Neck Release

Fengchi – Wind Pond – Gall Bladder 20

3.7I spend more time holding this point on my clients than any other and I use it in most sessions. This is partly because in my early training I learned a neck release that concluded with this point. In doing thousands of neck releases over the years, I have come to see how helpful it is for most people to have the upper cervical region released. Most people relax, some even fall asleep with this point. It is a great boon in our modern, stress-filled world.

What makes this such a significant point is that it is not only a Gall Bladder point, but also a meeting point with the Triple Heater meridian, Yang Motility Vessel and Yang Linking Vessel. By affecting two meridians and two vessels at the same time, this point has wide-ranging effects.

Its name Fengchi – Wind Pond tells us two things. Firstly it is like a pond or pool, lying as it does in the little hollow between the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid attachments at the occipital bone. Treating this point releases tension in these two important muscles of the neck, taking pressure off the cervical spine

Secondly, we learn that it is a pond that accumulates wind, the climatic condition of the Wood Element. Wind can penetrate the body from the outside as a pathogenic factor, collecting here before invading the body more deeply. This includes strong winds in nature but also draughts, especially from air conditioning. The most common symptoms of wind invasion are stiff neck and headache, but it can also cause sneezing, runny nose, scratchy throat, fever, aching joints and facial paralysis. Fengchi treats these symptoms by driving out the wind from the place where it entered.

Wind can also develop internally as a result of disharmony in the Liver, producing symptoms such as tremors, tics, convulsions, severe dizziness and numbness. Fengchi also treats these conditions

More generally, it is perhaps the best point for clearing the head because of its effect on the sensory orifices, especially the eyes. It treats vision and eye disorders, dizziness, vertigo, deafness, tinnitus and sinusitis. It relieves pain in the head, neck and shoulders, particularly occipital headache.

The head is said to be the residence of the yang. Because GB 20 is a point of the Yang Linking Vessel which unites all six yang meridians and the Governing Vessel, it has a profound influence on rising yang. It causes any pathological Qi to descend and is therefore the preeminent point for headaches of all kinds and dizziness of any origin.

It has a powerful effect on the brain, bringing clarity to the eye and mind and enabling a clearer view of the world. It clears confusion, strengthens concentration, aids memory and supports the making of good judgements and decisions. If you can’t see the wood for the trees, Wind Pond will help to broaden your perspective.

Location of Gall Bladder 20

3.8Below the occiput (the ridge at the back of the skull) and midway between the midline and the mastoid process. The point lies in the hollow formed by the origins of the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles, approximately 1.5 cun lateral the occipital hollow (GV 16). Apply direct pressure or angle towards the opposite eye. An effective method is to cradle the person’s head in your hands and apply pressure with the middle fingers to both points simultaneously. This has the effect of applying a gentle stretch to the neck and has a relaxing effect upon the whole spine.




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. (48  days to go!)