Huantiao – Jumping Circle – Gall Bladder 30
I love the name of this point. Huantiao – Jumping Circle conjures images of ultra-flexible dancers leaping nimbly, twisting spectacularly in mid-air and landing with grace. It suggests strength, stamina, flexibility and a vigorous engagement with life. It is the very model of healthy Wood.
As a bodyworker, I find this point indispensible in treating hip pain and stiffness, and especially sciatica. It influences not only the hip but also the whole of the leg. For example it treats knee stiffness where flexion and extension of the knee are limited. It addresses thigh pain, numbness in the leg, and promotes circulation of blood throughout the lower limb. Furthermore, it treats pain in the lumbar region as well as the sides of the ribs, which lie along the pathway of Gall Bladder meridian.
It is the go-to point for sciatica, a condition that produces pain through the buttock and down the back of the leg. Sciatica is caused most commonly by a herniated (bulging) disc pressing on the sciatic nerve as it emanates from the spine. Nerve entrapment can also be caused by spinal bone spurs and displaced lumbar vertebrae. Sciatica can also result from a tight piriformis muscle pressing on the nerve as it passes through the buttock. Huantiao treats sciatica arising for any of these situations.
Ma Danyang, the 12th century Taoist luminary, included this point in his now famous Eleven Points Shining Bright as the Starry Sky, indicating its use for ‘pain in the leg from hip to calf and repeated sighing in grief when turning’. Today practitioners regard it as unrivalled in importance for the treatment of disorders of the hip joint and buttock, whether from traumatic injury or stagnation of Qi. It strengthens all of the tendons and ligaments, the tissues of the Wood Element.
Huantiao is also a meeting point with the Bladder meridian, meaning that its effects can be felt along the pathway of Bladder channel as well as Gall Bladder. Thus it can treat pain in the low back through which the Bladder meridian passes.
Besides these structural effects on the body, Huantiao also eliminates wind, cold and damp heat, making it effective in treating skin rashes in the lower body, itchy anus and groin, urethritis and vaginal discharge. In a systemic way, it tonifies Qi.
Wood likes to move. When our Wood is balanced, the sinews of the body are supple, bestowing ease of movement. Our legs take us where we will. We are free to roam through life as the clouds wander the skies. Huantiao grants us this range of motion.
Location of Gall Bladder 30
When a person squats down in preparation for a jump, a semi circular depression appears at this point. This hollow is located two thirds of the distance from the sacral hiatus (bottom of the sacrum) to the tip of the greater trochanter of the femur (hip bone). It is found most easily with the person lying on their side with the leg bent. Apply firm, direct pressure.
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. Australian readers can now get a 15% discount with Aussie distributor Footprint Books by using the code KIRK15.