Tag Archives: Tonify Qi

In the Flow

Fuliu – Returning Current – Kidney 7

Today, some hot-off-the-press content, an acupoint not included in my books.

FloodI woke this morning to find that yesterday was Adelaide’s wettest July day in 75 years. Water, water everywhere: puddles in the street, bulging dams, squelching lawns, the earth bloated with wetness. Even the air is filled with moisture, mist hanging in the trees. A perfect day to talk about a Water acupoint that is the master of fluid management.

One of the responsibilities of the Kidney Official is to keep the body fluids in balance. Fuliu Returning Current is a point that supports the Kidney in this task. When fluids are flooding the tissues, pooling in the low places and unable to be expelled from the body, this powerful Kidney point can serve.

Let’s look at some of the conditions that this point addresses.

Oedema is the accumulation of fluid in the body which causes tissues to become swollen. It occurs most commonly in the feet, ankles and lower legs. But it can also affect the brain, the eyes and lungs. Oedema can even occur throughout the body. Fuliu promotes the expelling of excess fluid in all these cases.

Urinary problems such as difficult urination, dark urine and blood in the urine can be treated with this point. Moreover, it controls other kinds of bleeding, from blood in the stool, from haemorrhoids, and uterine bleeding.

What we see is that K 7 brings balance to fluid flow, increasing flow where it is stagnant, and constricting flow where it is in excess. This can be observed in its capacity to bring balance whether there is excessive perspiration or lack of perspiration. It treats night sweats, spontaneous sweating, ceaseless sweating and fever with absence of sweating. Some people have a hard time working up a sweat, even with vigorous activity. This means that toxins normally expelled by perspiration are retained in the body. Returning Current can help rectify this dysfunction.

Not least of Fuliu’s talents is that of tonifying the Kidneys. It is the Metal point on a Water meridian, meaning that it draws Qi from the mother (Lung) to the son (Kidney). This process of tonification strengthens the Kidney Qi, so long as the Lung contains sufficient Qi to pass it on. This can be best ascertained from the pulse. If you don’t have access to this information, then I suggest you hold the source point K 3 at the same time. (Click here for article on K 3.) By using this combination, you will avoid draining the Lung since the source point neutralises an incorrect treatment.

When there is depletion, exhaustion, weakness from overtaxing the body and draining of one’s resources, Fuliu can help restore vitality. But use this point sparingly. Don’t use it as you might reach for a cup of coffee to jolt you into action. Conserve your resources during the remainder of the winter. Rest, recuperate and strengthen your Water within.

Location of Kidney 7

K 7


On the inside of the lower leg, in the hollow between the bone of the  tibia and the Achilles tendon, and 2 cun (body inches) above the inner ankle and K 3. Use moderate, direct pressure.

We Are One

cupcakeYou will be forgiven for  thinking that this is a post about the non-dual nature of reality and the truth that we are all continually arising out of the same fabric of the universe. Another time perhaps. No, this is something far more mundane: a celebration of the first anniversary of this blog. And while you are enjoying the celebratory cup cake, here is a point to help you metabolise the sugars.

I introduced Spleen 3 in the previous posting as a good grounding point after air travel. Here we explore more deeply into this very balancing Earth point.


Transport Yourself

Years ago when industrial strike action was common, there was nothing more paralysing than a transportation strike. Planes grounded, trains halted, ports closed, trucks idle. The transport of people and goods is vital to the functioning of a country and its economy.

In the human body, the job of moving things around falls to the Spleen official. Of all the organs, the Spleen is the most unlike its western namesake. In fact it can be regarded more like a network than an organ like the Liver. Think of a subway map with its network of criss-crossing lines. Spleen is like the Minister for Transport who keeps things moving.

The main function of the Spleen is to assist the Stomach in the transformation of food essences and to transport these throughout the body. It is also responsible for the movements of Qi and fluids. When the Spleen Qi is strong there will be good appetite, digestion and elimination. When it is weak, there may be poor digestion, bloating and loose stools.

Another function of the Spleen is to control ascending Qi, partnering the Stomach’s role of controlling descending Qi. One way this operates is that the Spleen sends food Qi upwards to the Lung to support its function of gathering Qi from the breath. It also sends food Qi upwards to the Heart to assist in forming Blood. In an overall way, the Spleen provides support and upward lift to the body.

One interpretation of the pathway of the Spleen meridian is that it is like a crutch under the armpit, supporting an upright stance. When Spleen Qi is weak, there is often fatigue and sagging as if this upright support has been lost. The state of the Spleen is one of the most important factors in determining the amount of energy a person has.

When the functions of transformation, transportation and ascendance of Qi are operating well, then thinking is clear and the thoughts are settled. When the Spleen official is taking a sick day, then the mind can become fuzzy and muddled, worried by repetitive and obsessive thoughts.

Disorders of the Spleen are common and Spleen Qi deficiency is one of the most common patterns seen in clinical acupuncture practice in western countries. Causes of this include stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, eating too much sugar, eating cold food, eating irregularly and worrying about what you eat. Looking at this list, it is easy to see how this has become a western malaise.

One of the strongest points for tonifying and revitalising the Spleen is its source point, Taibai – Supreme White. As the Earth point on an Earth meridian, it is tremendously supportive of the Element and particularly effective between the hours of 9 am and 11 am when the Spleen Qi is at its highest level during the day.

It activates and strengthens the Qi of both Spleen and Stomach, thereby treating many digestive disorders including abdominal pain and fullness, intestinal gurgling (borborygmus), constipation, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids. By encouraging the Qi to ascend, Taibai also treats lethargy, fatigue and feelings of heaviness in the body, especially of the limbs. It also treats pain of the knees and thighs along the pathways of Stomach and Spleen.

Taibai is a good point for resolving damp. The Spleen is particularly susceptible to external damp, such as humid weather or wearing wet clothes. But internal damp often arises when the Spleen is not functioning well. Many of the symptoms of Spleen imbalance are a result of this dampness in the body.

The Spleen is also injured by ongoing obsessive thoughts and excessive worry. In these cases, Taibai helps to recharge the brain and the thinking processes. It brightens up your ideas! Similarly, when thinking is fuzzy and mental activity is fraught, this point clarifies thinking and improves memory. It brings groundedness, stability and a sense of coming back to centre.

So if you feel like your inner transport minister has gone on strike, hold Taibai and get him back to work.

Location of Spleen 3 – see previous posting


Return to Centre

Heavenly pivot 2February marks the transition from summer to late summer in the southern hemisphere. Late summer, the harvest time, is the season of the Earth Element. Earth mediates the transition from summer to autumn, but it also makes an appearance between autumn and winter, winter and spring, and spring and summer. The reason Earth is matched with the Late Summer in particular is that this transition is most evocative of Earth’s qualities of fruition, abundance, nourishment and support.

We now turn our attention from Fire to Earth and to acu-points that are supportive of the Earth Element within you.

Stomach 25 – Tianshu – Heavenly Pivot

Tianshu is the name the Chinese gave to the star Dubhe which forms part of the Big Dipper (Plough) in the northern night sky. This star is used as a pointer to Polaris, the North Star, around which the heavens appear to pivot.

This notion of pivoting around a centre is apt for the acu-point Tianshu – Heavenly Pivot which lies at the level of the navel. The point points to the umbilicus, our energetic centre, the original connection to our mother who was the earthly source and centre of our world in childhood.

This characteristic of centrality is, well, central to the nature of the Earth Element. We see this expressed at all levels of its manifestation. At the physical level the organs of Stomach and Spleen are central to digestion and lie in the middle of the body. Emotionally, Earth wants to mediate and to connect others together. At a cosmic level it provides the pivotal point of balance between the heavens and the mundane world.

Physically, Tianshu is a highly effective point for stomach and intestinal disorders. Peter Deadman goes so far as to call it the single most important point for the treatment of the widest variety of intestinal disorders.

As the front-mu point of the Large Intestine, it treats conditions such as constipation and diarrhoea. At this meeting point, the functions of Stomach and Large Intestine intersect, harmonising the processes of digestion and elimination.

Tianshu also treats endometriosis, abdominal masses and menstrual disorders. And it ameliorates the lethargy and fatigue of Spleen Qi deficiency.

As the celestial pivot, it balances the yang of the upper body with the yin of the lower body. For those who are energetically top heavy, ungrounded and relatively absent from their legs and feet, this is a great grounding point. When there is a lot of repetitive, obsessive thought, this point helps to draw the focus away from the head. For those who are energetically bottom heavy, the point helps to raise the Spleen Qi, supporting vitality and activity.

Emotionally, Tianshu is a good point for emotional volatility and where there are big swings in mood and in energy levels. It treats a condition known in Chinese medicine as running piglet Qi where there is a sensation of agitation and tightness in the abdomen as if tiny piglets were running madly between navel and the throat. This condition is exacerbated by stress, sexual repression and unexpressed emotion. Therefore the point is used in psychosomatic problems when there is abdominal distress. Running piglet Qi is often a diagnosis for panic attack.

Another feature of the Earth Element is that it facilitates transitions and this point is especially helpful in supporting someone who is going through a life transition by helping to keep them stable and centred with a grounded connection to the earth.

When you feel that you have become ungrounded, uncentred, or have left yourself in some way, you can return to centre by focusing on this point of pivot which balances the celestial Qi with the earthly Qi. Become balanced between heaven and earth.

Location of Stomach 25

The point is located at the level of the navel and 2 cun lateral to it. It is halfway from the navel to the border of the rectus abdominus muscle. You can hold the points together or one at a time. Hold with sustained pressure and focus for 3 minutes and notice any changes that occur.