent up energy of Wood to flow smoothly to the Fire Element around the Generation cycle. (See illustration above)

Next time we will begin our exploration of the Fire Element. Throughout the summer you will learn some of the important points of the Fire meridians. Don’t forget to bring your hat!

Location of Liver 2

LV 2The point is located just (0.5 cun) above the webbing between the first and second toes. Don’t confuse this with Liver 3 which we learned earlier in the spring and which lies further up the foot in a large hollow between the metatarsals. Apply direct finger pressure for two to three minutes on both sides.

 

Some of the above material has been taken from John’s book “Seasons of Life – A Guide to Living with the Five Elements” to be published in 2015.

Gate of Hope

Gate 1Depression is an all too common condition these days. Feelings of flatness, hopelessness, pointlessness or simply a feeling of being down and blue are some of the characteristics of depression. From the perspective of Chinese medicine, one of the causes of depression is an imbalance in the Wood Element arising from stagnation in the Liver Qi which can in turn be a result of suppressed anger. Since anger is the emotion that corresponds to the Wood Element, constricted anger can affect its  yin organ, the Liver, resulting in a suppression not only of anger, but of vibrancy, aliveness, motivation and the willingness to move boldly through life.

When healthy, Liver Qi rises up from the feet and legs, through the groin and abdomen to the chest, empowering action and engagement with life. It is akin to the sap rising up a tree to nourish its branches and leaves. A common place for this uprising Qi to become stuck is in the chest at the last point (14) of the Liver meridian, Qimen, Gate of Hope.*

When Liver 14 becomes blocked, there can be constriction in the diaphragm leading to frequent sighing. There may be pain, distension and fullness in the chest as well as epigastric pain, nausea, reflux and vomiting.

At the psycho-emotional level blocked Qi at Qimen may result in an inability to see the way forward in life, feelings of gloominess, hopelessness and resignation. Opening the Gate of Hope can expand the horizons, allowing the person to see the limitless possibility that life has to offer. It provides support to meet the challenges of the world with zest and vigour, direction and purpose.

When Qi moves freely from here to the next point in the cycle, Lung 1, there is inspiration to aspire to greater things, support for the planning and creativity to express these aspirations in the world, and the strength and flexibility to carry them forward. All of these qualities are the gifts that are available to us when our Wood Element is in balance.

At the level of spirit, the spiritual issue of the Wood Element is finding one’s true path in life. What is the essential orientation and direction of your particular existence? What is the path through life that best expresses and unfolds your individual soul? Gate of Hope can support you as you ponder these existential questions.

* Gate of Hope is JR Worsley’s name for Liver 14; its traditional name is Cycle Gate since it marks the completion of the whole cycle of the meridian points which begins with Lung 1.

LV 14Location of Liver 14

The point is located in the sixth intercostal space, on the nipple line, i.e. 4 cun lateral to the midline. First locate the tip of the xiphoid process which is the knob of cartilage that attaches below the breast bone. Move your finger across the ribcage until you are in line with the nipple. Then come up until you land in a rib space. On a woman, this is the rib space below the breast. The point will probably be sensitive. Hold the point with steady pressure for 2 to 3 minutes or until you feel the Qi moving freely. If the point is really stuck, try holding it in combination with Lung 1 which we learned in an earlier post. (See The Breath of Heaven, April 14, 2014.)

Is Life Worth Living? It all depends on the liver

KaleThis witty word play by 19th century American philosopher William James serves as a reminder that the health of the liver organ is of utmost importance in living a healthy life. If you want to live, you have to have a liver.

Of the approximately 500 functions of the liver, the most important include synthesis of amino acids and cholesterol; metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats; and the production of bile which assists digestion in the small intestine. The liver plays several roles in the regulation of the blood, breaks down insulin, breaks down toxic substances and allows them to be excreted. In short, the liver supports almost every other organ in the body.

In Chinese medicine, the Liver is the yin organ of the Wood Element. Since spring is the season of the year in which Wood energy is at its peak, spring is the best time to support this organ. Eat plenty of fresh dark green vegetables. Kale (like that pictured in my garden this morning) is one of the best foods to cleanse the liver. Sour foods such as lemons and limes, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut are also terrific. If you’ve been thinking of doing a liver cleanse, then start right now. If you live in the southern hemisphere, the ambient Wood energy will support you greatly.

Perhaps the best acupoint to aid your dietary efforts is Liver 3, Supreme Rushing. This is one of the great tonic points of the body. As the source point of the Liver meridian, it directly treats the organ itself. It also influences many conditions associated with the Liver and the Wood Element. For example, it treats conditions of the eyes which are the sense organs of Wood. It helps with abdominal distension and pain, menstrual irregularities, urinary and genital conditions, all of which occur in areas of the body through which the Liver meridian passes.

Supreme Rushing helps ease insomnia and disrupted sleep as well as headaches that are the result of Liver Qi stagnation. If you’ve eaten too much fatty food, drunk too much alcohol or taken a lot of medications, this point will support their metabolism by the Liver.

At the psycho-emotional level, anger is the emotion of the Wood Element. Anger that does not flow freely tends to lodge in the Liver. Therefore the point can soothe agitation, irritation, frustration and anger. It calms the mind and imparts courage and clarity. Where there is depression caused by suppressed anger and frustration, it can liberate a person’s aliveness and fuel the upward rising energy necessary to allow active engagement with the world.

So if you want to give your Liver a jump start this spring, Supreme Rushing can rush to your aid.

LV 3Location of Liver 3

The Liver source point lies on the top of the foot in a large hollow between the first and second toes, halfway along metatarsal bones. There will probably be a sensitive spot. If the liver is very congested, the point itself may feel thick and swollen.