Conception Vessel 4, Ren-4 Guanyuan

Conception Vessel 4
Conception Vessel 4 - Copyright
  • Conception Vessel 4 is a very Yin strengthening point
  • Over-used, it can ‘flatten’ you
  • Helps many yin deficiency symptoms
  • Moxa self-treatment helps some people maintain strength and immunity
Conception Vessel 4, Guanyuan, has many important properties and, in addition, is the …
  • Ren 4 is the Mu or Alarm point for the Small Intestine
  • Meeting point with the Spleen, Kidney, Liver and Penetrating channels


Location of Guanyuan

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!


Needling and Moxa on Ren 4



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.

Sensation of needling Conception Vessel 4

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.


ACTIONS of Ren-4

  • Strongly tonifies QiYinYang, and Blood 
  • Fortifies Original Qi and Jing Essence
  • Strengthens and supports Kidneys
  • Benefits Kidney and Spleen Yang (particularly with Moxa)
  • Strengthens and regulates the lower abdomen’s functionality
  • Brings excess Qi down
  • Regulates both excess and deficient conditions of Small Intestine


The following can only give an indication of how this point works. There are many other conditions which benefit from the point.

Ren 4 Strongly tonifies Qi, Yin, Yang, and Blood 

  • Increases immune-type function of body
  • Weakness of the whole body
  • Warming point
  • Strengthening point
  • For example, Conception Vessel 4 greatly strengthens Blood, perhaps because it is a meeting point (with the Kidney and Spleen channels) with the Liver Channel. It seems to act like a super Spleen 6, but with a special emphasis on Blood. (I’ve used it to great effect on people who felt weakenend from having lost or recently given blood.)

Fortifies Original Qi and Jing Essence

Increases endurance:

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Chilliness
  • After a stroke, to increase energy and vibrancy

Strengthens and supports Kidneys

  • Back pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Weak knees
  • Weak memory
  • Poor hearing
  • Incontinence of stools or urine

Benefits Kidney and Spleen Yang (particularly with Moxa)

  • Supports digestion
  • Diarrhoea or stools containing undigested food

Strengthens and regulates the lower abdomen’s functionality

  • Back pain – a strange one this, you might think, but often back pain exists because the abdomen is weak
  • Incontinence
  • Male infertility
  • Infertility in women
  • Spermatorrhoea
  • Vaginal discharges
  • Irregular menses
  • Bleeding in pregnancy
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Incontinence in children (and adults)
  • Soreness in abdomen after labour
  • Chronic discharges after labour
  • Retained placenta
  • Coldness in abdomen

Brings excess Qi down

Conception Vessel 4 Regulates both excess and deficient conditions of Small Intestine


  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Flooding diarrhoea with urgency, pain and offensive smell
  • Abdomen fullness or extreme swelling Hemorrhoids
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Hernia



  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Undigested food
  • Incontinence of Stools and Urine
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Comment on Conception Vessel 4

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.

Do it yourself at Conception Vessel 4?

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…)


Moxa on Ren 4


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:

Ren-1HuiyinYin Meeting Place
Ren-2QuguCrooked Bone
Ren-3ZhongjiUtmost Middle
Ren-4GuanyuanSource Gate
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-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

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