Category Archives: Achilles tendon

Restoring Flow

Kidney 5 – Shuiquan – Water Spring

Our cold, wet winter continues in South Australia. And because of Covid outbreaks, our government has kindly given us a chance to explore the depth of Water more deeply by sending us into a 7-day lockdown.

Meanwhile, the recent heavy rains have left my back garden sodden, serendipitously evocative of the Kidney point we are exploring today.

Kidney 5 – Shuiquan – Water Spring is one of a loop of points from KI 3 to KI 6 that lie like a billabong behind and below the inner ankle bone. A bit like my garden at the moment. These are all important points, KI 3 the yuan-source point, KI 4 the luo-connecting point, KI 5 the xi-cleft point and KI 6 the master point of the Extraordinary Vessel Yin Qiao Mai.

As we saw in the previous post on its partner point Bladder 63, the xi-cleft points of the yin meridians are used to clear disorders of the Blood as well as to treat acute conditions of the organs.

There is close connection between the Kidneys, uterus, Blood and menstruation. Given this and the fact that the yin xi-cleft points are known for treating Blood disorders, Kidney 5 is an excellent choice for treating all menstrual problems. These include irregular or delayed menstruation, amenorrhoea (absence of menstruation) and dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation). Shuiquan is also known for treating abdominal pain, infertility, uterine prolapse and cystitis. It does all of these things by promoting movement of Qi and Blood in the lower burner and harmonising the Conception Vessel (Ren Mai) and Penetrating Vessel (Chong Mai).

Water Spring, as the name suggests, promotes the smooth flow of water. It is therefore used for treating conditions of the urinary system including painful, frequent, difficult and dribbling urination.

Kidney 5 has the capacity to purify the nature of the Water Element. It can be considered as a secondary source point, cleansing and refurbishing the Water in a similar way to the source point’s (KI 3) function of restoring us to original Qi.

It thereby brings a fresh perspective. Water Spring restores, refreshes and brings new vigour to all levels of the body, mind and spirit.

In cases where fear and depression are both present, this point is called for. Use when a person is frozen in place, rooted to the spot, afraid to even go outdoors, can’t budge from where they are out of fear of moving forward. For people who have created a prison round themselves, this point utilises the immense power of Water to smash through the prison walls, enabling the Water to flow freely once more and allowing the person to access the full depth of their potential.

Location of Kidney 5

First locate Kidney 3 (white dot), immediately posterior to the high point of the inner ankle bone, in the deep hollow between the tibia bone and the Achilles tendon. KI 5 (blue dot) is one cun directly below (inferior to) KI 3, in a depression above (superior to) the insertion of the Achilles tendon.

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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.