By Sara Calabro
Ever wonder why acupuncturists choose certain points? The AcuTake “Why Are You Doing That Point?” series has the answer.
So far we’ve looked at Liver 3 and Large Intestine 4, two popular acupuncture points that are frequently used together; Stomach 36, known for its energizing qualities; and Governing Vessel 20, a conversation-starter located on the top of the head.
This time we’re looking at a very widely used point called Spleen 6.
Spleen 6—also known as Sanyinjiao (Chinese name), Three Yin Intersection (English translation) and SP6 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located on the inside of the lower leg.
To find it yourself, place the pinkie-side edge of your hand against the high point of your medial malleolous (the big bone on the inside of your ankle). Spleen 6 is directly above the malleolous, at the other, index-finger edge of your hand (see picture below).
Spleen 6 is a three-for-one deal
The location of Spleen 6 is what makes it so widely used. Spleen 6 is the point at which the Spleen, Liver and Kidney meridians intersect—hence the name, Three Yin Intersection.
John Pirog, in his great book The Practical Application of Meridian Style Acupuncture, says that naming all of Spleen 6’s indications would “require an entire text.”
In A Manual of Acupuncture, author Peter Deadman calls Spleen 6 “one of the most important and widely used of the acupuncture points.”
It’s not just that Spleen 6 is a three-fer. Moreover, Spleen, Liver and Kidney—arguably more than other channels—are principally important in a significant number of functions throughout the body.
Westerners in particular, plagued by our overworked and stressed-out lifestyles, are disproportionately afflicted with patterns that affect the Liver and Spleen meridians. For this reason, Spleen 6 is included in almost all acupuncture treatments for general-wellness, balancing, and stress-reduction.
We could all use a little more Spleen 6 in our lives.
Ladies, remember this acupuncture point
Although Spleen 6 is used for many, many conditions, there are a few for which it is known to be especially effective. Gynecological conditions are at the top of the list.
Anything gynecological—PMS, irregular or painful menstruation, infertility, delayed or difficult labor, genital pain or itching—is from an acupuncture perspective directly related to Spleen, Liver and Kidney. Gynecological issues can stem from any (or all three) of these systems, so a point that influences them all is efficient and effective.
In fact, Spleen 6’s effect on a woman’s reproductive health is so powerful that the point is contraindicated during pregnancy.
Spleen 6 also addresses reproductive health in men. It is frequently used on men who complain of impotence, seminal emission and genital pain.
Spleen 6 is a lot to digest
After gynecology, digestion is the next best-known area that warrants love from Spleen 6.
Often used in combination with acupuncture point Stomach 36, Spleen 6 is particularly focused on resolving digestive and abdominal problems due to what is known as Dampness.
As it pertains to digestive disorders, Dampness can cause diarrhea, undigested food in the stool, abdominal distention or fullness, and weak appetite. Many of these symptoms are seen in that overworked and stressed-out Westerner mentioned above, because Dampness often is a sign of deficiency in the Spleen caused by an overactive Liver.
Spleen 6, in addition to being chosen when digestive or abdominal symptoms suggest Dampness, also is a go-to point for women whose digestive disturbances are accompanied by gynecological problems.
Other uses for Spleen 6 include difficult or painful urination, insomnia, dizziness, low back and knee pain, as well as ankle and foot pain because of its location.
As the connection point for the body’s Spleen, Liver and Kidney energies, Spleen 6 is multifaceted and powerful in its effects. Don’t be surprised if you see it pop up in your next acupuncture treatment.
Next up on “Why Are You Doing That Point?” is Yintang. Read it now.
Photo by Sara Calabro; SP6 infographic from A Manual of Acupuncture
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