Rumi’s Guest House

Reflection on Rumi


Rumi is a Sufi mystic and a 13th-century Persian poet whose poetry speaks of love which infuses the world. I recently came across the poem, “The Guest House” by Rumi, and it struck me that there is an acupuncture point which shares the same name, and interestingly, can influence precisely the emotional dynamic that Rumi describes. 


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

by Rumi

From SELECTED POEMS by Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks (Penguin Classics, 2004).


The acupuncture point, Guest House, is also referred to as Kidney 9 (KD9), for its sequence as the 9th point on the Kidney channel. (For ease of notation, points are often referred to by their channel and number, but each point has a traditional name that reflects on the function or anatomical location of the point.) Guest House, or KD9, is a point that I often incorporate into treatments for psycho-emotional conditions, such as anxiety or depression, when patients are struggling to move on from an emotional state, or feel emotionally shut down. 


Guest House is also sometimes referred to as the “beautiful baby point”, as it is used at the end of each trimester (traditionally with a golden needle), to prevent the transfer of heat toxins from the mother to the fetus. It is thought to prevent skin rashes or acne in newborns, and generally promote health for the infant. I’ve always thought that there is a connection between these two functions, and that the benefits for the baby are more than skin-deep. The neurochemical state of the mother greatly influences the neurochemical experience of the fetus, and research shows a connection between maternal stress (and states of anxiety or depression) and fetal brain development. Not to put more pressure on expecting mothers to do everything just right! Stressors in our life are often beyond our control. How we respond to them is something to consider.  Treating the psycho-emotional health of the mother, whether or not there’s a diagnosed “disorder”, could certainly influence the wellness of the baby, both in utero, and beyond.  


Stressors will always be present, and like all emotional states, their experience is part of life. What is important to remember is that they are guests in your house. They are not here to stay.  You must be able to welcome and release them, without trapping or storing them in your body, and without closing the door to all the positive experiences. Acupuncture excels at alleviating the effects of stress on the body. This beautiful acupuncture point is just one way to remind the body how to keep the guest house open.

Let us help manage the daily stressors of life through acupuncture. You can book a visit with Erin here.

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