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Spleen 3 is the third point on the ‘foot great yin’ acupuncture channel known as the Spleen channel.
On the medial edge of the foot proximal to the metatarsophalangeal articulation of the big toe.
Slide your finger proximally over the big toe joint along the medial edge of the foot until it drops into the point just inferior to the bone or on the border there between the white and red flesh.
Vertical insertion up to 1 cun, but usually 0.5 cun is enough. Locally the point can be a little sore with a distending sensation.
Moxibustion: use up to 3 cones, or if using indirect, radiant heat, no more than 5 minutes. Be careful with elderly patients whose nerves may not tell them it’s burning before the damage has been done! For them, first warm their feet up before doing moxa. )
Warming their feet will also help acupuncture work better.
When your Spleen fails in this, you get not just tiredness but often a build-up of Damp and/or Phlegm. Of these, this point is better at clearing Damp. (However, I like this point for treating chesty fullness from phlegm, along with other points.)
As such, it:
Because the Spleen is so important in the manufacture of Blood, Spleen 3 helps steady the pulse. We need Blood for personality and sleep, so this point helps in various ways, including controlling palpitations.
Because a woman’s cycle is so tied up with Blood production, some acupuncturists prefer to avoid Spleen 3 in the week before menses appear. Using it may overstretch a woman’s body’s ability to manage her cycle. Indeed, if using it for gynaecological reasons, check for pain over the uterus and see if pressure on Spleen 3 eases it. This helps to confirm that the point is appropriate.
Its name, Taibai, connects two ideas: ‘tai’ means great or supreme; ‘bai’ means white, clear, pure or empty. This is a connection with Metal of which Spleen’s Earth is the Mother element. (This will make more sense after you read our page on 5 Elements acupuncture.) So Spleen 3 helps Metal work better. Think of Metal as a refining, clarifying energy.
This point also relates to Lung 9, Taiyin (Great Yin) on the wrist which is the Earth point on the Lung channel. So Taibai is the Earth point on the mother element of the Earth point on the Child. (All very symbolic if you know what you’re talking about.)
Practically speaking what that means is that to strengthen the action of your Lungs you might use Taibai at the same time as Lung 9.
To provide a strong Earth enhancing treatment, you might use Spleen 3 together with Stomach 36. Both are Earth points on their respective channels. (Ideally you would use them during the horary time appropriate ie between 7am and 11am.)
Even better if done in autumn, the Earth element’s time of year.
Using the same symbology, you might consider it during either the later stages of a disease to assist towards convalescence, or during a patient’s autumnal years.
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