Strengthens the Spleen
The Spleen is said to be the assembly point for the 5 Zang. I’ve always taken this to mean that it enables the zang organs to function properly. Therefore if all 5 are diseased, this point becomes particularly important.
- Cold and pain in the lumbar area, causing spasm or rigidity.
- Chronic Tiredness in the limbs
COMMENT on Liver 13, Zhangmen
Liver 13 is both a Spleen point and a Liver point and can almost be used for either one or the other, as well as both, so often does the desired outcome require the same treatment for both.
Partly because Liver 13 is a meeting or ‘Assembly’ point with the Gallbladder, I’ve used this point for thigh and leg pain, including sciatica (along with other points) when it seemed indicated, such as when the pain was either along the Spleen meridian or the Gallbladder or Liver meridian.
I don’t see why it shouldn’t also be used for shoulder or arm pain along the Lung, Pericardium or Three-heater channels because of those channels’ respective relationships with the Spleen, Liver and Gallbladder.
The name of the point – ‘Gate of the System’ is suggestive. I don’t read or speak Chinese, so hope someone will enlighten me, but the suffix ‘-men’ appears to be the same as that used in the other points with the same suffix, where it is usually translated as a gate, or portal. ‘Zhang’ on the other hand, may be the same as ‘zang’ in which case the point literally becomes the gate of the 5 Zang, making it an enormously important point for harmonising them. Whether this is the case, it certainly does seem to harmonise them.
Cupping this point can be very effective for Liver Wind conditions as well for other excess conditions arising from Liver invading Spleen.
What my lecturers told me, and what I do …
Many of my lecturers suggested I always use it with Liver 14 (which is the Alarm or Mu point of the Liver, and a meeting point of the Liver and Spleen channels with the Yin Linking vessel) to strengthen its effect, but I have seldom found this necessary.
Besides, Liver 14 is also the Exit point of the Liver channel, making it a kind of entry point of the Lung channel. Using it might temporarily change the Lung or other pulses, changing the dynamic between all the pulses and reducing the real feedback to me of the outcome of my treatment on Liver 13.
I belong to the minimalist school! I prefer to do the least possible to help the body change positively. If I do too much, I may upset something.
This is a great point for treating irritable bowel pain and for enabling the faeces to move. If someone habitually gets pain of this sort, you can show them where to massage over the point. Do emphasise, however, that such massage will be palliative only unless other points are treated properly after a considered diagnosis in Chinese Medicine.
Don’t self treat with Liver 13!
Please don’t be tempted to use this point on yourself! It can be quite deep on fat people and just under the skin on thin people. In both cases it is easy to go too deep and prick something better left alone. See an acupuncturist!
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