The first acupuncture point on the external trajectory of the Du Mai is Changqiang (long strong). Chang is drawn as a broach that was used to tie back the hair of the Han dynasty people. In the times of the classical acupuncturists the length of one’s hair reflected age and experience. Thus the Chinese character ‘Chang’ evokes the concept of ‘growth and development over time’. Qiang is drawn as hectares of land and an archers bow, thus if one is skilful & strong the shot will reach its target. This image of ‘Qiang’ encapsulates strength, power & vigour. Thus this acupuncture point has the potential to bring out all the above qualities and engage them in a most powerful manner.
Yaoshu Du 2 (lumbar shu) is an acupuncture point I use often in my clinical practice. I find that it has the ability to regulate the entire spine & engage a parasympathetic state. It is interesting to note that in the Fudjido dictionary another character used to depict this acupuncture point translates to ‘space of marrow’. This is fascinating as the classical Chinese related the contents of the spinal cord and brain as ‘marrow’ & thus this may give an explanation as to why in its practical application this acupuncture point is able to regulate the nervous system so effectively.
We now arrive at Mingmen Du 4 (gate of life), with the character for ‘Ming’ drawn as a law or order with a mouth and seal. Essentially it is our destiny descended from the heavens dictating our fate, it is the code of our unique path of life. ‘Men’ is drawn as a gate & thus this implies that it is up to us to open it and draw on what the heavens have bestowed unto us. Following your true destiny, being in communion with the ‘descending heavenly virtue’ & manifesting this here on earth is ‘mingmen’. As a little practical side note I utilise this acupuncture point is a range of OBGYN conditions and direct Moxabustion is indicated in habitual miscarriage. If the ‘gate of life/mingmen’ is not open then how can the ‘heavens’ initiate an umbilical cord and ‘new life’.
The sixth acupuncture point on the Du Mai is Ji Zhong (centre of spine). Granted, this relates to the centre of the spine, yet interestingly enough it is at the level of Pishu/the back shu point of the spleen/pancreas (earth element). Thus this point also relates to the earth element which is the element at the ‘centre’ of the other four elements. It will come as no surprise that I utilise this region for diagnosis of sugar imbalances and pancreas issues in my acupuncture practice.
Now we arrive to the ever important region of Lingtai Du 10, Shendao Du 11, Shenzhu Du 12 & Taodao Du 13. This region relates very strongly to the emotional state of an individual and in my acupuncture practice if I find pressure pain at these regions I make it a priority to release said area of discomfort, tightness or pain. To understand why this region relates so strongly to the emotional and spiritual state of an individual we first need to look at the classical Chinese characters used to depict ‘Ling’, ‘Shen’ & ‘Dao’. Ling is drawn as rain falling from the heavens into the mouths of the three shaman women who with their dancing & prayers are calling for the rain to descend. They are in communion with heaven and earth & thus this character evokes a sense of the ‘divine’ & ‘spiritual’. ‘Shen’ is drawn as two hands that are pulling on a rope connecting to the heavens. It relates to inspiration, animation and union. The Character ‘Dao’ as in Shendao Du 11 or Taodao Du 13, relates to a person following a path or their ‘true’ path. Thus from this paragraph we can see that the mere fact that these characters (‘Ling’, ‘Shen’ & ‘Dao’) are present, dictates the deep connection they hold to an individual’s state of spirit & emotions & as such can be utilised in the acupuncture clinic to regulate & harmonise these aspects.
I hope this blog has been helpful in highlighting possibly a different way of looking at the Du Mai (meridian).
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Giancarlo Nerini - Acupuncturist (Melbourne)