February 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.