Category Archives: Gall Bladder pain

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.

Tears of Frustration

Apologies for the delay in this post. I’ve been busy getting the manuscript of  a second book ‘Seasons of Life’ to the publishers, extracts of which will soon be appearing in this space.

Zulinqi – Foot Above Tears – Gall Bladder 41

3.11Most of us have had the experience of becoming so frustrated with something or someone that we burst into tears. Anger and frustration become so pent up that they find a release through crying. Such an emotional state is usually an indication of an imbalance in Wood which can be treated by the Gall Bladder point Zulinqi – Foot Above Tears.

Wood that is healthy and moving freely aids us in finding a clear path around the apparent obstacles that life presents, like the plant that pushes its way through the cracks in the footpath. When Wood is not healthy, there are two polarised responses to obstacles: a repeated pushing against an immovable impediment resulting in frustration; or a collapse into inaction, defeat and giving up.

Zulinqi helps to resolve such polarised attitudes by strengthening all the resonances of Wood. It supports new ventures and putting your best foot forward as you move into action; provides a clear perspective of where you are and where you are headed; and helps with making good judgements and taking bold decisions. It treats Gall Bladder timidity where a person is fearful of taking action, and relieves depression caused by collapsed Wood. It helps to settle the person who is continually angry, frustrated and resentful.

Zulinqi supports the Wood in two ways. Firstly it smooths and clears the Gall Bladder channel, the complex pathway that begins at the outer corner of the eye and traverses the head, neck, shoulders, ribcage, hip, side of the leg and foot. Clearing this channel supports flexibility of the mind and body in negotiating a smooth path through life. Secondly, the point strongly supports the smooth spreading of Liver Qi, allowing it to ascend to fuel action and promote free respiration.

As the exit point of Gall Bladder meridian, it drains congested Qi from the upper reaches of the channel, especially from the head. Holding this point is like taking the plug out of a bath to drain it. Thus it can treat headaches, especially at the back and top of the head, visual distortion, dizziness and tinnitus.

As the Wood point of a Wood meridian, Foot Above Tears has an energising effect on the Element. It shakes the tree, rouses the Wood: Wake up, let’s go, it’s time to move! Element of the Element points such as this also function as horary points (from the Latin hora meaning hour). According to the Chinese meridian clock, the high tide of the Qi flow passes through Gall Bladder meridian between 11pm and 1am. Therefore the point has a greater influence during this time. People who have difficulty falling asleep at this time of night may find the point conducive.

Zulinqi has another role as the master point of the Dai Mai (Girdling Vessel), one of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels, and the only one that does not have a longitudinal trajectory. It passes round the back at the waist, dropping lower towards the pelvis in front, like the low slung belts that were iconic fashion items in the 80s. This vessel binds the Penetrating and Conception Vessels, and the Liver, Spleen and Kidney meridians, all of which influence the menstrual cycle. This powerful master point therefore regulates menstruation and treats PMT which so often comes with tears. It also helps with infertility, vaginal discharge, abdominal fullness and lumbar pain. It relieves the low back and hip pain of pregnancy.

Locally, it treats pain and swelling on the top of the foot, and helps to heal the most common of foot fractures at the fifth metatarsal.

Some say that frustration is a motivating force that leads to success. I would suggest it is a sign that Wood is getting stuck. Zulinqi can help to unblock the logjam and free the energy for directed, purposeful action.


3.12Location of Gall Bladder 41

On the top of the foot, in the depression below the junction of the 4th and 5th metatarsals. Draw up between the fourth and fifth toes, cross over the tendon of extensor digitorum longus and drop into the hollow. Apply direct pressure. The point is often quite sensitive.




This is an extract from the forthcoming book ‘The Way of the Five Elements’ by John Kirkwood, Singing Dragon Press. Publication date November 21st, 2015. You can now pre-order this book at Fishpond, Book Depository and other online booksellers. (76 days to go!)

How Flexible Are You?

Bending treeThe sinews of the body, the tendons and ligaments, are the province of the Wood Element, and particularly of the Gall Bladder. When Wood is healthy, there is strength and flexibility in these tissues, joints move freely and the body moves smoothly in space. When Wood is wobbly, there can be stiffness in the joints and tightness in the tendons which make movement slow and painful. Sometimes the problem is the opposite, that the tendons and ligaments are too loose, the joints lose their structural integrity and bones do not hold their alignment.

The concept of flexibility extends beyond the physical structures to the psychological level. Inflexible attitudes and beliefs can also point to an imbalance in Wood. Healthy trees bend and sway with the wind; as humans we need to be able to adapt flexibly to changing conditions in our lives if we are to move smoothly through life. On the other hand, some people are so over-flexible and accommodating towards others that they lose sight of themselves. If you bend over backwards for people, you are likely to hurt your back!

Yang Mound Spring (Gall Bladder 34) is considered to be the master point for treating the tendons and ligaments and bringing smooth flexibility to them. The point nourishes the tendons, relieves spasms and cramps, especially along the pathway of Gall Bladder, i.e. head, neck, shoulders, sides of the ribcage, hips, and sides of the legs. It also treats sciatica which refers down the side of the leg.

There is a saying in Chinese, “He has a small gallbladder”, which refers to a person who is timid, shy, indecisive, anxious and wary. Yang Mound Spring is a wonderful point for strengthening the Mind and Spirit in this arena, supporting the person to be bold, confident and decisive in the world.

Gall Bladder 34 also supports the partner organ of Liver, treating nausea, vomiting, indigestion, jaundice and hepatitis. At the emotional level, it can move stagnant emotions which lodge in the Liver, such as depression, frustration, irritability, anger and confusion.

So if you want to maintain a flexible body and an adaptable mind this spring, treat yourself to a little Yang Mound Spring.

Location of Gall Bladder 34

GB34The point lies below the outside of the knee in a depression below (inferior) and in front of (anterior) to the head of the fibula. Slide your finger up the side of your lower leg until you find a bony prominence below the knee. Move one cun (body inch) diagonally forward and down until you feel a tender spot in the depression where the fibula meets the tibia. Hold for 2-3 minutes or until you feel the Qi move. Treat the left side, then the right.