Conception Vessel 5, Ren-5, is the fifth point on the Conception Vessel, one of the ‘Extra-Ordinary’ acupuncture channels. (Click here for a fuller list of the acupuncture meridians.)
It is the Front Alarm (Mu) point of the Sanjiao. As mentioned below, the Sanjiao is a somewhat recondite part of Chinese medical theory, but for the purpose of this page, assume it means the harmonious and regulated working together of the three parts of the body’s trunk. That means the space above the diaphragm up to the neck, the space below the diaphragm down to level with the umbilicus, and the space inferior to the level of the umbilicus down to the groin and pubic bone. As front mu point for the Sanjiao, if sore it suggests some form of disharmony in one or more of these three spaces.
Ren 5, together with adjacent points Conception Vessel 4 and Conception Vessel 6, form the Dantian, the centre of gravity of the body. As such, they are important points in Eastern forms of meditation and energy development.
Location of Ren-5
On the midline, 2 cun inferior to the umbilicus, the distance from the centre of the umbilicus to the superior border of the pubis symphisis bone being 5 cun.
So Conception Vessel 5 is two-fifths of the way down, or three-fifths of the way up.
Needling Conception Vessel 5
Perpendicular, from 1 to 2 cun
Old books forbid the use of Ren 5 in women. Whatever you believe, don’t needle this point on a woman who is pregnant.
Moxibustion: old books forbid moxa on Ren 5 in women. Otherwise, up to 25 cones.
In lower abdomen and down to urethra.
ACTIONS of Conception Vessel-5
Warning: Conception Vessel 5, Ren 5, is said to cause sterility in women. Having warned you about this, I report merely that many excellent acupuncturists say that, at the request of the patients concerned, they have tried to use it for this purpose, without any success.
Some even say the women got pregnant faster than usual.
However, perhaps we shouldn’t totally ignore these old warnings! I advise that this point not be used before puberty in females or, less certainly, on virgins who may wish to conceive later.
But if a woman has already conceived a healthy baby, I would see no reason not to use Ren 5, other things being equal. And in fact, in a healthy woman, I really see no reason not to use it.
Perhaps because of that ancient warning, I think Conception Vessel 5 is used less often than it might be. The problem is that two very powerful and much used points lie adjacent to it, Conception Vessel 4 below, and Conception Vessel 6 above it. These do so many different things that we forget this point or perhaps are cautious about using it.
Front Mu point of the Sanjiao
But being the front Mu or Alarm point of the Sanjiao makes this point potentially very powerful and useful. ‘Mu’ is translated also as Collecting point, which is a better way of explaining it once you understand a little about the way acupuncture theory works. (Not much use to you if you’re new to all this, of course!)
Being a Gate, the point can be used for allowing unwanted energy to dissipate and for ‘putting in’ energy in case of deficiency. (Actually, acupuncture doesn’t really ‘put in’ energy: it stimulates the body to perform more efficiently in the manner described by the actions of the point in question.)
The Sanjiao is hard to understand, even for us acupuncturists, partly because it has several different meanings and uses. It seems every generation of acupuncturists produces a new theory about it.
What we do know is that the Sanjiao is able to collect what is called the ‘Yuan’ or ‘Original’ Qi, from its source at Conception vessel 4, Yuan Guan (‘Original Gate’). It can then spread it throughout the body, lying as it does immediately above Yuan Guan, Conception Vessel 4, the Source of Original Life.
The point also has local uses derived from its location in the lower abdomen.
So the way I understand this point is as follows.
- Spreads Original (Yuan) Qi across all compartments of the body. In so doing, it strengthens Kidney qi, especially Kidney Yang qi.
- Raises Sinking Qi
- Regulates the lower abdomen and the water passages
- Helps balance and regulate the actions of the Upper ‘Burning Space’ ie the Chest or Thorax
- Helps regulate the Middle ‘Burning Space’ being the upper abdomen function
Here are examples of what those actions might mean, in practice:
Spreads Original (Yuan) Qi across all compartments of the body
- Strengthens Kidney Yang and Qi
- Coldness, Tiredness, Debility, Deficient conditions
- Loose stools
- Weak voice
- Retracted testes (but the cause of this isn’t always deficiency in Yuan Qi, in which case using this point might make no difference)
Ren 5 Raises Sinking Qi
- Weak function of uterus
- Prolapse of uterus, abdomen, anus
- Menorrhagia from deficiency
- Prolonged vaginal discharges
- Bearing-down, labour-like, dragging, pressing-down sensations in abdomen and uterus or vagina
- Ongoing or continuous but light menstrual bleeding