Tag Archives: Metal Element

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.

 

 

 

The Spirit of Metal

As autumn enters its final weeks, we examine one of the most powerful points of  Metal, one which reaches into the very spirit of the Element.

Pohu ~ Soul Door ~ Bladder 42

6.19Po is the spirit of the Metal Element. Its character has two parts. The left part is the character for white, which is the colour of the Metal Element. The right part is the character for ghost or earthbound spirit. Po is therefore the spirit which is tied to the earth and the mundane.

The po is the corporeal soul (sometimes translated as animal soul) which enters the body at conception. In the first months after birth, the baby’s whole life revolves around this corporeal soul as it forms the foundation of a healthy body for the life to come. Of the five spirits, it is the only one that disappears when we die. As soon as the lungs exhale for the last time and the body dies, the po exits through the anus and descends to join the earth from which it originated.

During life, the po is utterly tied to the physical body and to time and space. Like animal instinct, it is concerned with immediate reactions to what is happening in each moment. It is about the here and the now. This instinctual part of us lives on its senses, alert to all sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. It is our animal nature.

The po is paired with the hun, the ethereal soul which is the spirit of the Wood Element. While the hun roams the realm between the earth and the heavens, the po provides a counterpoint as the most physical and material part of the human soul. It could be said to be the somatic manifestation of the soul. It provides for clear and sharp sensations and movements and is involved in all physiological processes. Of all these processes it is especially connected to breathing which is its special province. In fact the po resides in the lungs and is particularly affected by sadness and grief which restrict its movement. Constricted breathing, holding of the breath and shallow breathing are all injurious to the Lung and to the po.

While the emotion of grief is the one most closely associated with the po, all emotions are ruled by it. It consists of the seven emotions (fear, anxiety, anger, joy, sorrow, worry and grief) which Jarrett neatly describes as the primal urges that facilitate the grasping of life.

Another function of the po is to anchor the heavenly aspect of our human nature within the density of the body. It may seem something of a paradox that the spirit which relates so much to our instinctual, animal side, is also paramount in connecting us to our spiritual nature. The po is concerned with balancing these aspects of our humanness, supporting us as beings of spirit who inhabit the bodies of animals.

Imbalance in the po produces a marked disparity between the heavenly and earthly aspects of human life. On the one hand there can be an obsessive attachment to material things and the accumulation of possessions, money and fame to the detriment of things spiritual. On the other hand a person may have his head in the clouds and be unable or unwilling to navigate the ordinary world of human existence. There may even be a withdrawal from the world in order to focus on the spiritual search.

Other possible outcomes of po imbalance are ongoing physical pain with no identifiable cause, migrating pain, extreme sensitivity to outside psychic influences and chronic health problems associated with emotions that are stuck.

A point that profoundly contacts and balances the po is the outer shu point of Lung, Pohu – Soul Door, sometimes translated as Door of the Corporeal Soul. It is a point that helps to resolve the spirit/animal paradox. It can access the spirit of Metal at a very deep level and serve to reconnect us with what we value in her life, with the preciousness of life itself and with our authentic being or essence. Moreover it supports us in valuing our essential spiritual nature.

All the longings that we feel are ultimately a desire to be reconnected with spirit, whether or not we are conscious of the underlying nature of our longing. Pohu supports reconnection with spirit, and thus can treat all feelings of longing and desire for spirit.

These attributes of Pohu are particularly helpful in supporting people in their quest to find spiritual meaning in life on Earth. Where depression, long-term sadness, resignation or lack of inspiration derive from loss of contact with spirit, this soul door offers support.

Location of Bladder 42

6.20

 

The outer shu point of the Lung, Pohu is located in the upper back, 3 cun lateral to the junction of T3 and T4. The point lies at the medial border of the scapula.

 

 

This is an extract from my book The Way of the Five Elements. This and its companion volume The Way of the Five Seasons, are now available for purchase. Singing Dragon Press.

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Point of the Shoulder

Last weekend I finished teaching a Level 1 Acupressure class which includes a highly effective neck and shoulder treatment. A point not included in that treatment is a point on the corner of the shoulder which students would do well to include when treating the shoulder.

Jianyu ~ Shoulder Bone ~ Large Intestine 15

6.13The scapula or shoulder blade is a bone that is attached to the rest of the skeleton by one small joint at the point of the shoulder. This is the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. Since this is the only place at which the scapula articulates with the skeleton, a great deal of stress can be placed on this joint.

Otherwise the scapula is held in place by the 17 muscles that attach to it, connecting it to the arm, chest, ribs, spine and neck in various ways. Given that we all have unique ways of holding and moving our upper body, the positioning of the scapula shows incredibly wide variations among people.

The acu-point that is very close to the AC joint is Jianyu – Shoulder Bone on the Large Intestine meridian. John Cross (2006) calls this the shoulder chakra, a minor chakra or energy vortex that influences the whole of the shoulder region. It is a powerful point for congestion in the shoulder, since most shoulder problems affect this place where the shoulder meets the arm.

Peter Deadman (2007) hails it as the preeminent point for treating the shoulder, for it treats paralysis of the arm, shoulder and hand, atrophy of the arm and upper body, arthritis and bursitis of the shoulder, and the chronic condition known as frozen shoulder. It benefits when there is an inability to raise the arm to the head, or to turn the head. Overall it promotes the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the upper arm.

What makes this such a potent point is that, like another important shoulder point SI 10, LI 15 is a meeting point with the Extraordinary Vessel Yang Qiao Mai (Yang Motility Vessel) whose trajectory includes the sides of the body from ankle to shoulder, as well as the neck, face and head. Because of this, Jianyu releases energy to the brain, provides mental clarity, and is good for mental exhaustion and headaches. It works well in conjunction with BL 62 which is the master point of the Yang Motility Vessel.

The point also treats windstroke and clears heat, thereby relieving skin rashes including hives (for which it is best combined with LI 4 and LI 11) and for treating toothache and hypertension. It can control sweating, including underarm perspiration. And it is available as a first aid point for concussion, shock and electric shock.

In short, Jianyu helps the shoulder to let go, which reminds us that letting go is one of the functions of the Large Intestine official. Most shoulder tension arises not simply from usage, but from solidified emotional patterns. We hold ourselves in ways that somatically replicate our inner state. Letting go in the shoulder involves letting go of the emotions, ideas and beliefs that dictate our posture and which are no longer of value in our lives.

Location of Large Intestine 15

6.14

 

If you bend your elbow and raise your arm to shoulder height, two hollows appear at the point of the shoulder. LI 15 lies is the anterior (front) hollow. Once located, lower the arm and apply moderate, direct pressure.

 

This is an extract from my first book ‘The Way of the Five Elements’ which focuses on acupoints as a vehicle for healing. My second book ‘The Way of the Five Seasons’ explores many other ways we can heal through the Five Element model. Both books, published by Singing Dragon Press, are available now.

For signed copies at A$40 + postage, contact me directly.

Book Depository is a good place to buy online.

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