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Liver 13 is the thirteenth point along the main acupuncture channel of the Liver and is:
Zhangmen lies at the tip of the 11th rib, or just inferior and anterior to it.
1/ Perpendicular to the skin. Recommended depth of needle is no more or less than that required to reach the point: in thin people this may be only a quarter of an inch. On fat people it could be two inches or even more. Beware needling too deeply.
The way I reach it is to palpate the point which, if it needs treatment, is usually sensitive if not actually sore, and assess how deeply I have to press the skin inwards to reach it.
Then I insert the needle with the skin pressed
inwards on either side of the point, so that the actual depth from the
surface of the skin to the point is less.
Once I have deqi, I slowly release the flesh with the other hand and as it springs back to normal I allow it to ride up the sides of the shaft of the needle which I'm keeping stationery so as to remain in contact with the point.
In fat people, this means you must start with a longer needle, otherwise the flesh as it rises will eventually drag the needle's point away from the point.
2/ Parallel to the rib either medially or laterally. Here you must insert needle from either further forward (if needling laterall) or further back (if needling medially). This increases the difficulty of finding the point, I find.
Local to the area, but frequently extends across the abdomen, or upwards or downwards, depending on the disharmony being treated.
Moxa: 5 - 10 cones
Regulates interaction between Liver and Spleen
Harmonises the middle and lower jiao where for example in:
Note: 'Jiao' means 'burning space' and in Chinese medicine your trunk has three: above the diaphragm, below the diaphragm but above the umbilicus, and below the umbilicus. You could say this means the chest, the upper and the lower abdomen, but the word 'jiao' - 'burning space' describes not just the place but the activity: it tells you more about the function.Strengthens the Spleen
The Spleen is said to be the assembly point for the 5 Zang, which I've always taken to mean that it enables the zang organs to function properly, and if all 5 are diseased, this point is particularly important.
Liver 13 is both a Spleen point and a Liver point and can almost be used for either one or the other, as well as both, so often does the desired outcome require the same treatment for both.
Partly because Liver 13 is a meeting or 'Assembly' point with the Gallbladder, I've used this point for thigh and leg pain, including sciatica (along with other points) when it seemed indicated, such as when the pain was either along the Spleen meridian or the Gallbladder or Liver meridian.
I don't see why it shouldn't also be used for shoulder or arm pain along the Lung, Pericardium or Three-heater channels because of those channels' respective relationships with the Spleen, Liver and Gallbladder.
The name of the point - 'Gate of the System' is suggestive. I don't read or speak Chinese, so hope someone will enlighten me, but the suffix '-men' appears to be the same as that used in the other points with the same suffix, where it is usually translated as a gate, or portal. 'Zhang' on the other hand, may be the same as 'zang' in which case the point literally becomes the gate of the 5 Zang, making it an enormously important point for harmonising them. Whether this is the case, it certainly does seem to harmonise them.
Many of my lecturers suggested I always use it with Liver 14 (which is the Alarm or Mu point of the Liver, and a meeting point of the Liver and Spleen channels with the Yin Linking vessel) to strengthen its effect, but I have seldom found this necessary.
Besides, Liver 14
is also the Exit point of the Liver channel, making it a kind of entry
point of the Lung channel. Using it might temporarily change the Lung or
other pulses, changing the dynamic between all the pulses and reducing
the real feedback to me of the outcome of my treatment on Liver 13.
I belong to the minimalist school! I prefer to do the least
possible to help the body change positively. If I do too much, I may
This is a great point for treating irritable bowel pain and for enabling the faeces to move. If someone habitually gets pain of this sort, you can show them where to massage over the point. Do emphasise, however, that such massage will be palliative only unless other points are treated properly after a considered diagnosis in Chinese Medicine.
Please don't be tempted to use this point on yourself! It can be quite deep on fat people and just under the skin on thin people. In both cases it is easy to go too deep and prick something better left alone. See an acupuncturist!
|Liver-8||Ququan||Spring at the Bend|
|Liver-10||Zuwuli||Leg Five Miles|
If you live in the Edinburgh area of Scotland, where the author of this site (and of the books described below) works, click on Edinburgh Acupuncturist.
If you live elsewhere, click on BAcC.
Please note! The Kindle editions are less easy to read! Although the paper editions cost more, they are much easier to read and to refer back and forth to the contents and index.
Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:
Still only one comment, though personally I think this is my best book so far.
Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine!
No comments yet: just published. (Despite the lurid cover, it explains the five main types of phlegm and what works best for each type. I hope it's easy to read and will be much more useful than all the websites on the subject.)
3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!
By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.
NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.
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