On the mid-line of the abdomen, 3/5 of the way down from the umbilicus to the superior edge of the pubic bone.
Unless there is scar tissue from an operation such as a Caesarean section, the point is nearly always exactly where it is supposed to be, so measure carefully!
Do not needle or moxa this point on pregnant women.
Needle perpendicularly half to 1 cun, or diagonally downwards slightly more. Because deep needling could penetrate the walls of the bladder, ask the patient to empty it first.
Tends to be downwards towards and into the genitals and urethra.
Moxa is excellent on Conception Vessel 4 for patients who have lost their strength either through age or infirmity. The point has the power to strengthen both yin and yang, and with moxibustion it works more on Yang (though Yin benefits too.)
With needle, if Yang is already deficient, Yin benefits most and indeed, a patient with some Yang but little Yin may feel ‘flattened’ for a while after having just acupuncture here. (Meaning that your patient may need to sleep awhile!)
However, it is doubtful if moxa here on someone who is Yang deficient will make them feel over-energised.
The following can only give an indication of how this point works. There are many other conditions which benefit from the point.
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The name in Chinese of Conception Vessel 4 is GuanYuan. Guan means hinge, or gate, Yuan means Original, in this context meaning original life, which nowadays we might translate as the life energy inherited from our parents.
So this point puts us into contact with the source of the original life force we inherited.
Conception Vessel 4, Conception Vessel 5 and Conception Vessel 6 all have somewhat similar qualities and if in doubt as to which to use, I use whichever has the most reflex reaction. This could be tenderness, or tightness, or weakness – like a depression from lack of tone.
However, unless the patient is fit, there is often a lack of tone in the lower abdomen. Such a lack of tone is sometimes accompanied, even in fit people, by much greater tightness in the upper abdomen, and sometimes tightness in the chest.
Using this point to strengthen the lower abdomen can have the effect of balancing and reducing the tightness further up which can make a great deal of difference to how the patient feels.
This is because the lower abdomen is our centre of gravity and is where meditators often concentrate their minds, taking energy from elsewhere, particularly the chest, shoulders, neck and head and putting it back where it first came from. Doing this makes the individual calmer and steadier.
Elderly or weak patients can be taught to moxa themselves regularly at Conception Vessel 4 to maintain good health and strength as they grow older. (But see below…)
However, although the point can greatly increase strength and vibrancy, it is a mistake to use JUST this point! Other points may do things better.
Perhaps, unless you are elderly, you should use this point only intermittently. If you rely on just this point to keep you fit, then ultimately it will stop working for you.
Also, if doing this yourself on Conception Vessel 4, it’s best to use a moxa stick – or similar – for this, rather than putting a cone of moxa on the skin as in the photo! That’s because a small mistake could turn into a big fire. Using a moxa stick achieves a similar result and much less dangerously.
To access other points on the Conception Vessel, click below:
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