To be able to see the best results with acupuncture points it is important to know the state of a person's mind, body and spirit. Most people in the modern world are imbalanced at the level of the spirit, at the very core of our being. Who we are becomes imbalanced due to past traumas and pain. Feeling useless, unlovable, worthless, stuck in fear, grief, anger, worry or lack of joy can cause spiritual maladies that are rooted in a person's behaviors and leads to disease. As acupuncturists, we reach a person’s spirit through our own spirit. By emptying our thoughts and simply being curious to hold space for a person’s feelings we are able to know who they are and this lets us know how to be with them and how to support their whole being.
Acupuncture points are usually talked about for treating physical symptoms and diseases but there is a deeper level that acupuncture points can address, the spirit level. Mentally and emotionally we can become imbalanced and disease usually does not lie only on the physical level. This article will teach the location of some powerful acupuncture/acupressure points to nourish your spirit during challenging times.
Location: Approximately 3 inches below the knee on the lateral side of the lower leg just along the edge of the tibial tuberosity. Gliding your finger up the anterior surface of the tibia in the tibialis anterior muscle your finger will stop when it reaches the tibial tuberosity. Two fingerbreadths lateral to the tibial tuberosity is Stomach 36.
Spirit of the Point: Strength to carry on, stamina when going gets tough. Encourages a person to keep going. For any depletion of the body, mind or spirit. It is a sea of nourishment, a longevity point giving sustenance to carry on and go further. Can help the roots go deep and ground yourself. This point can revitalize energy and shake things up and can be used when there is laziness or apathy. It nourishes and feeds the earth so that things can grow more richly.
Location: In the center of the crown, in the middle spiral of the hair is a depression into which a finger fits. From the apex of the ears follow up to the midpoint on the head.
Spirit of the Point: Gathering of the ancestors, summons wisdom of the ancestors. They’ve seen the pattern, the cycle before. Puts one in touch with the inner wisdom of the elders. Whatever the problem, no matter how horrendous, it can be bettered. This point gives perspective of what life is about as an individual and humankind, what is the right way. Moves the person forward to a different level of understanding and being.
Location: Liver 3 can be found between the big toe and second toe. Guide your finger up from where the toes meet onto the top of the foot for about 1- 1 ½ inches into the juncture before you hit the metatarsal bones. Deeply press your finger into the depression there.
Spirit of the Point: Known as Happy Calm. Brings balance when one is agitated. If the tree needs more space for its roots this point can take some of the compacted Earth away and give them more freedom to spread or this point can add Earth to give the roots more secure grounding. Either way it brings more peace to the tree.
Location: On the midline of the sternum, in the depression level with the 4th intercostal space.
Spirit of the Point: This point revitalizes, fills and centers. This is a special point connected to the Pericardium which is the place the Heart resides, the imperial palace. The temple of Heaven within our body, where energy can be gathered and transmitted. A secret place full of power which allows communication to radiate out from the Heart to the whole of the body and the rest of the world. A sea of energy the reinvigorates the Lungs and Heart, spreads the influence of the Heart, joy through the kingdom. When all the seas are worm out, the person is tired, frustrated. Physically it can open the chest and lungs, helping with labored breathing, shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness. Eases indigestion, vomiting and acid reflux as well.
Location: Medial corner of the pinky finger nail. About 1 cm from the corner of the nail take you thumb nail of the same hand to activate this point. Can be a revival point for fainting and shock.
Spirit of the Point: A secure, safe, gentle place to nourish, fuel and secure the spirit. Qualities of rebirth, growth to lead, to take the next step. Also gives loving motherly care. This point empowers the Heart’s capacity for vision.
SPLEEN 12 and 13
Location: Locate the superior border of the pubic symphysis/pelvic bone. Go approximately one handbreadth lateral to the midline on both sides. Feel for femoral artery pulse and SP 12 is just lateral to that, place index finger on Spleen 12 and then for Spleen 13 following the diagonal leg/groin crease up drop your middle finger next to the index finger about ¾ inches apart.
Spirit of the Point: Spleen 12 is called rushing gate- a lot of movement happens through this gate. Use when stuck, when looking outside, let’s one join in and get moving but only use when truly wanting to help to let go and get moving. Spleen 13 is a storehouse, treasury, dwelling of authority and importance. To bring the spirit home to receive nourishment. Use when the spirit is not in it’s home, the person is scattered, unstable, lacking inner calm and contentment. Helps find yourself when you are feeling lost and looking for help.
GALLBLADDER 39 or 34 depending on flexibility
Location: The Gallbladder channel runs along the fibula. Start at the lateral ankle-the fibula follow along the upper edge of the fibula bone about three inches up from the ankle there will be a tender depression which is GB 39.
If you are unable to reach GB 39 then start at the lateral side of the knee and feel for the bony protuberance which is the head of the fibula. Let your fingers drop below the head of the fibula towards the shin bone and that is GB 34.
Spirit of the Point: GB 39 is used for joint problems and articulation problems on any level, or overall flexibility issues of Wood: stubbornness, entrenched, fixed, frustrated, loss of ability to listen fairly or look at all points of view. Used when acting contrary to one’s nature, allows one to be able to make a wise decision and then move and see if things are moving according to plan. GB 34 is also used for inflexibility but can root into the earth (as the earth point on the wood channel) to get sustenance and grow. Gives stability, grounding and sustenance of the Earth. Allows smoothness and fluidity to calm frustrations and ease rigidity of decisions. If all decisions look like they lead nowhere, this gives a sense of hope and dispels negativity. When everything looks awful and nothing is right, gives hope for the future and smooths things out.
LUNG 1 and 2
Location: Go to the depression just inferior to the lateral end of the clavicle. Go about one inch below over the strand of the pectoralis major muscle to find the Lung 2 and then Lung 1 is one inch below that. Move middle finger back and forth of the tightest strands of the pectoralis muscle fibers.
Spirit of the Point: Lung 1 is the palace of inspiration, awe, majesty. Used when one doesn’t have the inner connection to one’s essence, no sense of inspiration, higher purpose, pure guidance or beauty. One may feel cut off, introverted, isolated, crumpled, deprived, everything is mundane, one is struggling with grief and there is no sense of quality, beauty or richness. Lung 2 is used when under a cloud and can’t see the brightness of the sky. To renew the sun’s light within, to see through the depressive cloud and bring the richness inside. Reconnects to that inner light, clears the mind and spirit. Use when a person finds the world a very difficult place to be in. One may look up to the heavens but not be able to see the light of the sun and blue sky above. This point clears the dark clouds to bring color and brightness back to the world. Resolves grief allowing the Heart’s intention to shine through. These lung points can be used physically to help with any imbalances of the Lung meridian. Arrests coughing, asthma, wheezing and/or chest pain.
SAN JIAO 15
Location: About two finger-breadths above and medial to the superior angle of the scapula there will be a hard nodule that is not bone. One inch below the apex of the upper traps (1 cun posterior to GB 21)
Spirit of the Point: A connection to heavenly realms. For spiritual strength, supporting a sense of spiritual uprightness and integrity. Spreads warmth to the spirit. On a physical level it helps with strengthening the upper respiratory tract, clears colds and helps with pain, stiffness, contraction or spasm in the shoulder area.
Location: In the palm between 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones. Tuck in your middle finger towards the tranverse crease in the palm. When your finger is secure in this point make a fist to press deeper and activate the point.
Spirit of the Point: This point is known as the Palace of Weariness where one can get refreshed and restored after stress and hostel situations. When a person is weary, in a rut, with no energy, no hope or burnt out. A refuge, replenishes and regenerates weary, fallen, isolated, rejected, depressed, exhausted spirit; without richness we are unable to share. A gate of hope and renewal, that everything is going to be okay, restores one to positively move forward with confidence.
Location: Approximately 2 inches from the belly button on both sides. Point lies in the middle of the rectus abdominis muscle. Move the fingertips back and forth horizontally across the rectus abdominis
Spirit of the Point: Called Heavenly Pivot. A center point, fulcrum. Use if rhythms are out of balance, there are ups and downs, this point centers and balances. Allows for free, fluid movement around the center. Can help when a person is going through a growth period and ensures they are coming from a steady center. Anchors, stabilizes and grounds one center when there are a lot of ups and downs, mood swings and instability. Good for grounding when the earth is moving under one’s feet. Empowers stability during transitions.
These points addressed in the article are only a small amount of the many points that can help people move through feelings, emotional blocks, spiritual distress and physical disturbances. Acupressure is a beautiful way to start exploring the power of the points. Acupuncture is another, even more powerful way, to access the healing properties of acupuncture points.
Photos from “A Manual of Acupuncture” by Peter Deadman.
Spirit of the Point from Spirit of Points Book: a collection of Five Element Practioners: Neil Gumenick, Lonny Jarrett and Hong Jin
Locations from “Finding Effective Acupuncture Points” by Shudo Denmei translated by Stephen Brown.