Acupuncture Points Notebook

Location Guides:

: Guanyuan : Gate of Origin

Ren-4 : Extraordinary Conception Vessel 4

Alternative Name(s): Mingmen, Huangzhiyuan, Xuehai, Qihai, Dahai, Dantian, Sanjiejiao
Translation: Gate of Life, Origin of Huang, Sea of Blood, Sea of Qi, Great Sea, Cinnabar Field, Triple Intersection

Front Mu point of the small intestine
Doorway to the Earth Point
Master Tung's Bowel Nest Twenty-Three

Meeting of Conception Vessel with Spleen, Liver, Kidney, Bladder Divergent, Kidney Divergent, Small Intestine Divergent and Heart Divergent

On the midline of the lower abdomen, 3 cun inferior to the umbilicus and 2 cun superior to the pubic symphysis.

Perpendicular insertion 0.5 - 1 cun, or oblique insertion directed inferiorly 1 - 1.5 cun

Deep insertion will penetrate a full bladder which should therefore be emptied before treatment. No deep needling in pregnancy, or perpendicular needling in advanced pregnancy.

TCM Actions:
Fortifies the original qi and benefits essence
Tonifies and nourishes the kidneys
Warms and fortifies the spleen
Benefits the uterus and assists conception
Regulates the lower jiao and benefits the bladder
Regulates small intestine qi
Restores collapse

TCM Indications:
  • Kidney deficiency, Kidney taxation, weakness of the lumbar region and legs, pain of the lumbar region and the bones and joints of the legs in the middle aged and elderly, aversion to cold in the back, withered ears, gradual darkening of the face, fear, fright fear leading to deficiency consumption, deep rooted bone ulcers due to fear, frequent urination, enuresis, seminal emission, white turbidity, impotence.
  • Infertility, infertility with cold sensation in the vagina, amenorrhoea, bleeding during pregnancy, persistent flow of lochia, post-partum abdominal pain, red and white leucorrhoea.
  • Taxation heat, deficiency consumption with cough, tidal fever with coughing of blood, dyspnoea with inability to lie down, Kidney deficiency dyspnoea, insomnia, dizziness, wind dizziness, headache, wasting and thirsting disorder.
  • Lethargy and lack of strength, emaciation of the four limbs despite much eating, weariness of the four limbs, weakness of Spleen qi, undigested food in the stool, diarrhoea, dysenteric disorder, incontinence of the stool in the elderly, belching, vomiting of phlegm.
  • Retention of urine due to foetal pressure, retention of urine, dark urine, stone painful urinary dysfunction, the five types of painful urinary dysfunction, blood in the urine, burning pain on urination, oedema that leads to pain of the lateral costal region.
  • Cold qi entering the lower abdomen giving rise to pain, cold accumulation with deficiency, running piglet qi rising to the Heart, fullness of the abdomen, back pain and twisting pain below the umbilicus that gradually radiates to the genitals, sudden painful shan disorder, intense heat in the hypogastrium.
  • Sudden turmoil disorder, windstroke, heaviness of the body like a mountain, tremor of the hands.

    Superficial Innervation: Iliohypogastric nerve (L1)
    Dermatome Segment: L1

    One of the principle acupuncture points for fostering the original qi, improving jing (essence) and nourishing the kidneys.

    Equal to Qihai Ren-6 for tonifying the Kidneys but has a stronger effect on nourishing blood, yin and jing (essence) rather than qi or yang. Both points share the name of Dantian referring to the lower energy centre.

    If the deqi sensation can propagate downwards to the genitals, this is considered especially effective for treatment of reproductive disorders. This is best achieved by angling the needle inferiorly in the direction of the genitals.

    Possible location of lower dan tian (Deadman, 2001). See also Qihai Ren-6 and Shenque Ren-8.

    Ling Shu Ch. 21, on Cold and Heat Diseases, advises this point for numbness and weakness of the four limbs due to injury with blood loss, a fall or attack by Wind and Cold. The same paragraph also recommends supplementing the three Yin conduits in instances of bony Bi when all joints are useless and ache with sweating and Heart vexation. The suggestion is that this point is to be used as an addition in those special circumstances due to its influence on all three leg Yin channels.

    In Tung lineage acupuncture the Bowel Nest 23 (Fu Chao Er Shi San) are a group of points located in a line at 1 cun intervals between Ren-2 and Ren-10. An additional eight points on either side form a 4x5 grid at the levels of Ren-9 to Ren-5, also at 1 cun intervals. Ren-8, on the navel, is not included.

    They are pricked using Tung's method in local disorders of pain, stagnation and heat in the abdomen such as uteritis, nephritis, umbilical area pain, enteritis, appendicitis and intestinal cancers (McCann, 2014, Pricking the Vessels).

    Medieval phlebotomy point (John de Foxton, 1408: Liber Cosmographiae, maa.cam.ac.uk)

    Lad and Durve (2008) in Marma Points of Ayurveda locate a point between here and Shimen Ren-5 called Basti and associate it with the doshas: Apana Vayu, Vyana Vayu, Ranjaka Pitta and Kledaka Kapha.

    They give the following functions:
    - Regulates bladder and treated genitourinary dysfunction
    - Regulates apana vayu
    - Relieves pain
    - Increases circulation and enhances function in the pelvic organs

    In Indian Ayurvedic and Siddha traditions this would be the location of the Malamarmmam point, literally the "excretion blocking vital point" which arrests defecation if struck (Sieler, 2015, Lethal Spots Vital Secrets, p.41).

    In Tibetan medicine:
    Moxa point (AMNH, Tibetan Medical Paintings).

    If gates along the microcosmic orbit are considered in terms of qabalistic sephirot then this point would be equivalent to hod along with Qihai Ren-6.

    Reference Notes: (click to display)