Conception Vessel 8 Ren-8 Shenque

Conception Vessel 8 - Ren 8
Conception Vessel 8 - Ren 8 - Copyright

Conception Vessel 8, Ren-8, Shenque, Spirit Palace Gateway is at the centre of your belly button! It is the eighth point on the Conception Vessel, one of the so-called ‘extraordinary’ acupuncture channels. But don’t needle it – for reasons explained below.

It’s a great point for warming and strengthening your system, when that’s what’s you need. And there’s a way to do it right, as well as a way to do it wrongRead On!

Location of Ren-8

In the centre of the umbilicus.

Needling Conception Vessel 8? NO!

Don’t needle this point!

All the acupuncture books I’ve ever read or lectures attended have been quite clear on this. I suspect this is because a needle might penetrate directly into the bowel beneath.

Instead …

Moxa or massage it!

To moxa it, first place a slice of ginger or some salt or crushed garlic in the umbilicus up to the surrounding skin level. What you do next is place the  moxa cones on this, lighting one after the other as they finish burning  through, and replacing with the next.

If you are doing this yourself, when alone, please be very careful! 

It is extremely easy to set light not just to the moxa but to clothing or bed-sheets. Guess what happens next? You burn too.

It is easy for hot moxa ash to fall onto your skin: painful and disfiguring. I urge you to get someone else to do it, taking precautions against burns and upsets. This is definitely where you should know your fire safety drill in advance!

What if your umbilicus is flat?

If your umbilicus is quite flat, then you can moxa directly onto it. But if a blister forms here, you should NOT pierce it: just let it dry out naturally. So if a blister appears, you’ve probably overdone it. There are, in Chinese Medicine, sometimes benefits from having blisters appear, but these are not normally appropriate for self-treatment!

A moxa stick held over it is also effective.  But depending on the topology, you may burn the surrounding skin before effectively warming the point itself, so take care. With a moxa stick you don’t need to fill the umbilical cavity first.

Salt, ginger, ground garlic and even a slice of aconite have been used for ‘infill’, each having its own particular characteristics. (Beware: Aconitefuzi – is a very yang poison, banned in some countries.)

Best Advice? Get a professional acupuncturist to show you how to do it before you do it to someone else. Dissuade your friends from doing it to themselves. Always get someone else to do it for you if you’re the patient.

Why do I make such a fuss about this? Because when burning ash hits your skin, or your clothes burn, it happens fast, and your natural reactions are galvanised, compounding the situation. Please take care!

This is a great point, but please respect it.

ACTIONS of Conception Vessel 8


Restores Yang,

So consequently it strongly tonifies Qi (original Qi) and warms the abdomen.

Rescues Yang

Yang is the original source of energy that with Yin makes life. That means that this point is where our bodies received life in our mothers womb from her Ming Men. At that time what becomes our umbilicus was indeed our life-support system.

Moxa on Conception Vessel 8 helps re-energise our first, or original, life-source again.

Yang is warming and the first action of this point is to warm, not just the local area but the body and indeed soul when it might have seemed that it had ‘given up’.

What sort of situations might this be appropriate for?

  • Resuscitation in sudden collapse
  • Applications of this are for situations of deficiency or cold causing:
  • Oedema
  • Ongoing diarrhoea from weakness of digestion. For instance, these might be babies breastfeeding. Or it could be the elderly – but err on the cautious side when treating very old, very weak or very young people. The older or weaker patients may not be able to tell you soon enough before their skin burns, and babies respond VERY fast to moxa here. A little goes a long way.
  • Borborymous – abdominal noises
  • Coldness in the abdomen
  • Infertility from Yang deficiency
  • Distension of the abdomen so if appropriate it could be used in some cases of starvation to help the needy digest food
  • Sudden loss of consciousness from shock or following an epileptic fit – in Chinese medicine, known as ‘windstroke’ – causing collapse and flaccidity. So don’t use this point if there is great tension in the patient, signs of which might be clenched fists or teeth, limbs in spasm and hunched shoulders etc. In other words, you would only use it here if the patient was limp and floppy, perhaps with open, drooling mouth, eyes open but unseeing.
  • Prolapse of rectum
  • Haemorrhoids from weakness
  • Frequent miscarriage

Yang warmth then nourishes Spleen Yang, which not only transports nourishment throughout the body, but holds things in place:

  • Undigested food in stools
  • Poor digestion from cold and weakness
  • Runny tummy from cold
  • Urinary pain from Qi stagnation
  • Dryness and hypothermia of extremities
  • General debility
  • Swelling in bladder from inability to urinate
  • Prolapse of the abdomen
  • Acute conditions of gastrointestinal weakness eg dysentery and cholera
  • Incessant lactation from cold or weakness

COMMENT on Conception Vessel 8

In developed economies Conception Vessel 8 isn’t used much these days because we have Accident and Emergency services that we call on for the serious states of collapse which using this point might otherwise merit.

However, it can so powerfully generate Yang that I can think of cases of debility and illness in the elderly where I’ve found it enormously helpful.

In some cases I’ve arranged for the patient’s partner to apply the moxa daily, with impressive results that enlivened the individual much faster than expected.

But please, don’t moxa Conception Vessel 8 on yourself!

To access other points on the Conception Vessel, click below:


Ren-1HuiyinYin Meeting PlaceRen-13ShangwanUpper Stomach Duct
Ren-2QuguCrooked BoneRen-14JuqueGreat Palace Gateway
Ren-3ZhongjiUtmost MiddleRen-15JiuweiDovetail
Ren-4GuanyuanSource GateRen-16ZhongtingCentral Hall
Ren-5ShimenStonegateRen-17ShangzhongMiddle of the Chest
Ren-6QihaiSea of QiRen-18YutangJade Hall
Ren-7Yin JiaoYin Intersection/td>Ren-19ZigongPurple Palace
Ren-8ShenqueSpirit Palace PathwayRen-20HuagaiFlower Covering
Ren-9ShuifenWater SeparationRen-21XuanjiJade Pearl
Ren-10XiawanLower Stomach DuctRen-22TiantuHeavenly Rushing
Ren-11JianliEarthing WithinRen-23LianquanClear Spring
Ren-12ZhongwanUtmost MiddleRen-24ChengjiangFluid Container
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