Conception Vessel 12, CV 12. Ren-12, is the 12th point along the Conception Vessel, which is an acupuncture channel or meridian that runs up the anterior mid-line of the body.
4 cun above centre of umbilicus, ie half way between umbilicus and sterno-costal notch.
Sometimes the point is slightly above where you expect it to be.
In palpating for it, in very 6-pack types, whilst the point should be obvious, I haven’t found it always to be so, especially if the 3-pack on one side isn’t congruent with the 3-pack on the other!
Vertically up to 1.5 cun but it can take time to find the Qi.
Too deep and you may penetrate the peritoneal cavity. That’s not a good idea! For the same reason, be cautious when treating someone pregnant, where the abdominal tissues are stretching and may be thinner.
Have patience and try from a slightly different angle, but you may still have to wait.
Around the point.
Moxibustion is fine on this point although perhaps not for too long. Up to 15 cones.
Someone who is very deficient but suffering from say, Damp, may find moxa very uncomfortable.
In this case you must clear the Damp first.
This has been called the Tsusanli (or Stomach 36) of the Conception Vessel. (I forget who said this and am happy to credit the attribution if someone can tell me!) However, it doesn’t work so fast nor so vigorously as Stomach 36. It seems to be more a harmonising point that helps to improve the zang-fu actions.
This point is probably used more for deficiency conditions, meaning poor appetite or digestion, inadequate food absorption, digestion and elimination, than for excess conditions.
However, it is a harmonising point so can be used for both deficiency and excess. As when in drought a river lacks the force to carry away rubbish and starts to get blocked up, the point can certainly be used for excess conditions arising from deficiency.
This chakra represents our ability to develop identity, confidence and purpose. How to integrate that with Ren 12?
In Chinese medicine, after birth we depend on our Stomach and digestion for nutrition. Nutrition is fundamental to making Blood.
Blood is the basic substrata for our personality, our Shen-Mind. Without Blood our Heart cannot pump, our circulation fails, we die. What disappears is our Shen-Mind, there being no home for it.
So this ‘Utmost Middle’ point, our Great Granary, symbolises our home, a place for our mind to rest comfortable.
Of course, that’s not to confuse it with our Blood, the actual place Shen-Mind inhabits. But you can see, I hope, that if one had to choose one point or place to symbolise the centre of and the power behind our personality, this Utmost Middle Granary Solar Plexus Chakra points might fit.
All of which goes to show how important healthy digestion is for a fruitful, healthy life.
When sore if pressed, acting as an ‘alarm’ point, it suggests our Stomach and digestion are under pressure.
If on pressure the pain is very sore, so you stop pressing, probably your Stomach is over-worked and you may have an excess condition. If you like gentle pressure or massage here, then it is more likely to be a deficient condition: you digestion is under-functioning, possibly from worry, poor nutrition, or tiredness. Check our page on Excess or Deficient for more on this.
This question of ‘excess’ or ‘deficiency’ can be important when deciding how to treat the patient.
If the patient likes gentle massage here, keep massaging! Usually, underlying discomfort will gradually disappear. Children react very quickly!
This means that you could use this point to back up or support treatments you are doing on these other channels. However, usually I prefer to use the least possible number of needles, so would check the patient’s demeanour and pulses after treating the other channels before I added CV 12. If other treatment were successful, I would leave it at that.
I think it can sometimes be overkill to throw in every point you can think of: expecially in deficiency, when frequent but minimal gentle treatment may achieve great things.
Ren 12 is a generally fortifying point, that nourishes people both physically and emotionally, so that their Blood is improved and they feel more confident and resourceful – think of its other name, Great Granary.
Consequently where indicated by its appropriate syndrome in Chinese Medicine it may be useful for:
This point is approximately the deep inner point where the Lung channel originates and so it can be used in support of other treatments for respiratory conditions including asthma, where appropriate.
It helps circulation of Qi.
Moxa on this point and Conception Vessel 4 tonifies Kidney, Spleen and Stomach energies.
In some ways, Conception Vessel 12 can be used for any problem to do with digestion, including any condition of the actual stomach organ itself.
It represents the body’s digestion. From our digestion comes our Blood. Only with healthy Blood do we feel secure in ourselves, and many forms of anxiety occur because of deficient Blood. That includes the state we get into when we can’t sleep from a kind of apprehensiveness without obvious cause.
I’ve seen many a patient who said his anxiety started in the stomach area and ascended to his head. When, using the theory of Chinese medicine to enhance the patient’s Blood, it often helps to harmonise the digestion too. This point is good for that. Then you know that, given the right food, their digestion will make the right Blood.
Here’s why this is so important. Your personality is said to rest in your Blood. You see what this means when someone haemorrhages badly and quite literally you see their personality going to pieces. Conception Vessel 12’s name Central Granary, implies that, like an army, each of us marches on our Stomach.
It’s often sensitive or sore to touch and may feel taut or hard compared to surrounding areas. During a good treatment this sensitivity should disappear making the area softer and more resilient. Japanese acupuncturists, if they find this point taut or very sensitive, often look for pressure points (possibly slightly sore to press or feeling bumpy or blocked) on the left Stomach channel at or below Stomach 36. Pressing inferiorly on these points, if it eases tautness or discomfort at Ren 12, suggests a way to ease the sensation at Ren 12. If so, shallow needling inferiorly (ie in a downwards direction) under the bumpy of blocked points can hugely ease Ren 12, making it much more responsive to further treatment, either at a distance or locally.
What is more, as CV 12 improves, Hey Presto, so does your digestion!
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