Steady As She Goes

The recent heatwave in South Australia has left no doubt that summer is here. To kick off the season of Fire points, I’ve chosen one that, among its many functions, helps those who struggle with the heat.

Neiguan – Inner Frontier Gate – Heart Protector 6

Ship's captainNeiguan – Inner Frontier Gate is a significant point on the Heart Protector meridian and one of the most important of all the acu-points. Its hallmark is its capacity to bring steadiness to the bodymind. It steadies the heart, the circulation, the stomach, the mind and the emotions.

To begin with, Neiguan is one of the strongest points influencing the chest and the chest cavity. It is the luo-connecting point of the Heart Protector, connecting to its partner the Triple Heater. But this connection with the Triple Heater is not at the forearm where the point is located but in the chest. This point therefore exerts a profound influence over the Heart and Lungs and promotes the circulation of Qi and Blood in all three Burners.

Neiguan is also the master point of the Yin Wei Mai (Yin Linking Vessel) which connects all yin meridians and influences the chest and Heart. It treats chest pain, pain in the ribs, palpitations, arrhythmia and hypertension. It relaxes the coronary arteries and is known to have a general analgesic effect.

As an important Fire point, it regulates the Fire Element, balancing it whether it is raging out of control or burning too low. It is particularly known for heat conditions such as fevers, hot skin, cracked tongue and painful urination.

At the emotional level, the point has a steadying influence on the Heart, calming the spirit, clearing the brain, and brightening the mental outlook when joylessness has pervaded the Heart Protector. It treats a wide range of emotional disorders such as irritability, anxiety, depression, mania, fear, fright and sadness. By steadying the Heart and the shen, it treats insomnia.

As the name implies, Inner Frontier Gate integrates the inner and outer. It regulates the connection between the Heart and the outer world, facilitating communication between the two. The Heart Protector protects the Heart by closing when appropriate in hurtful situations and opening to connect emotionally in loving relationships. Nowhere is this function seen more clearly than at Inner Frontier Gate. When healthy, it is a gate that swings easily on its hinges.

Where there has been pain, shock, betrayal and trauma to the Heart, Neiguan has the capacity to heal old wounds. A person suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continually re-experiences the initial trauma, whether from physical accident, frightening situations, or physical or sexual abuse. All of these traumas are absorbed by the Heart Protector and can be treated at this point.

The other major area in which Neiguan’s steadying influence is felt, is the stomach. It is a significant point for the Stomach and the go-to point for nausea and vomiting due to its connection with the Triple Heater and the Lower Burner. The point steadies the Stomach by treating all kinds of nausea including seasickness or other motion sickness, morning sickness in pregnancy and nausea experienced during chemotherapy. Its effectiveness for nausea has been well documented as there have been more scientific studies of Neiguan than any other acu-point.

When you find that your heart, mind or stomach are all at sea, try holding Neiguan to steady your ship.



Location of Heart Protector 6


The point lies on the front of the forearm between the ulna and radius bones, 2 cun (approximately 3 fingers width) above the inner wrist crease. Use moderate, direct pressure.






This is an extract from John’s book ‘The Way of the Five Elements’ published by Singing Dragon Press and now available from discerning booksellers.

For a copy signed by the author, contact