Acupuncture Points Notebook

Location Guides:

: Shendao : Spirit Pathway

Du-11 : Extraordinary Governing Vessel 11

Master Tung's Five Mountain Ranges
Master Tung's Behind the Heart points

Meeting of Governing Vessel with Bladder Divergent

On the midline of the back, in the depression below the spinous process of the fifth thoracic vertebra (T5).

Oblique superior insertion 0.5 - 1 cun

The spinal canal lies between 1.25 and 1.75 cun deep to the skin surface, varying according to body build. According to several classical texts this point is contraindicated to needling.

TCM Actions:
Tonifies the heart and lung and calms the spirit
Clears heat and pacifies wind

TCM Indications:
  • Sadness and anxiety, poor memory, fright palpitations, disorientation, timidity with shortness of breath, lack of qi, taxation consumption.
  • Childhood fright epilepsy, clonic spasm, childhood fright wind, lockjaw.
  • Fever due to injury by cold with headache that comes and goes, heat in the body, cough and hot dyspnoea, malaria, dizziness, heat in the Liver.
  • Pain and cold sensation of the upper back.

    Superficial Innervation: Medial branches of dorsal rami of T5
    Dermatome Segment: T5

    This point is also on the 3rd trajectory of the Chong mai connecting the Chong with the Du for Invigorating Yang in cases of Bi Obstruction due to Blood Stagnation (Yuen, 2005, The Extraordinary Vessels).

    When using the Bladder or Small Intestine Divergent meridians to expel a pathogen a band around the chest at this point, including Xinshu Bl-15, Shentang Bl-44 and Shanzhong Ren-17, should be treated with Gua Sha before commencing needling (Cecil-Sterman, 2012, Advanced Acupuncture).

    Possible location for the middle barrier (lulu, the Barrier of the Pulley) in alchemical work, opposite the heart (Wang Mu, 2011, Foundations of Internal Alchemy). See also Mingmen Du-4

    According to Ma, Ma & Cho (2005) this is usually the second point on the spine to become tender when homeostasis declines, after H20 (Zhiyang Du-9), at T7.

    In Master Tung's system this point is one of the five mountain ranges (Wu Ling). They consist of five sets of points in three lines representing the phases of the Wu Xing in a series of lines:

    The first set is along the midline, below each vertebrae from T2 to T11. From T2 to T8 relate to Fire, T9 to T11 relate to Earth.
    The second set is 3 cun from the midline. from T2 to T9. From T2 to T6 relate to Metal, T7 to T9 relate to Wood.
    The third set is 6 cun from the midline from T2 to T8. From T2 to T4 relate to Metal, T5 to T8 relate to Wood.

    They are indicated for fever, common cold, hypertension, headache, lumbar pain, numbness of the hands and feet, hemiplegia, acute stomachache, vomiting or acute enteritis by releasing heat, wind and stagnation from the organs relating to their phase and treated with a pricking method to release a drop of blood (McCann, 2014, Pricking the Vessels).

    Tung's Behind the Heart (Hou Xin or Bei Xin) points are located under spinous processes from T4 to T9, 1.5 cun laterally to T4 to T7 and 3 cun laterally from T4 to T6. They are indicated for "wool like furuncles", clove sores, weakness and debility of the Heart zang, Stomach diseases, acute heart disease leading to numbness and paralysis, wind-cold entering the interior, severe wind-cold, stroke, externally contracted diseases that manifest with papules. They clear heat from the Heart and Lung and release the exterior so are useful in dermatological disorders (ibid.).

    Tung's prick to bleed technique may make greater sense than regular needles as shallow depth without retention may be safer over the spine and lungs and the larger gauge used may provide better stimulation to this relatively insensitive area.

    In Tibetan medicine:
    Edelweiss flowers are burnt in cones like moxa over crushed garlic at this point and over T6 as life channel and heart points to relieve madness, insomnia and palpitions, heart diseases and forgetfulness (Bradley, 2000: Principles of Tibetan Medicine)

    Reference Notes: (click to display)