Tag Archives: constipation

Holding Jet Lag at Bay

A forthcoming trip to the northern hemisphere has put me in mind of the acupressure treatment for jet lag.

Long haul jet travel has a profound effect on the daily rhythm of the body’s Qi by switching time zones very quickly. Symptoms of the condition include fatigue, insomnia, disrupted sleep and digestion, constipation or diarrhoea, and general malaise. It can take up to a day to recover for each time zone crossed, so a trip from Sydney to London can take a week or more to adjust. Eastward travel is more challenging to the body than westward.

There is an acupressure treatment protocol that can help you adjust to local time more quickly and avoid some of the more difficult symptoms of jet lag. It is not a simple one-point treatment but requires you to hold points every two hours throughout your journey. But the efforts will pay off.

The treatment protocol is based on the Chinese Clock which shows the movement of the tide of Qi through the 12 meridians over a 24 hour period. While there is Qi moving through all the meridians at all times, there is a high tide that moves around the meridian system. Disruptions to flow in a meridian can produce symptoms and conditions that relate to that meridian.

When we change time zones quickly, this diurnal rhythm is thrown out and takes time to adjust. But we can speed up the adjustment by holding the Element of the Element points of each meridian in turn. These are also known as the Horary points. These points encourage the Qi tide to change as we travel, and we arrive at our destination more in sync with local time.

How to treat yourself

When you are in the departure lounge waiting for your flight, set a clock to the time at your destination. I suggest you use a 24 hour clock otherwise you may become confused. If the country where you are going to has daylight saving, take this off as we need to set the clock to local sun time. For the duration of your flight, you will hold the Horary point of the meridian whose time shows on your destination clock, first on the left side of the body, then on the right for 2 to 3 minutes.

The Chinese Clock

 For a great chart with pictures of point locations, created by Mary Golob, click here.
For those who have good anatomical knowledge, here are more precise descriptions of the locations.

Time at destination Point Location
3 – 5 am LU 8 1 cun proximal to the wrist  in depression at base of styloid process
5 – 7 am LI 1 0.1 cun from the radial corner of nailbed of index finger
7 – 9 am ST 36 3 cun below the patella and a finger width lateral to crest of tibia
9 – 11 am SP 3 Medial side of foot proximal to head of first metatarsal
11am –1pm HE 8 On palm where little finger rests when a fist is made
1 – 3 pm SI 5 Ulnar side of wrist in depression between ulna and triquetral bone
3 – 5 pm BL 66 Lateral side of foot at the base of the little toe
5 – 7 pm KI 10 Medial end of popliteal crease between tendons; locate flexed
7 – 9 pm HP 8 On palm where middle finger rests when a fist is made
9 – 11 pm TH 6 3 cun proximal to the wrist between ulna and radius
11pm-1am GB 41 Dorsum of foot at the junction of 4th & 5th metatarsals
1 – 3 am LV 1 0.1 cun from the medial corner of nailbed of big toe

Let’s say you are leaving Sydney at 10 pm and flying to London which is 10 time zones earlier. Set your clock to 12 Noon. This lies in the Heart section of the Chinese Clock, therefore you hold Heart 8 in the palms of your hands. You need to hold the points at least once during the two hour period, and more will be helpful.

Keeping an eye on the London clock, somewhere between 1 pm and 3pm, hold the Small Intestine Horary points, SI 5. Proceed around the clock, holding the relevant points every two hours until you arrive at your destination. Ideally you should continue holding points for 24 hours after you arrive, but since you’ll be sleeping some of that time, it’s ok to miss some.

Feel free to let me know how it goes for you. Safe and healthy travels!

In the Flow

Pangguangshu – Bladder Shu – Bladder 28

River FlowWinter usually brings a wave of Water related conditions and issues into the  treatment room. As the high tide of the year moves through the Water Element, it puts pressure on any existing imbalances in Water. This can include lower back pain and stiffness, cold invading the body, urinary system dysfunction, problems with the bladder, kidneys, ears and bones, fears and phobias, and reduced perseverance.

As we age, the lifelong decline in our Kidney Qi begins to affect all of these resonances of the Water Element. And the cold of the winter creates added pressure on our declining resources. This inspires some to migrate to warmer climate zones such as Queensland.

An acupoint that offers support for conditions of the waterworks is Pangguangshu, Bladder 28. This is the shu point of Bladder and treats that organ directly. The shu points are particularly useful in treating chronic conditions, those that have become entrenched for some time.

Bladder shu is used to treat difficult, painful, hesitant and frequent urination. These symptoms are associated with an enlarged prostate, and so the point is very helpful for treating the prostate conditions which afflict many older men. It is also used to treat cystitis which is an inflammation of the urinary tract, usually caused by infection. The effect of Pangguangshu also extends to the genitals, treating such conditions as swelling, pain or itching of the external genitals.

Bladder 28 is also useful in treating lower back pain as well as pain or stiffness in the sacrum, coccyx and buttocks. It has an influence over the Kidneys and can be used in combination with the Kidney shu point, Bladder 23. (See article here.) Because of its influence over the lower burner, it can be used to treat lower abdominal pain and fullness, and constipation caused by Qi stagnation.

At the psycho-emotional level, stagnation in the Bladder expresses as difficulty managing one’s resources and reserves. This can produce a sense of urgency and anxiety about life, leading to a tendency to use effort and willpower to push through obstacles in the way. There is an apt expression for this, ‘pushing the river’, which suggests using draining effort rather than going with the flow.

Zhi is the spirit of Water. It is often translated as will. When our Water Element is in balance and harmony, the power that fuels action arises naturally and spontaneously from true will that is not dependent on a pushing, urgent, straining effort. Pangguangshu can help to keep us in the flow.

Location of Bladder 28

BL 28


The point is 1.5 cun lateral to the midline at the level of the second sacral foramen (hollow). Find the top of the sacrum and go two fingers width below this and two fingers width lateral to find the point.

Letting go … some more

Shangyang ~ Large Intestine 1

autumn let goIn The Way of the Five Seasons I told the story of an autumnal accident with a knife, slicing through Large Intestine channel, and the subsequent investigation into what letting go was needed. Recently, close to the fifth anniversary of that deep cut, I had another little reminder that perhaps more letting go is called for. This time I was opening a packet on the kitchen counter. The bag opened suddenly and my hand went flying, connecting with a knife. Same knife. Same finger. But this time just a nick, right by the acupoint Shangyang, Large Intestine 1.

In contemplating the process of letting go of that which no longer serves, I realised I had been thinking about a difficult friendship when the little accident happened. Relationships are the crucible in which our deepest issues can be worked out, understood and transformed. But sometimes one has to consider whether the understanding is worth the pain and struggle.

The organ of Large Intestine serves to carry away the waste products of digestion. Daily, we let go of the crap that, if held in, would become toxic. Another of this organ’s functions is to reclaim and recycle water and minerals. It holds on to that which is of value to us. When the Large Intestine is healthy, there is appropriate holding on and appropriate letting go.

Sometimes relationships outlive their value. It is common for humans to stay in relationships longer than is good for them, out of fear, duty or habit. It is no easy thing to decide, should I stay or should I go?

Shangyang is a point that can support Metal’s power to discriminate, to cut to the chase and see what is of value and what is not. This is the editor’s gift of paring away the superfluous, the sculptor’s talent to reveal the artwork in the block of stone. Shangyang is the Metal point on a Metal meridian and can give the Element a good shake out. It purifies the spirit, helps us to let go of the mundane. One of the translations of Shangyang is Little Merchant. A successful merchant knows the value of goods, so does not let things go for a low price. But he also knows when to have a clearance sale to make way for new stock.

Points such as this where the Element of the point also corresponds to the Element of the meridian is known as a horary point. When held in the corresponding season its power is increased. When held at the corresponding time of day, its power is further strengthened. Shangyang will deeply support Metal when used between 5 am and 7 am each day during the autumn. This will support appropriate letting go. It will also help to avoid “accidents” that get your attention.

Location of Large Intestine 1

LI 1



On the radial side of the bed of the nail of the second (index) finger. Square off the curve of the nail to find the point.