Conception Vessel 6
Ren-6   Qihai: 'Sea of Qi'

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Conception Vessel 6 is one of the most important acupuncture points in the body.

It's the sixth point along the Conception Vessel acupuncture channel, and is capable of harnessing the inherent but dormant energy of the body, and so greatly enhancing its capability.

Locating Ren-6

1.5 cun inferior to the centre of the umbilicus.

Given that the distance between the superior part of the pubic bone and the umbilicus is a distance of 5 cun, working out the distance of 1.5cun can be a problem, because 1.5 cun is less than one-third of 5 cun!

  • (1) There are various ways to do it. Because 1.5 is half 3, and 5 is half 10, you could just as easily say the point is 3 tenths of the way down from the umbilicus to the pubic bone. In that case, measure the distance off in lots of 2 tenths and then divide the distance between the second and fourth tenths by two and there's the point. However, this is really the same as you have to divide the distance by 10 instead of 5. Some people like this however as they have the minds of accountants and it makes it more precise for them. I used to be an accountant but I don't do it that way.
  • (2) There is a fairly general agreement that the width of the middle and index fingers (of the patient) when held together is 1.5 cun. The distance is measured at the level of what is called the proximal interphalangeal joint. This is the first joint as you proceed from the knuckle towards the finger-tip. Most people can bend this joint through at least 90 degrees - a right angle, unlike the second interphalangeal joint which lacks such flexibility. So you get the patient to place his index and middle fingers together on his abdomen inferior to the umbilicus. If the medial side of the index finger is level with the centre of the umbilicus, the lateral side of the middle finger should mark the location of Qihai.
  • (3) That's fine if the patient doesn't mind doing it and has fingers. Not all patients have fingers, though most start with them - but not all. So if methods one and two don't suit you, you need a back-up. My system depends on rough approximation, like an engineer - I studied engineering at university and approximations suit me. (Don't scoff at approximations: even when they send rockets to the Moon, engineers still used approximations, although admittedly the tolerances they allow for are finer than you'll be using with this, method 3.) So method 3? Divide the distance between umbilicus and pubic bone by 2. Now divide the upper half (which is 2.5 cun) by 2, and you arrive at 1.25cun down the distance from umbilicus to pubis. There really isn't much difference between 1.25 and 1.5, so go a smidgeon further down. Then be brave and insert the needle and feel for the point.
  • (4) There is another way! One third of 5 is just under 1.7 cun. So you could just divide the distance by 3 and then go up a smidgeon, instead of down a smidgeon.
  • (5) Of course you can get clever measuring devices or you can use an elastic band marked of into 5 divisions, and lots of people do this. For me, method 3 usually finds the point.

Needling Conception Vessel 6

Do not needle this point in pregnant women.

Otherwise, 1 to 2 cun, perpendicular to the skin.

Needle sensation
Up to the umbilicus, down to the urethra, and across to wherever Qi is stagnant or deficient in the abdomen.

NB! Some people have low energy and even if your point location has been precise and your depth and direction of insertion exact, it may take a while to 'awake' the point.

Sometimes using other points brings it to the surface, like Tsusanli, Stomach 36 or Taiyuan, Lung 9 - but in someone who is very weak you may be rightly cautious of using too many points at the same time. If one of the reasons you are using this point is Yang deficiency, then moxa (see below) may awaken it; once it is awake you can rouse it further with your acupuncture needle.

In young and/or healthy people with abundant Qi, the point can respond very quickly and you may find that the needle really does not need to penetrate far to get a reaction. Compare that with older or weaker patients for whom you may initially feel the tip of the needle is inside an empty tub.

When you need to strengthen Yang, Conception Vessel 6 is an excellent place to moxa. In case of collapse of Yang, use on a slice of ginger for added effect.

ACTIONS of Conception Vessel 6

  • Shu point of Huang, the area just above the diaphragm
  • Strongly tonifies Qi and Original Qi
  • Strongly tonifies Kidney Qi
  • Strongly tonifies Yang
  • Raises sinking Qi
  • Moves and regulates the Lower Burner, the Lower abdominal function

Strongly tonifies Qi and Original Qi

  • Overall weakness
  • Poor digestion due to poor digestive power eg giving:
  • - emaciation
  • - weakness of strength and in limbs
  • - weak pulse
  • - weak voice

Strongly tonifies Kidney Qi

  • Infertility
  • Impotence
  • Sterilty
  • Lumbar pain, sore knees
  • Insomnia from fear
  • Spermatorrhoea with wet dreams
  • Retraction of testes
  • Acute pain in chest from angina pectoris

Strongly tonfies Yang

  • Coldness of whole body, or in chest or upper or lower abdomen or in the limbs
  • Weak voice
  • Loose stools, diarrhoea, dysentery from Cold in the intestines
  • Chronic ongoing menstrual flow from deficiency
  • Ongoing discharge from vagina
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Weak erection (of penis - but if the impotence is caused by something other than the purposes/actions of Conception Vessel 6, it won't work and may depress the patient further. So please diagnose your patient carefully and correctly before relying too heavily on this point!)
  • Improves digestion

Raises sinking Qi

  • Prolapse of uterus, rectum or vagina
  • Uterine haemorrhage (eg after childbirth)
  • Incontinence
  • Ongoing blood loss or discharge after labour

Moves and regulates the Lower Burner, the Lower abdominal function

  • Problems arising from Qi stagnation, stasis of Blood, deficiency of Qi or Cold, but also from excess
  • Swollen abdomen with panting
  • Hernia
  • Irregular menses
  • Dysmenorrhoa
  • Haematuria (blood in urine)
  • Pain or heat in testes
  • Abdomen swollen hard
  • Constipation
  • Inability to urinate
  • Ileocaecal pain (eg appendicitis type pain - use moxa)
  • Abdominial masses (because this Qi controls Blood and abdominal masses derive from Blood that isn't moving)

COMMENT on Conception Vessel 6

Conception Vessel 6 is a powerful revitalizing and reinvigorating point, but also good for all genital, urinary and abdominal conditions.

It regulates the function of Qi and its circulation, thereby dispelling weakness and Damp.

It helps to circulate fluids and assists urination.

It benefits the uterus and the heart and with Conception Vessel 4 it strengthens the body's resistance.

With Spleen 10 it tonifies the Qi to tonify the Blood.

If Qi stagnation (see my book below) arises from Qi deficiency then this point may be very effective in moving the stagnation.

Conception Vessel 6 is also a good point for anxiety, although there are many causes of anxiety and this point doesn't address all of them.

In modern developed societies, many people allow themselves through long hours of work, too strenous exercise, poor diet, rest and sleep, and expectations with anxiety, to get over-tired.

For them, this point can be very tempting. However, Chinese medicine and acupuncture work long-term because they emphasize balance. That balance is between yin and yang, Qi and Blood.

Just boosting Yang can imbalance people, and unfortunately you probably won't see what happens.

I have used this analogy on this site already, but please don't boost this point until you have put other matters into balance.

Otherwise, it may be a bit like putting rocket fuel into a small car.

Yes it may go very fast and your patient may seem very pleased, but if the individual driving the car is angry or otherwise emotional (imbalanced between yin and yang, qi and blood, and in the five phase cycle, for example,) they may not be able to control their car's energy, and end up in the ditch.

Though your patient may be insistent - perhaps they read about Conception Vessel 6 here! - have compassion by all means, but tempered with good judgement!

To access other points on the Conception Vessel, click below:
Ren-1 Huiyin Yin Meeting Place Ren-13 Shangwan Upper Stomach Duct
Ren-2 Qugu Crooked Bone Ren-14 Juque Great Palace Gateway
Ren-3 Zhongji Utmost Middle Ren-15 Jiuwei Dovetail
Ren-4 Guanyuan Source Gate Ren-16 Zhongting Central Hall
Ren-5 Shimen Stonegate Ren-17 Shangzhong Middle of the Chest
Ren-6 Qihai Sea of Qi Ren-18 Yutang Jade Hall
Ren-7 Yin Jiao Yin Intersection/td> Ren-19 Zigong Purple Palace
Ren-8 Shenque Spirit Palace Pathway Ren-20 Huagai Flower Covering
Ren-9 Shuifen Water Separation Ren-21 Xuanji Jade Pearl
Ren-10 Xiawan Lower Stomach Duct Ren-22 Tiantu Heavenly Rushing
Ren-11 Jianli Earthing Within Ren-23 Lianquan Clear Spring
Ren-12 Zhongwan Utmost Middle Ren-24 Chengjiang Fluid Container

Click to return from Conception Vessel 6 to Acupuncture Point location.

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