Category Archives: Pain Relief

Outer Mound

Gall Bladder 36 ~ Waiqiu ~ Outer Mound

Here in the Adelaide Hills spring is waiting impatiently in the wings, itching to leap into action. After our long, cold, wet winter, South Australians too are ready. Last week the maximum temperature was 11 degrees at my place. This week it’s predicted to jump to 30. That’s spring for you. Sudden growth and movement.

Last week my body told me it was spring when my gall bladder decided to complain forcefully about the chocolate brownie I ate, something I know is not good for me. The thing about spring is that its rising Wood energy puts pressure on any aspect of Wood that is out of balance, whether that is the organs of liver and gall bladder, the tendons and ligaments, the eyes, the emotion of anger or any of the other resonances of that Element.

The Gall Bladder point we are examining today is perfect for acute conditions of the gall bladder organ. Very timely for me. Once again, I am offered an opportunity to live the writing.

Gall Bladder 36 is the xi-cleft point of the channel. As we saw when we looked at Bladder 63, the xi-cleft points of the yang meridians are used for acute conditions and for pain. They are also used to address the emotion associated with the channel when the emotion has become overwhelming.

The name Outer Mound refers to the location of the point at the outside of the mound of muscle that is the calf. There are other mounds on the Gall Bladder channel in the leg: Yang Mound Spring (GB 34) and Mound of Ruins (GB 40). Outer Mound makes me think of the pitcher’s mound in baseball, a raised place which offers a good view of the batter and from where the pitcher can throw fast and direct. All of these are qualities which echo Wood’s resonances. As far as I know the ancient Chinese weren’t into baseball, but I thought I’d offer this whimsical, modern interpretation.

The point can be used to treat acute conditions of the organ of gall bladder, like the sudden spasms and nausea that can accompany a gall bladder attack. But it is best known for its effectiveness in treating pain along the channel pathway. The Gall Bladder pathway is the most complicated of all of the meridians as it zig-zags its way down the body, starting at the outside corner of the eye, crossing over the head twice and around the ears before passing through the neck and shoulders, down the sides of the ribcage, passing through the front and back of the pelvis, before straightening out down the side of the leg and ending at the fourth toe. The wandering nature of the pathway means that pain in many otherwise unrelated locations could offer a unified picture of imbalance. Of all of these places along the pathway, Gall Bladder 36 is particularly known for treating neck pain and stiffness.

Another of the point’s uses is in relaxing the sinews, the tendons and ligaments, and tissue of the Wood Element. In addition, it treats invasion of Wind, the climate resonance of Wood. Symptoms of Wind include occipital headaches and neck pain, jerky or shaky conditions such as restless legs, migratory pain, or an intense aversion to being outside in windy conditions. Gall Bladder 36 is also known for treating skin conditions and clearing toxins due to its capacity to clear heat from the body.

At the emotional level, Gall Bladder is associated with anger which can turn into judgement of others or just as easily, into anger at oneself as self-attack. A healthy Gall Bladder official is able to see the big picture clearly, make sound decisions, and move swiftly to action. Stagnation in this official often leads to lack of clarity, poor judgements, hesitation and vacillation. Waiqiu can support the clarity of mind that is needed to act wisely in the world.

If the rising energy of Spring is causing some niggling problems in your liver or gall bladder organs; if it is causing irritability or frustration, making you short-tempered and swift to judge others; or if you are having trouble making decisions and seeing clearly how to move ahead with your plans, Waiqiu can support you with clarity and ease of movement.

Location of Gall Bladder 36

The point is located on the outside of the lower leg. It is 7 cun above (superior to) the tip of the outer ankle bone, and lies at the anterior border of the fibula in the cleft between the fibula and tibia.

Begin by finding the midpoint between the knee crease and the outer ankle bone. Go down (inferior) by 1 cun (body inch) and at that level, first find the back of the fibula bone, then roll forward (anterior) until you feel the cleft between the bones.

Deep Resources

Winter is here in South Australia with some frosts and very cold nights. And I’m peeing more. Sorry to be so personal, but it happens to most of us in the winter. Turns out that because we sweat less in cold weather, the body has to find alternative ways of disposing of fluids. It does that by sending more fluid to the kidneys to be processed which is then passed on to the bladder to be peed out.

People who already have issues of the urinary system are more challenged in the winter because of the effect of the cold. This aligns with the Chinese medicine view of Cold as an external pathogen that enters the body and affects the organs of the Water Element, namely the Bladder and Kidneys.

Last time I foreshadowed that I would be examining the xi-cleft points (also known as the accumulation points) in the coming year, each of them in its related season. First out of the blocks is the xi-cleft point of the Bladder meridian, the yang organ of the Water Element. Remember, these points are known best for treating acute conditions and for pain.

Bladder 63 ~ Jinmen ~ Golden Gate

One of the conditions I frequently encounter in clinic, especially in my older clients, is muscle cramping in the backs of the legs, in the hamstrings or calves. Bladder 63 addresses this given that it treats acute pain along the channel. The Bladder channel has a very long pathway of 67 points, starting at the eyes, moving over the top of the head, down the back of the neck, all the way down the back parallel to the spine, through the sacrum and buttocks, then down the back of the leg through the hamstrings and calves before slipping sideways in the lower leg, under the outer ankle bone, and along the side of the foot to the little toe.

Given the length of the pathway, there are plenty of places where acute pain can arise and be treated with this point. It is particularly well known for treating pain in the low back, knees, legs and ankles.

One interesting note in the classics is that it treats White Tiger joint disease which is said to produce pain like a tiger gnawing on one’s toes. Thankfully, I’ve never encountered a tiger in this way, but it certainly sounds excruciating. We now know that this was the ancient name for gout, and was associated with an attack of pathogenic Wind, Cold, Damp or Heat, producing pain and heaviness in muscles and tendons, and constriction in the joints.

The xi-cleft points tend to have a direct effect on acute conditions of their corresponding organs. This point has a less powerful effect on the Bladder than other xi-cleft points do, but it can be used to treat urinary issues including difficult or painful urination. It regulates the flow of water in the body.

The point also pacifies Wind, thereby treating shaking conditions such as shivering, epilepsy and malaria.

Some modern sources recommend the xi-cleft points in cases where the associated emotion has become overwhelming. In this case it is the emotion of fear. When we are overwhelmed with responsibilities and fearful that we don’t have enough in reserve to cope, Golden Gate can be opened to gain access to the resources of Water. When we are frozen with fear, Bladder 63 supports us to let go and to surrender into the flow of our life.

These psycho-emotional connotations of Jinmen are reinforced by the fact that it is an important point of the Yang Wei Mai or Yang Linking Vessel, one of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels. Yang Wei is related to issues of moving forward in the world, using the resources of the Du Mai or Governor Vessel to take action in life. It relates to how we manage emotion to become effective social beings. And it is about how we individuate to become our unique expression of True Nature in the world.

Golden Gate is indeed a doorway to our inner riches.

Location of Bladder 63

The point is located on the side of the foot in a depression of the cuboid bone, posterior to the tuberosity of the 5th metatarsal. Slide your finger up the side of the foot from the little toe until you find the large bump in the middle of the foot. Go over that to the other side and up a little until your finger fits into a small hollow. Hold for about 3 minutes on each foot.