Opening the Gates

Acupuncture is a beautiful and elegant medical art form. There are countless needling locations and combinations and each practitioner develops their own style as their practice deepens and shifts. You may go to one acupuncturist who places only four small needles and another whom you lose count as you begin to drift, and while they have very different techniques, both can have potent effects. 

A point combination that I have come to love is called The 4 Gates. The 4 Gates are made up of two points that are needled bilaterally: Hégû (LI 4) and Tàichōng (LV 3).


li4 acupuncture point

Hégû, or Joining Valley, is located on the top of the hand in the valley between the index finger and thumb. This point, which sits on the Large Intestine channel, is an incredibly powerful Qi mover. As the source point of the channel, it taps into and uses the deep, primordial Qi in the channel. The point directs treatment to the face and can be used for all types of disorders located on the face or within the sensory organs. It is also used to relieve wind (spasms) and promote labor.

Tàichōng, or Great Rushing, is located on the top of the foot and rests in the angle of the root of the big toe. This point is used to promote free-flow of Qi in the Liver channel (the Liver channel is where stress and anger stagnate) and, like Hégû, it’s effects are particularly robust as it is also a source point. The point also has the ability to subdue uprising energy that can result in headaches and dizziness, regulate menstruation and nourish both Liver blood and yin. lv3 acupuncture point

Used together as The 4 Gates, these points aid the body in redistributing Qi and blood. They also have powerful subduing effects on spasms and pain, as well as address stagnation in the physical and mental realms. I like to use them to subtlety help the body become reacquainted with its own healing capabilities. The results can be profound and even magical!

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