Diving back into points

The impending descent into the southern winter marks the start of a new cycle of articles. I’ve taken as my theme for the coming year the category of points known as the xi-cleft or accumulation points. It is an often-neglected set of points, and it seems like a good opportunity to pay attention to them.

These points were first discussed in the ancient text “Systematic Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion” by Huang Fu Mi in 282 AD, so they’ve been known for a while. There is xi-cleft point for each of the 12 primary meridians, and one each for the Extraordinary Vessels of Yin Wei, Yang Wei, Yin Qiao and Yang Qiao.

The Chinese word xi in this context refers to a cleft, fissure, crevice or hole. It is at this place where the Qi of the channel, having run relatively superficially up to this point, dives more deeply down into the energy body. The points are located between the wrist and elbow, or ankle and knee, with the exception of Stomach whose xi-cleft point lies above the knee. The points are located between the Five Element command points but are not Element points themselves. They can be used to support treatment of the command points.

The primary use of these points is to treat acute conditions (i.e. those that are of recent or sudden onset) and pain in the related organ. They are also good for clearing stagnation, for it is at these points where Qi and Blood can tend to stagnate. Chronic stagnation leads to accumulations of heat and toxins, which the xi-cleft points help to clear.

Classically, the xi-cleft points of the yin meridians are known for treating disorders of the blood. Lonny Jarrett adds that the points on the yang meridians can be used to treat pathological emotions and disorders of the spirit that are relevant to their related organ-official. Jarrett’s view is a modern revision which makes a connection between psycho-emotional suppression and physiological stagnation.

Over the next year I plan to write separate articles about the 12 xi-cleft points in their related seasons. In this way, we will be immersed in the qualities of the Element that is being expressed around us as we study the corresponding points.

The first of these articles on Bladder 63 will be in your mailbox soon.