Conception Vessel 16, Ren-16, is the 16th acupuncture point along the Conception Vessel. It’s got a great name ‘Central Hall’, but I’ve hardly ever used the point, and I don’t think other acupuncturists use it much.
Still, it does have its uses, and its name suggests that it may have a consolidating effect on character, (though I speculate).
Location of Ren-16
On the mid-line, at the sterno-costal notch. The point is usually level with the fifth inter-costal space where it intersects the vertical line through the nipples.
Transverely either superiorly or inferiorly along the midline. Up to 0.5 cun. Vertical insertion quickly touches the underlying bone and may be painful. It could also bend the tip of the needle making it harder to manipulate and remove.
I haven’t used this often enough to be clear about the usual needle sensation.
Up to 5 cones.
ACTIONS of Conception Vessel 16
- Descends Stomach Qi
- Clears fullness in the Chest
- Difficulty swallowing food because of oesophageal constriction
- Vomiting after eating
- Poor digestion
Comment on Conception Vessel 16
I don’t think this point is much used. There are many other points which do what it does and for which finding deqi is easier.
However, the very fact that we don’t use it probably means we don’t know how to use it. Its name – Central Hall – perhaps suggests more importance than we attribute to it.
I’ve only used it a few times, each of them for narrowing of the oesophagus with difficulty swallowing, and food returning because it couldn’t descend. I used it because it overlay where the pain was. It seemed to work fast and the food went down just fine. I haven’t used it for fullness in the chest, mainly because it didn’t occur to me, unlike other points.
In some ways it works like Conception Vessel 13 which also assists the descending of food. But other points further up the Conception Vessel have similar local properties so perhaps this is really just a local point.
Against that, some Japanese acupuncturists have found it useful for neuro-vascular compression of the neck, particularly around the scalenius anterior muscle – but you have to know how to treat it.
Something more about the name Zhongting – Central Hall. Points get their names for various reasons, one of them being a description of the location of the point. Others denote the action of the point and many suggest a process.
Here the Central, or ‘Middle’ Hall is probably the epigastrium. If so, you’d think this point had more important properties than just helping you swallow food.
And, having written my book “Qi Stagnation – Signs of Stress” (also see below) I am re-considering Ren 16 because one of the signs of stress in Stomach Qi is not being able to descend Qi properly.
If you cannot descend food, you cannot digest it which leads inevitably to Blood Deficiency and/or Qi Deficiency. These are both potential progenitors of Qi Stagnation. Since the Shen, the Spirit, lives in the Blood, or at least is considered in Chinese medicine to ‘rest’ there, a point named Central Hall begins to take on new resonance.
Having only used the point, as mentioned above, to descend food, I haven’t tried to discover whether Conception-Vessel-16 has more ambitious claims to fame.
So if you are a budding acupuncturist, I suggest you do not try to base an entire treatment around this point in the hope thereby of instilling enormous confidence and joie de vivre (which one might say are signs of an ebullient Shen) in your patient!
To access other points on the Conception Vessel, click below: