It’s been a few weeks, but I had acupuncture again. I was there to support my digestive system, and the acupuncturist told me the most important point to address was Stomach 36. He said it was one of the first points he had learned and one that he frequently uses in his practice. I had written about Stomach 36 in an older post, but I forgot about it—both the post and the point. So I’m going to pretend this is all new because to me it feels like OH, RIGHT. STOMACH 36!! MY OLD FRIEND THAT I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT.
It’s like when you look in the freezer and way in the back you see a pint of Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk that you bought and by some freak of nature event, forgot about.
ST 36 is located below the knee, on the outside surface of the lower leg. There are many ways to locate ST 36, so here is one of my shortcuts:
- With your knee bent feel for your kneecap.
- Now feel the center of the lower edge of your knee cap. Continue to slide straight down until you feel a “blob” of bone on the upper portion of your shin bone (tibia).
- That blob is your landmark for how far down from the knee to go. Next, move an inch to the outside of that blob into the softer tissue. Press lightly while you explore the area for the point (use the picture above to help locate the point).
- The point may feel a little tender to your touch, so increase your pressure gradually. Be sure to stay just an inch away from the blob on your tibia.
- Explore, have fun and try to find this point on as many people as you can.
And from Dr. Adrian Larson in Acupuncture Technology News (https://www.miridiatech.com/news/2016/05/acupuncture-point-stomach-36/):
Here’s a little legend about this point, based on the English name translation: Leg Three Mile:
Chinese warriors would wear leather sashes with stones hanging from either side of their waist while they hiked across the vast countryside to protect their nation. When the warriors became exhausted, to the point where they just couldn’t go any further, they would kneel down to rest. The stones would naturally land at Stomach 36 on each leg. Upon arising from this bended knee position, with pressure on Stomach 36, when the soldiers arose they found extra hidden renewed strength and were able to hike “three more miles”…
Here are some things you should remember about Stomach 36. Treatment of this point will energize you, boost your immune system, AND help with any digestive disorders. And–if you need to walk three more miles on the treadmill, it might help with that too!
Indications: Stomach pain; abdominal distention; indigestion; vomiting; borborygmi; diarrhea; constipation; dysentery; breast yong; dizziness; epilepsy; paralysis due to wind strike; foot qi; Water swelling; aching knee and tibia.
Secondary Indications: Pain, fullness and distention in the venter; abdominal pain; cholera; stoppage of the diaphragm and throat; difficult ingestion; wryness of the mouth; eye disease; pharyngeal bi; fever; enuresis; swelling of the feet; rumbling intestines; heaviness in the head and pain in the forehead at the outset of heat disease; vexation, oppression and generalized fever; inhibited urination; lower abdominal swelling and pain; branching fullness in the chest and lateral costal region; swelling and pain in the extremities; thoracic blood stasis; palpitations with vacuity vexation and agitation.
Vexation! Language is just one reason I love Traditional Chinese Medicine so much. They call a spade a spade. Have I ever been in a Western doctor's office and had a symptom described as vexation? No! Why? Well, for one thing, vexation suggests a symptom that needs to be addressed by further questions (What is bothering you? What happens to your body when you feel this?) rather than scribbling down a prescription for pills or cream. It asks for the doctor to get curious, to listen. It's hard to be curious and listen when you are on the clock, trying to see an many people as possible since insurance is squeezing everyone involved for every nickel possible.
Back to the thesis.
In my effort to soothe soothe my guts and to have a poop worthy of framing, I’m reading a book called Eat Dirt--I wrote about it a couple of days ago. Today was my second day of drinking shilajit mixed with water, a practice suggested in the book to help heal leaky gut. I call shalajit dirt, but it’s actually a humic acid—think of it as really, really old Himilayian compost that has dissolved and made a substance that looks like tar. When I first tasted it, I had the feeling I was drinking bear poop, but after the initial shock, I’m already used to it and borderline like it.
(I’ll write more about it in a week or so when I see how I’m feeling, but here’s a little reading material for you on shilajit if you are just dying of curiousity: https://wellnessmama.com/61295/humic-acid-uses-benefits/).
Getting back to the wonders and glory of Stomach 36, from Ancient Remedies for Modern Lives (https://qiblog.emperors.edu/2012/12/whats-the-point-stomach-36/):
Even more than as a digestive aid, Stomach 36 is known primarily for its ability to invigorate.
Without getting into too much detail, all meridians have an associated element—Fire, Earth, Metal, Water or Wood—and select points along those meridians also are associated with elements. These points are known as the transporting points. They are considered the meridian’s most powerful points. Acupuncturists use them over and over again.
All elements are important. Earth, however, plays a central role. It feeds the other elements. In one way or another, Earth influences and is influenced by all elements.
For this reason, Stomach, because its element is Earth, is critical to the functioning of all other systems. Furthermore, Stomach 36 is an Earth point. So Stomach 36 is what acupuncturists call Earth-on-Earth—an Earth point on an Earth meridian.
This makes Stomach 36 doubly valuable in its ability to produce systemic effects. More specifically, because Earth—in the same way we think of the earth—is the nourishing, life-giving element, Stomach 36 is loaded with vitalizing properties. It feeds the body.
Stomach 36 feeds the body! No wonder it feels so good to have it needled, to have it massaged! I love this point. It can become your binkie, your blankie, your Gatorade, your Powerbar, your shot in the arm. And you don’t even need to have an acupuncturist needle you! The tip of your finger and a little pressure can stimulate all the wonder healing mentioned above. Here’s a Youtube video to walk you through finding and working on this point: https://youtu.be/Xecgy7q4aG8.
Have fun fondling yourself. May you walk an extra three miles with ease and joy.
See you tomorrow.