Kidney Luo Channel

This page is about the Kidney Luo channel, an acupuncture channel useful for various kinds of back pain and some kinds of chest and heart problems.

Find out more about luo-connecting channels here.

Kidney Luo channel pathway

  • The Kidney Luo channel commences at the acupuncture point Dazhong, Kidney 4, which is just posterior and inferior to the medial malleolus of the ankle.
  • It goes round the heel and connects with the Bladder channel which runs down the back of the leg and the lateral side of the heel.
  • It ascends along the path of the Kidney channel until it reaches the area of or just below the Pericardium.
  • From there it descends to the lumbar, or low back area, where it spreads out.


  • Fullness: urine retention, unable to micturate, ie can't pee; and constipation.
  • Emptiness: lower (lumbar) backache
  • Rebellious (much like stagnant) qi in Kidney Luo channel: depressed, irritability, chest feels heavy, blocked, oppressed. An old word for this is 'vexation'.
  • Blood stasis; lumbar pain that is stabbing, lancinating, and worse at night
  • Phlegm: lymph nodes in the groin are swollen (can also be from Phlegm in the Spleen or Liver luo-connecting channels)
  • Cold in this luo channel: strong cramping pains, possibly with abdominal masses. 
  • Coldness here would be mainly of the lower legs and feet, and particularly of the joints: knees mainly.
  • Heat in the Kidney luo channel: blood in the urine.


The above symptoms for each of this luo channel's syndromes come down to us from antiquity. They are brief, and any acupuncturist would look for confirmatory symptoms before being sure.

For example, the condition of emptiness needs more than just 'lower backache' to diagnose 'emptiness'.

Emptiness implies deficiency, tiredness, exhaustion, overuse of resources over a period of time. If there was severe lower backache, this (emptiness) diagnosis would be wrong, although there might be two things going on, one full and one empty.

In treating such a backache, the 'full' symptoms would have to be treated first.

If the acupuncturist was sure, he or she might treat both together, with the 'fullness' first, and when that had cleared, going on to deal with the 'emptiness'. 

Because such a deficiency, or emptiness, usually arrives over time, this might take several treatments, otherwise the condition of 'fullness' might recur, say after a sudden physical exertion or shock.

So the descriptions given reveal themselves only in the light of understanding the syndromes.


The other consideration, for acupuncturists, is how useful the originating point, Kidney 4, can be for treating channel problems anywhere along the Kidney channel, as far up as the area of the Pericardium.

This explains how the point is used for many kinds of respiratory problems and a sense of bloating or distension in the chest, for example with asthma or wheezing.

For the same reason, it can help Heart syndromes, including palpitations and many of the mental sides of Heart qi being out of balance.

This luo channel pathway extends over the lower abdomen as well, and so this point can be used for bowel and urinary problems.

It also runs up through the anterior muscular strata of the abdomen.

If weak these muscles cannot balance the huge lumbar muscles, leading to lumbar problems.

So, for appropriate syndromes of the Kidney, this point and its pathway help both front and back of the lower torso.

For example, one thinks of people whose bellies are too big, and who suffer from lumbar pain.

For them, this point and its pathway may be appropriate.

To avoid Kidney syndromes such as this, we should all strive to exercise our bodies so as both to keep ourselves flexible and strong. For example:

  • Yoga or Tai Chi; tennis; swimming; walking; climbing: all should exercise not just our spines but our lungs;
  • Proper sleep;
  • The right, and not the wrong, nutrition;
  • Friendly and/or fulfilling relationships;
  • Awareness of our limits. Meditation helps!
  • Enough time to relax, regularly.
  • Accepting that a little stress in life is stimulating: too much destroys us.

Links to Luo-connecting channels

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Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

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Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine

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