Tag Archives: Fear

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.

Eyes Turn Inward

Jingming – Bright Eyes – Bladder 1

Looking inwardWinter is here. While it might not feel like the deep of winter just yet, the seasonal calendar marks the start of winter as May 6th, the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. The ambient energy of the Element of any season is strongest at its beginning. Right now Water is in its flood. Time to catch the wave.

Winter and Water invite us to go within. Indeed the fundamental movement of the Water Element is inwards. This means turning our gaze from the outer to the inner. Of course most of us need to earn a living so we cannot totally retreat from the world and hibernate for three months. But if we are to live in accord with the seasons, our predominant focus during winter will be on our inner terrain.

The acupoint  Jingming – Bright Eyes, first point of the Bladder meridian, is one that can help us make this inward turn. Traditionally it is used for physical problems of the eyes and is very good for tired eyes, redness, pain, itching and excessive or deficient lacrimation of the tear ducts. It helps with blurred vision, visual dizziness, colour blindness, photophobia and near sightedness. And when eye problems are the result of an external pathogenic invasion, by cold, wind or heat, this point is ideal.

Jingming has an influence far beyond its role as a Bladder point. It is like Grand Central Station in that many other channels and vessels pass through it. It is a meeting point with Small Intestine, Stomach, Gall Bladder and Triple Heater meridians; it is also a point of the Yin and Yang Motility Vessels. And as the entry point of Bladder meridian, it receives Qi from the Small Intestine exit point SI 19. Therefore when we hold it, we are having an effect on many energetic pathways.

You have probably seen a person take off his glasses and place thumb and forefinger to the inner corners of the eyes as a way of soothing tired eyes. This is the body’s innate intelligence at work to touch points that are needed at the moment. And you may have noticed people adopt this same posture when going within to ponder a problem.

Which brings us back to the notion of the inner eyes, for it is here that the deeper power of the point can be mined. Jarrett refers to its capacity to ‘empower the accurate perception of truth’, suggesting we can turn our bright eyes to the conceptual level of seeing what it true. This requires inner reflection and examination, things that are profoundly supported by the deep yin of winter when there is less going on in the outer world to distract us.

The more we can plumb these inner depths, contemplate the fears, dark memories and traumas that have been secreted in our inner cupboards and hidey holes; and the more we can clarify and perceive what is true about our nature, the greater will be the strength and clarity of purpose and vision that will sprout with the spring.

 

Location of Bladder 1

BL 1

 

 

Medial (inside) and superior to (above) the inside corner of the eye. Use light pressure. The little finger is good for this point because of the proximity to the eye.

Where there is Will

When intent becomes permanent, we speak of Will. (Neijing)

As we traverse the last weeks of winter, let’s examine again the spirit of Water, Zhi, which is often translated as Will.

Weight lifterSeveral years ago I became quite ill and began working with a naturopath. She prescribed an apothecary of supplements for physical purification and strongly recommended a Vipassana retreat for spiritual purification.

For those who don’t know about Vipassana retreats, they are the black belt, hard-core, take-no-prisoners style of meditation retreats. For 10 days you don’t speak, don’t look anyone in the eye, eat only two meals a day, get up at 4 am and go to bed after 9, meditate for 10 hours a day, often without moving a muscle for an hour at a time. What is more, I did my retreat at the winter solstice in Melbourne where the temperature fell below freezing at night.

I thought at the time that this was the hardest thing I’d ever done. It required tremendous willpower and effort to stay the course and not leave after even the first day. Every day, every hour, required me to continually rededicate myself to the practice.

When I was released from prison on the tenth day, I felt a tremendous sense of freedom and great satisfaction at having stayed the course. Unexpectedly, I found that I had much more will. I found I could sit at my desk and write for hours without the usual restlessness. I was able to complete tasks that I would normally put off or do in stages. Somatically, I felt a weighty presence in my belly centre, a bowling ball of will that kept me centred and stable.

These qualities of determination, steadfastness, resilience and power were developed by the initial application of effort, but after a time, the effort was transformed into will. Willpower became true will. Like bending your back to crank the engine until it sparks into life and runs on its own.

These are all resonances of the Water Element, the gifts of Zhi. Here are some suggestions for cultivating Zhi:

  • Do something you’ve never done before
  • Do something for five minutes longer when you’d rather stop
  • Do something very slowly
  • Do something no one would expect you to do
  • Postpone an action you want to do
  • Do something now that you’d prefer to postpone
  • Do a practice every day for a month

For some support in your cultivation of will, hold the acupoint Bladder 52- Zhishi– Residence of the Will which we’ve looked at previously. This point promotes endurance, helps to resolve fear (the emotion of Water), strengthens will, and restores essence (jing). For those who are driven, it softens hard willpower and supports true will.

Ultimately, true will is the will of true nature. As we align our personal will with the will of the universe, all efforting drops away and doing simply happens.

Location of Bladder 52

2.20

 

On the back at the level of the junction of the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae and 3 cun (four fingers width) lateral to the spine. It is approximately at the same level as the navel.