Conception Vessel 4, Ren-4 Guanyuan, Gate at the Source
First Gate, Dantian

Conception Vessel 4, Guanyuan, is the fourth point on the Conception Vessel, one of the so-called 'extraordinary' acupuncture channels.

It has many important properties and, in addition, is the ...

Location of Guanyuan

On the mid-line of the abdomen, 3/5 of the way down from the umbilicus to the superior edge of the pubic bone.

Unless there is scar tissue from an operation such as a Caesarean section, the point is nearly always exactly where it is supposed to be, so measure carefully!

Needling and Moxa on Ren 4

Do not needle or moxa this point on pregnant women.

Needle perpendicularly half to 1 cun, or diagonally downwards slightly more. Because deep needling could penetrate the walls of the bladder, ask the patient to void it first.

Sensation of needling Conception Vessel 4
Tends to be downwards towards and into the genitals and urethra.

Moxa is excellent on this point for patients who have lost their strength either through age or infirmity. The point has the power to strengthen both yin and yang, and with moxibustion it works more on Yang (though Yin benefits too.)

With needle, if Yang is already deficient, Yin benefits most and indeed, a patient with some Yang but little Yin may feel 'flattened' for a while after having just acupuncture here. (Meaning that your patient may need to sleep awhile!)

However, it is doubtful if moxa here on someone who is Yang deficient will make them feel over-energised.

ACTIONS of Ren-4

  • Strongly tonifies QiYinYang, and Blood 
  • Fortifies Original Qi and Jing Essence
  • Strengthens and supports Kidneys
  • Benefits Kidney and Spleen Yang (particularly with Moxa)
  • Strengthens and regulates the lower abdomen's functionality
  • Brings excess Qi down
  • Regulates both excess and deficient conditions of Small Intestine

The following can only give an indication of how this point works. There are many other conditions which benefit from the point.

Strongly tonifies Qi, Yin, Yang, and Blood 

  • Increases immune-type function of body
  • Weakness of the whole body
  • Warming point
  • Strengthening point
  • For example, this point greatly strengthens Blood, perhaps because it is a meeting point (with the Kidney and Spleen channels) with the Liver Channel. It seems to act like a super Spleen 6, but with a special emphasis on Blood. (I've used it to great effect on people who felt weakenend from having lost or recently given blood.)

Fortifies Original Qi and Jing Essence

  • Increases endurance
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Chilliness
  • After a stroke, to increase energy and vibrancy

Strengthens and supports Kidneys

  • Back pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Weak knees
  • Weak memory
  • Poor hearing
  • Incontinence of stools or urine

Benefits Kidney and Spleen Yang (particularly with Moxa)

  • Supports digestion
  • Diarrhoea or stools containing undigested food

Strengthens and regulates the lower abdomen's functionality

  • Back pain
  • Incontinence
  • Impotence, infertility
  • Spermatorrhoea
  • Vaginal discharges
  • Irregular menses
  • Bleeding in pregnancy
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Incontinence in children (and adults)
  • Soreness in abdomen after labour
  • Chronic discharges after labour
  • Retained placenta
  • Coldness in abdomen

Brings excess Qi down

  • Breathing difficulties as in dyspnoea or asthma, chronic cough
  • Conditions arising from fright, ongoing fear, terror, panic eg sleeplessness
  • Depression with signs of ascending Qi
  • Post-partum depression

Regulates both excess and deficient conditions of Small Intestine


  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Flooding diarrhoea with urgency, pain and offensive smell
  • Abdomen fullness or extreme swelling Hemorrhoids
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Hernia


  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Undigested food
  • Incontinence of Stools and Urine

Comment on Conception Vessel 4

The name in Chinese of Conception Vessel 4 is GuanYuan. Guan means hinge, or gate, Yuan means Original, in this context meaning original life, which nowadays we might translate as the life energy inherited from our parents.

So this point puts us into contact with the source of the original life force we inherited.

Conception Vessel 4, Conception Vessel 5 and Conception Vessel 6 all have somewhat similar qualities and if in doubt as to which to use, I use whichever has the most reflex reaction. This could be tenderness, or tightness, or weakness - like a depression from lack of tone.

However, unless the patient is fit, there is often a lack of tone in the lower abdomen. Such a lack of tone is sometimes accompanied, even in fit people, by much greater tightness in the upper abdomen, and sometimes tightness in the chest.

Using this point to strengthen the lower abdomen can have the effect of balancing and reducing the tightness further up which can make a great deal of difference to how the patient feels.

This is because the lower abdomen is our centre of gravity and is where meditators often concentrate their minds, taking energy from elsewhere, particularly the chest, shoulders, neck and head and putting it back where it first came from. Doing this makes the individual calmer and steadier.

Elderly or weak patients can be taught to moxa themselves regularly at this point to maintain good health and strength as they grow older.

However, although the point can greatly increase strength and vibrancy, it is a mistake to use just this point. Other points may do things better.

Perhaps, unless you are elderly, you should use this point only intermittently. If you rely on just this point to keep you fit, then ultimately it will stop working for you.

To access other points on the Conception Vessel, click below:

Ren-1 Huiyin Yin Meeting Place
Ren-2 Qugu Crooked Bone
Ren-3 Zhongji Utmost Middle
Ren-4 Guanyuan Source Gate
Ren-5 Shimen Stonegate
Ren-6 Qihai Sea of Qi
Ren-7 Yin Jiao Yin Intersection/td>
Ren-8 Shenque Spirit Palace Pathway
Ren-9 Shuifen Water Separation
Ren-10 Xiawan Lower Stomach Duct
Ren-11 Jianli Earthing Within
Ren-12 Zhongwan Utmost Middle
Ren-13 Shangwan Upper Stomach Duct
Ren-14 Juque Great Palace Gateway
Ren-15 Jiuwei Dovetail
Ren-16 Zhongting Central Hall
Ren-17 Shangzhong Middle of the Chest
Ren-18 Yutang Jade Hall
Ren-19 Zigong Purple Palace
Ren-20 Huagai Flower Covering
Ren-21 Xuanji Jade Pearl
Ren-22 Tiantu Heavenly Rushing
Ren-23 Lianquan Clear Spring
Ren-24 Chengjiang Fluid Container

Click to return from Conception Vessel 4 to Acupuncture Points.

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