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The points of Winter: Yin Gu (KD10) & Tong Gu (BL66)

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Winter is known as water time in Chinese medicine. It's a time of reflection, of stillness, and of restoring the kidney essence. It's a time when Nature stores it's energy in the roots and lies in waiting for the warmer days to bud and grow again. So too do we benefit from turning inward to study our own nature, ideally sleeping and resting more to follow the natural cycles of light and dark here in the Northern Hemisphere.

There are two points I use frequently in my practice with patients during winter-time. They correspond to the two water organs of the body, the Bladder and the Kidney.

The first is on the kidney channel. Known as Yin Gu (Yin Valley) or Kidney 10 (KD10), this point lives on inner side of the back of the knee, just at the crease or bend point between two tendons (the semimembranosus and the semitendinosus). See the image below.

Because this point is a water point on the water channel, I think of it as empowering flow in all aspects of being; mental, emotional and physical. It can be used directly for knee problems (creating flow in movement), for fear and anxiety (supporting the capacity to go with the flow), and mental restlessness, insomnia and hyperactivity (empowering the capacity to surrender and let go).

I use this point when I'm treating someone who's stuck in habitual reactions or patterns of fear. It's also a great point to use for chronic or acute urinary tract infections - when urination becomes difficult and flow is impaired. Or for genital pain/itching and vaginal/penile discharge. Also for excessive uterine bleeding.....or too many periods.

All issues to do with the theme of flow, whether too little, too much or out of balance.

And because KD10 is the water point on the water channel, it can be used for to help moisten. Say for a dry mouth or throat, for chronic thirst, and even for dry skin at times. Sometimes I'll add this point when treating infertility in men and women.

KD 10 Indications:

  • Winter solstice point (with Bladder 66, water on water point)

  • To strengthen the knees

  • Excessive or impaired flow of water (urination, periods)

  • Moisten dryness of mouth, throat, and lungs

  • Habituated fear and anxiety, overwhelm

The second point I use frequently in winter is Bladder 66 (BL66), Tong Gu or Penetrating Valley. This point lies at the little junction point of the foot and the pinkie toe where there is usually a skin color distinction between the sole and the upper foot. It's a point I use to open and clear the entire bladder channel, the longest channel of the body which can be likened to a great river.

This point also deals with the theme of flow, much like KD 10, Yin Gu. Here the emphasis is on reversing the flow. If there is coughing or bleeding from the nose, or indigestion and acid reflux, this is a powerful point to use in combination with others. If there is a fever, headache, stiff neck or runny nose (essentially the onset of a wind-heat invasion) use BL 66.

You can also use this point to quiet the mind and calm the nervous system, or to cool "hot urine" (urinary tract infections) and for dizziness and vertigo caused by an "overfull" mind.

BL 66 Indications:

Winter solstice point used in combination with KD10

  • Quiet the Spirit and calm the mind

  • Indigestion, acid reflux or bleeding from the nose

  • Wind heat invasions

  • Urinary tract infections


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