Conception Vessel 10, Ren-10, is one of those acupuncture points you need when you find food is habitually ‘returning’ because it gets stuck in your gut. This is not a pleasant sensation, and this point really helps it go on down successfully.
Location of Xiawan
2 cun above the umbilicus on mid-line, being one quarter of the distance upwards from the centre of the umbilicus to the sterno-costal notch.
In the image below, it lies two cun down from CV12.
That’s the theory, anyway. Sometimes it’s better to find Zhongwan, Conception Vessel 12, and measure half-way from the umbilicus to that point, instead.
Vertically, no more than 1 cun. NB Deeper needling here may penetrate the peritoneal cavity, especially on thin patients.
Moxa on Ren 10
For distension, moxa cones or moxa on a stick may be applied. See below for more on this.
Traditionally, up to 100 cones might be burned here in the case of tumours in the abdomen, but in general I advise no more than 30 cones, or using a moxa stick on and off over a period of 20 to 30 minutes.
The patient should feel it as a warm glowing sensation, not a burn.
ACTIONS of Conception Vessel 10
Harmonises and descends Stomach qi (eg with stagnation of food or qi)
Moves food stagnation
Ren 10 Harmonises and descends Stomach qi
The Stomach should take food from the mouth downwards towards the intestines.
When the pyloric valve from the stomach into the small intestine blocks up or mis-functions, food gets stuck in the stomach, the stomach distends, food may reverse direction leading to vomiting or regurgitation of acid into the mouth, indigestion, prolapse of the stomach, and stools or diarrhoea containing undigested food.
There may be anorexia and stomach and throat ulcers caused by acid.
The above symptoms occurs because of the blockage but although the name of the point suggests that the blockage occurs in the valve, actually the point also works on food stagnating in the intestines, with similar symptoms.
This leads to abdominal distension, not just epigastric distension. The whole abdomen can seem large and tight, like a drum.
In either case, when food isn’t descended and digested properly, there may be undigested food in the stools, and the patient may be emaciated and weakened.
Conception Vessel 10 is also useful for digestive problems with loss of appetite. This is a nourishing point in that it stimulates Spleen qi, is good for deficient Qi, and helps Jing-Essence by promoting the absorption of nutritive energy.
Typically it might be used in anorexia even though that problem is often not one of food stagnation so much as one of stagnation or cessation of descending Qi: the patient won’t eat because he or she has reached the stage where the descending function of the Stomach has been stilled.
In helping digestion in general, Ren 10 also enhances the Bladder’s function of recovering fluids.
This means that the Colon’s function of absorbing fluids from the faeces is enhanced as well. From a Western anatomical perspective, the transverse colon traverses more or less under this point.
Moxa on Conception Vessel 10 is traditionally recommended for distension from tumours in the stomach and abdomen. This reflects the viewpoint of Chinese medicine: in Western medicine terms we expect a point to do one thing or to do a range of actions tied to something specific and physical, but actually the point works on a process by acting on Qi.
In this case it is the Stomach Qi action of descending food, and anywhere in the abdomen or throat or oesophagus where this descending function is obstructed may be helped with this point.
That moxa helps distension caused by a tumour suggests that using this point implies an underlying Yang deficiency of either Stomach or Spleen yang or of both.
Had Stomach and Spleen Yang been sufficient, the food would have descended normally, been transformed and transported naturally and no distension or tumour would have occurred.
TUMOURS in the Abdomen
In case of tumours, you may have to apply many hundred moxa cones (or at least one hundred) many times a day over an extended period of time, so show someone how to do this laborious and time-consuming task.
Of course, don’t consider this point on its own when designing the treatment. Get someone trained to do the moxibustion on this point otherwise you won’t have time to do anything else.
And please be careful!
Moxa anywhere carries the risk of burning, and this certainly applies here at Conception Vessel 10 on the abdomen. The patient is lying on his or her back, so in no position to escape quickly if you set fire to clothes, or burn the skin. Advise the patient notto treat himself or herself with moxa.
Besides, 100 cones or more is time-consuming and very fiddly, which makes you tire easily, get careless and have an accident.
To access other points on the Conception Vessel, click below: