Liver 5 Ligou – Woodworm Groove

Liver 5 - Ligou
Liver 5 - Ligou

Liver 5 is one of the main points used for treating genital and urinary problems, though it does far more, but people forget this.

  • Luo-connecting or Junction point


On the medial surface of the leg, 5 cun superior to the inner malleolus, immediately behind the tibia. If you measure up the medial edge of the tibia one-third of the way to the knee-joint there is often a small notch or indentation in the tibia at the level of the point.

Some put the point as being in that indentation on the bone at that point, others just behind it between the tibia and the gastrocnemius muscle.

An alternative location is half-way between the ankle bone (medium malleolus) and Liver 8 where there may be a small depression in the skin, or pitting oedema, particularly if the point is indicated.

Needling Liver 5

Insert either perpendicularly (0.5 – 1.00 cun) to the skin or obliquely upwards towards the knee, slightly deeper.

Needle sensation

Locally, a distending sensation: sometimes up towards the genitals or lateral lower ribs on the same side as the point being needled.

I have also noticed its sensation down to the area of Gallbladder 43.

Moxa on Liver 5

I don’t think I’ve ever moxa’d this point, but I’m not sure why not: perhaps because I use it more for clearing damp and heat than for putting yang into the system. I suppose up to 3 moxa is OK.

Actions of Ligou

Hot wet weather leads to humidity
Ligou Liver 5 for Damp Heat

Being a luo-connecting point gives this point special characteristics in addition to its position.

  • As the Liver luo-connecting point, it has a special relationship with the genitals, being used to clear DampHeat and Damp-Heat from them.
  • It also affects the lower abdomen, also mainly clear Damp and Heat from it.
  • It opens up the whole Liver channel. I like using it for pain or distension in the lateral abdomen.
  • Because of its relationship with the Lower abdomen, it is a great point for painful or irregular menses. In a way, it is like a lesser Taichong Liver 3, but with more specificity in its location of action.
  • Can be used to share Liver excess with the Gallbladder. For instance, sometimes needling this point sends the deqi sensation across to the Gallbladder channel at the same or similar level on the leg. Perhaps this is why the point is sometimes used for persistent erections in men when the condition arises from Liver Fire.
  • This point is useful for retention of urine, especially if from Liver Qi stagnation.


Bear in mind that Damp and Heat produce symptoms of itch, inflammation, discharge and swelling and so any of these symptoms in the genital area suggest this point.

Another use for the point is where emotional tensions produce the sensation of a plum-stone in the throat which is globus hystericus. Other Liver points also treat this as do points on other channels, many of which traverse the throat, but this point is often the first choice.

Comment on Liver 5 effects

Liver 5 is a great point for menstrual disorders, but also for clearing stagnant Qi in the abdomen, with symptoms such as distension from trapped wind when the underlying cause is frustration or anger.

Liver 5 is also good when there is depression from either fright or fear. I suspect this is also because the Gallbladder is so tied up with courage and ‘gall’ and the luo-connecting point adjusts the energy between Liver and Gallbladder.

Other Uses of Ligou

The point is one of a number that may benefit impotence in men, assuming it is caused by Liver deficiency or Damp-Heat. (Click for more on sexual impotence.)

Liver ‘deficiency’ really means Liver Blood deficiency, often together with Liver Qi stagnation, and this point can help the combination. However, impotence arises from various causes in Chinese medicine and the condition needs to be carefully diagnosed before relying on any one point.

The point is also mentioned for treatment of low back pain whether due to excess (eg from Wind or Cold – when one might use moxa) or deficiency – when one might use this point together with lower points on the Conception vessel because the Liver primary channel has branches to Conception Vessel points 2, 3 and 4: in the same way that one uses points on the Bladder channel to treat abdominal problems, points on the abdomen can be used for low back problems.

This is a main point for strengthening the lower abdomen but I do not always find the point easily nor find it that easy to use.

Click here to find out about the Liver’s functions in Chinese medicine

Click to find out about the liver organ in WESTERN medicine


For points along the Liver channel, click below:


Liver-1DadunGreat Clarity
Liver-2XingjianWalk Between
Liver-3TaichongGreat Pouring
Liver-4ZhongfengMiddle Seal
Liver-5LigouWoodworm Groove
Liver-6ZhongduCentral Capital
Liver-7XiguanKnee Joint
Liver-8QuquanSpring at the Bend
Liver-9YinBaoYin Wrapping
Liver-10ZuwuliLeg Five Miles
Liver-11YinlianYin Angle
Liver-12JimaiUrgent Pulse
Liver-13ZhangmenSystem Gate
Liver-14QimenCycle Gate
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