Conception Vessel 13: Ren 13 Shangwan

Conception Vessel 13, Ren-13, Shangwan, Upper Duct of Stomach helps you digest food and is said to regulate Heart Qi.
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Conception Vessel 13 is the thirteenth acupuncture point on the Conception Vessel.

  • Meeting point of the Conception Vessel with the Stomach and Small Intestine Channels.

 

Location of Ren-13

On the midline, 5 cun above the centre of the umbilicus, ie 5/8 of distance from umbilicus to the xiphisternal junction.

Sometimes the position of the sternocostal notch and the length of the xiphoid process make finding this point less obvious than it should be.

 

Location of Conception Vessel 13, Ren 13
 

It can seem very close to Conception Vessel points 14 Juque and 15 Jiuwei. When in doubt, err on the side towards Zhongwan, Conception Vessel 12, if you can, because sometimes Juque, Conception Vessel 14, gives too strong a jolt to your patient!

 

Needling Conception Vessel 13

Up to 1.5 cun. NB Deep needling may penetrate the peritoneal cavity, especially in thin people.

 

Sensation

Often upwards towards the xiphoid process.

 

Moxa

Up to 15 cones.

ACTIONS of Shangwan

  • Regulates and descends Stomach Qi
  • Regulates the Heart qi

 

Ren 13 Regulates and Descends Stomach Qi

In relation to the stomach organ, Conception Vessel 13 has some of the same characteristics as Conception Vessel 10 Lower Duct. The latter’s strength is to descend Stomach Qi. This point prevents Stomach Qi rebelling upwards.

It suggests Ren 13 manages the upper part of the stomach, specifically the gastroesophageal junction or GE junction, sometimes called the Cardiac sphincter. However, it isn’t as definite as that, although many of the conditions that follow do occur when the GE junction is too open or, conversely partially blocked, as with a fixed hiatus hernia.

In Chinese Medicine, Conception Vessel 13 controls Rebellious Stomach Qi symptoms (meaning that instead of descending food it rebels upwards), such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hiccough
  • Belching
  • Acid regurgitation ie reflux
  • Sour taste in mouth
  • Vomiting Blood
  • Fullness in the epigastrium
  • Epilepsy from ‘wind and phlegm’ (Chinese medical terms denoting a development of the condition)

Along with rebellious Stomach qi, you often get: 

  • Ulcers in oesophagus or throat
  • Indigestion
  • Gas in Stomach

 

In a more general sense it manages many kinds of stomach or abdominal conditions including:

  • Stomach pain
  • Hard masses
  • Abdominal fullness or distension
  • Borborygmus (the technical name for noises of gurgling in the abdomen)
  • Undigested food in stools

 

I once heard Leon Hammer, (one of our modern geniuses in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, after long experience with probably the greatest modern Chinese Doctor in the West, John Shen) perhaps in an unguarded moment, suggest Conception Vessel 13 might be used in weight control, by which he meant appetite control.

 

Regulates Heart Qi: also because it is the upper duct point

Good for chest problems if associated with Stomach qi rebelling

Because the point is so close to the lower part of the Heart, or perhaps because the divergent channel of the Stomach penetrates the Heart, this point is often used to calm Heart Qi, for example when there are palpitations, or the Heart feels full, hot and painful.

The point is sometimes used when there is heat and pain in the chest.

For an example, see the following case, which happened with one of my patients.

I had a patient whose heart beat stopped every few beats: he was otherwise in what seemed good health.

His heart seemed to miss a beat as he  breathed in, when he was at rest.

Remembering that the Lung meridian originates in the area of Conception Vessel 12 and 13, I needled this point, together with Lung 9 and Heart 6. The condition improved, when with the previous treatment the two last points on their own hadn’t made any difference.

However, I also had to suggest the patient desist from heavy weight training for a few weeks, as I diagnosed that he was over-straining his Qi.

 

Meeting Point with Small Intestine Channel

Sometimes overlooked, this meeting point can be used where there is Heat in the Heart that should be dissipated by the Small intestine Fu organ – for example, agitation and pain in the heart with palpitations.

I might think of this point if I suspected there was a connection between the pain or agitation and what the patient had recently eaten.

Also, since the Small Intestine can be a source of Heat causing fever, this point is sometimes used to help control a tendency to fevers or exceptional sensation of heat after food.

For other points on the Conception Vessel, click below:

Ren-1HuiyinYin Meeting Place
Ren-2QuguCrooked Bone
Ren-3ZhongjiUtmost Middle
Ren-4GuanyuanSource Gate
Ren-5ShimenStonegate
Ren-6QihaiSea of Qi
Ren-7Yin JiaoYin Intersection/td>
Ren-8ShenqueSpirit Palace Pathway
Ren-9ShuifenWater Separation
Ren-10XiawanLower Stomach Duct
Ren-11JianliEarthing Within
Ren-12ZhongwanUtmost Middle
Ren-13ShangwanUpper Stomach Duct
Ren-14JuqueGreat Palace Gateway
Ren-15JiuweiDovetail
Ren-16ZhongtingCentral Hall
Ren-17ShangzhongMiddle of the Chest
Ren-18YutangJade Hall
Ren-19ZigongPurple Palace
Ren-20HuagaiFlower Covering
Ren-21XuanjiJade Pearl
Ren-22TiantuHeavenly Rushing
Ren-23LianquanClear Spring
Ren-24ChengjiangFluid Container

 

Click to return from Conception Vessel 13 to Acupuncture Point Location.

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