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 wrong. Read 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.
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: Aconite – fuzi – 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
So consequently it strongly tonifies Qi (original Qi) and warms the abdomen.
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:
- 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