Chong Mai Symptoms

Woman in pain
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

This page is all about Chong Mai or Chong ‘Mo’ Symptoms.

To make more sense of it you may like to read first about the Chong Mai itself. 

Otherwise you might find yourself in a quagmire of Chinese medicine technical terms where you could sink without trace! Read that page first, and this page will make more sense.

This vital first ‘energy’ or ‘vessel’ was created when the fertilised egg that grew to be you first rooted itself in the side of your mother’s womb.

If you’ve already read that page, then you might also like to read what could happen when, in Chinese medicine, you get Rebellious Qi of your Chong Mai.

Men! You’ll notice that many symptoms listed below seem to apply more to women, but actually, chong mai isn’t particular! We all started the same way, at the end of a cord – a blood vessel – attached to the inside of our mother’s womb, so chong mai applies to everyone. (What will happen when we’re born in vats of stuff, in the future? No idea! Though I surmise that if we still bear the same genes, it won’t be so different.)

List of Chong Mai symptoms

1. Menses, Fertility and Pregnancy

  • Periods may be irregular, or painful from Blood stasis or Blood Heat
  • Infertility from Blood not nourishing, ie all sorts of menstrual problems in women, and sperm creation in men
  • Pre-menstrual tension from rebellious Qi in Chong Mo. This can include weeping, and on the other hand, anger.
  • Morning sickness during pregnancy from rebellious Qi in Chong Mai
  • Menopausal problems, such as hot flushes, hot face with cold hands and feet


2. Abdominal problems

  • Digestion and appetite upset
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Distension: digestive problems in the Stomach including fullness and acidity. In the intestines with distension, blockage of flow of the food, pain and discomfort. 
  • Pain – bursting, distending, need to loosen clothes. Pain like this is thought to be because the membranes in the abdomen aren’t properly nourished so don’t allow their contents, both the organs and their contents, to flow smoothly. This is one of the commonest Chong Mai symptoms.
  • Umbilical area painful
  • Tightness in the epigastrium
  • In the abdomen/epigastrium a sense of urgency or tension pushing upwards towards or into the chest This includes fluttering or ‘butterflies’ in the epigastrium, for example. This ‘internal urgency’ can come with pain, constipation, anxiety, urine retention, nausea, dizziness and even hernia.


3. Chest problems, including Heart


Heart Problems and Chong Mai symptoms


  • Tension
  • Constriction
  • Anxiety
  • Breathlessness, asthma
  • Sensation of pressure or ‘pushing’ up from the abdomen
  • Sense of constriction of breathing, with pain
  • Palpitations or irregular heart-beat
  • Heart problems generally 
  • Matters ‘of the heart’; neurosis
  • Breasts feel distended and may be swollen. (Just remember, that if you are reading this but don’t have knowledge of acupuncture theory, there may be other reasons for this condition, and the same applies to all the other conditions mentioned!) 
  • The breasts contain the same kind of connective tissue or membranes as the abdomen. Since Chong Mo ‘rules’ these membranes, you could say that it has a major influence on the health of breast tissue. This, together with painful periods, is another of the commonest Chong Mai symptoms.
  • Breast lumps, cysts, nodules
  • Breast milk: until giving birth to your baby, Chong mo, being also the Sea of Blood, is the main vessel that nourishes your baby in the uterus. After birth, the supply switches upwards to the breasts where you could say that what was uterine blood becomes breast milk.
  • Throat feels tight or blocked, as of a lump 
  • Women! Susceptibility to getting sick or catching illnesses during your monthly period, especially from Cold or Heat. This is because Chong Mo ‘formed’ all the tiny channels that interconnect in your body, and nourishes them with Blood: except during your period when, having jettisoned a load of it, Blood may be a bit short, so the tiny channels may be a little deficient…


What happens next, in this case to your defensive energy, your ‘Wei’ Qi?

  • … what happens then is that the space between your skin and your flesh gets a bit ’empty’ and you become more susceptible to external pathogenic factors. So wrap up well during your periods, and don’t get cold or exhausted. Of course, this susceptibility might not be in your chest, but could be in your abdomen. That’s why swimming in cold water during your menses is discouraged in Chinese medicine.
  • Various kinds of pain in the heart (the classics say 9 kinds!)

4. Blood Circulation and Chong Mai symptoms

  • Sense of blood or heat rushing upwards. These kinds of blood circulation problems are common in chong mai symptoms.
  • Face can feel hot, flushed
  • Extremities, including feet and hands, may feel cold
  • Feet may be ice-cold and purple in colour
  • Menopausal flushes of heat, with anxiety and palpitations
  • Spontaneous nosebleeds
  • Spontaneous bruising on body and limbs
  • Fungal infections of the big and second toes. (This is because Chong Mo isn’t properly carrying Qi and Blood downwards)

5. Mind, Emotions and Personality

Emotions and chong mai symptoms
Emotions – Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash
  • Anxiety: this anxiety may or may not have a discernible cause. If there is one, you’ll worry about it. But this kind of anxiety can occur in happily married people who are not short of adequate resources and who otherwise seem in good health.
  • ‘Butterflies’ – fluttering in the epigastrium. This, one of the Chong Mai symptoms, can occur almost independently in some people, but often has its root in this syndrome. However, there may be ways to treat it using points that simply help Blood.
  • Habitual attitude of fearfulness. If this was present from birth it makes this more likely to point to suggesting Chong Mai symptoms.
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Palpitations and anxious feelings during menopause: often insomnia too
  • Poor sense of self-worth (see also Gallbladder for example)
  • Some of these symptoms apply to men too. We all started as a construct in our mother’s womb.

6. Head

  • Problems with facial hair, including beards, for both men and women
  • Skin of chin and cheeks is affected, eg with spots at certain stages of the monthly cycle for women
  • Clarity of vision (Chong mo terminates just under the eyes at the first point on the Stomach channel)
  • Phlegm, catarrh in the facial sinuses
  • A sense of heat in the face, often peri or post-menopausal, especially if accompanied by cold in the feet
  • Dry, cracked lips

7. Back

  • Lumbar backache, especially if connected with menses
  • Narrowing of the inter-vertebral discs
  • Stiffness in the spine (but just to remind you again: this, like all the other symptoms mentioned, could be something else!)

8. Lower extremities, ie legs and feet

  • Weakness, especially of the inner – medial – aspect of the legs
  • Restless legs, because Chong mo Blood isn’t nourishing the lower extremities
  • Cold, even purple, feet because Chong mo isn’t carrying Qi and Blood down to them

9. Skin, Flesh, Muscles and Hair


Body hair and chong mai symptoms
Photo by Jessica Dabrowski on Unsplash


  • When you see a healthy teenager or young adult, you marvel at the quality of their skin and hair. Mainly Chong mo concerns body hair, but includes facial hair. (And yes, I know the image above is of head hair!) Their skin and hair are lustrous, flexible, tactile and moist without being oily. They look well-rounded without being fat, and their skin colour is vibrant.
  • When Chong mo is deficient, the skin becomes dry and bodily hair either doesn’t grow as it should or easily breaks off.
  • Spontaneous bruising
  • Blood stasis wherever it occurs
  • Poor muscular development: too thin
  • Long-term aching of muscles including after exercise and perhaps for example from conditions such as fibromyalgia which also has great sensitivity of the skin

10. Pulse

  • Pulse: Deep, Firm. May be Wiry in Middle positions
  • (However, this pulse is what acupuncturists might feel in the case of Rebellious Chong Mai Qi. If there is underlying deficiency causing Chong Mai symptoms, there might be weakness in these middle positions.
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When first encountering Chong Mo, many acupuncturists roll their eyes! They’ve already learned so much about

  • the zang-fu
  • different acupuncture channels
  • the 8 principles
  • position and function of all the acupuncture points
  • the 5 Elements
  • theory of bodily fluids, blood and phlegm, 
  • the Three Burning Spaces, 
  • this and the that, (yes, there’s lots more) 
  • and now suddenly there’s another huge lump of theory to master, which seems more important than all the rest put together!


So here are you, gentle reader, (I say ‘gentle’ to try and placate your frustrations) trying to make sense of your symptoms in terms of Chinese medicine, when Chong Mo suddenly seems to pull the rug from a good deal of what you’ve read on other pages.

Yes, well, it’s a problem. But also, sometimes a solution, though please don’t rush to diagnose yourself. Get someone else to do it. It’s very easy to get confused or, worse, to be absolutely certain that you are right, then to do something rash about it. Do get help!

On this page you’ve read about Chong Mai symptoms. I have two other pages which help you understand this ‘extraordinary’ vessel:


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