Category Archives: Headache

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.

WinterSpring

I love words. I love playing with them and I love to explore their origins or etymologies. So when it came to writing once again about the season of Spring, which is beginning to burst around us in the southern hemisphere, I became curious about the origins of the word. The French word for spring is printemps which derives from Latin and means first time. Italians and Spanish call it primavera, meaning first spring, derived from the Latin primus ver. Germans use the word frühling meaning earlyness. All of these words are based on the view that spring is the first season of the year, a new beginning, a birth.

In medieval England the season was called Lent, the same as the Christian observance of the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. Yet the word Lent is itself a shortened form of the Old English word lencten meaning spring season. It wasn’t until the 14th century that it began to be referred to as “springing time”, a reference to plants springing up from the soil. In the 15th century this became shortened to springtime and later simply spring. The word spring, both as a verb and a noun, is very descriptive of the conditions in nature in this first season of the year. It can refer to movements such as jumping, bounding and moving rapidly. It can also mean to originate as in where did you spring from? The bubbling up of water from the ground is a spring, and things can spring a leak. A coiled wire that powers mechanical devices is also a spring. All of these connotations evoke uprising power and movement.

These characteristics are the same as the resonances of Wood which is the Element of the spring season. Which brings us to the Chinese word for spring, chūn 春.

The Chinese language doesn’t have the same kind of etymology as the Indo-European languages but we can examine the nuances within the strokes of the character itself. The lower part of the character is the radical 日 which represents the sun, something that is vital for the photosynthesis that fuels plant growth. The upper portion chūn looks like sprouts growing into plants. The interpretation of the character is that spring is the season of increasing sunshine which makes crops grow.

Let’s take our word study further and look at some acupoint names that are imbued with these Woody characteristics. One of the most important qualities of the Wood Element is that it loves to move. Movement is inherent to it.

GB 9 Heavenly Rushing
GB 30 Jumping Circle
GB 34 Yang Mound Spring
LV 2 Moving Between
LV 3 Great Rushing

I’ve chosen points of the Gall Bladder and Liver channels which are those of the Wood Element. At this time of year when the deep, quiet energies of the Water Element are transitioning to the rapid upward-moving energies of the Wood Element, things can be a bit jerky. This might show up as strained tendons and ligaments in the body. Or it could be that you can’t get motivated and feel like you’re spinning your wheels. It might also emerge at the emotional level as frustration and even anger. Many people find they are more easily irritated in springtime, especially at the beginning when the energies of the new season first appear. Let’s look briefly at five points whose names imply movement and which can help to smooth the transition between winter and spring.

Gall Bladder 9 – Tianchong – Heavenly Rushing

Rising Wood energy can sometimes feel like a rush to the head which can produce headaches and visual distortions. Gall Bladder 9, located in a depression 1 cun above and 0.5 cun behind the apex of the ear can be useful in treating imbalances between the head and the body. It can encourage the excess Wood energy in the head to descend into the body.

Gall Bladder 30 – Huantiao – Jumping Circle

When this point in the hips is open, it allows for freedom of movement and provides the capacity to jump into action. If you have pelvic constriction, difficulty turning the body from side to side, or suffer from sciatica, Jumping Circle can be useful. Or if you are challenged in moving forward, this point can be helpful in taking that first step. You can read a fuller description of this point in an earlier article.

Gall Bladder 34 – Yanglingquan -Yang Mound Spring

This point at the knee is known as a master point for the tendons and ligaments which connect muscles and bones to produce movement. Yang Mound Spring treats tight tendons and ligament strains, or alternatively loose connective tissue that causes joints to slide out of alignment. As the Earth point on a Wood meridian, it helps us to move from a grounded place. See more on the point in this previous blogpost.

Liver 2 – Xingjian – Moving Between

Xingjian lies in the webbing between the first and second toes and the big toe plays a significant role in walking, implying that this point is a big mover. More than that, it is the Fire point of Liver which moves Qi from Wood to Fire, thereby sedating Liver when it is in excess. When Liver Qi is rising rapidly up the body it can produce symptoms in the head such as headaches, dizziness, dry eyes and throat, as well as difficulty breathing, and genital and menstrual disorders. Liver 2 smooths uncontrolled Liver Qi. See more on this point here.

Liver 3 – Taichong – Great Rushing

This is a classic tonic point of the body that supports the many functions of the Liver. It is located just superior to Liver 2 and like that point, it helps to smooth unruly Liver Qi. Taichong is also the source point of Liver and serves to balance conditions of both excess and deficiency. Therefore it can mobilise Qi and motivate us to action if there is deficiency. It helps with vision, both outer and inner, allowing us to see more clearly where we want to move to. For more detail see my original article on this Top Ten point.

As we move further into Spring, I suggest you pay attention to the uprising quality of the season and tap into that energy which is all around. If you catch this wave in early spring, it can empower your plans and fuel your forward movement.