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The points of autumn - Meridian Gutter (Lu8) and Merchant Yang (LI1)

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Are you troubled by certain repetitive thoughts or are you feeling a low grade heaviness or sadness hanging around. Perhaps it feels like something you can't seem to shake, like clouds in the sky or like a buildup of leaves and gunk in your gutters. Jīng Qú, (經渠) or Channel Ditch (Meridian Gutter), the 8th point on the lung channel, opens the proverbial drain so that everything can flow again.

When I see someone who's chronically cynical about life, or their skin is clogged, or they're "full of shit" I consider using this point. If someone has spots or boils, colds or mucus that don't seem to be going away, I consider Jīng Qú. If there's a tendency to toxic ideas, or negative experiences just sitting there blocking the way, I combine this point with a few others. The goal is to reconnect the person I'm seeing to inspiration, emptiness and that which is most valuable (Spirit or the breath or the beginner's mind of meditation).

As the name implies, Channel Ditch is a point that clears things out, much like a ditch or a gutter. It drains things away, so that there's space for new vital energy, what we call Qi, to come in. Clearing and cleaning out the gutter is a way to promote proper drainage and elimination of metabolic waste, metabolic waste on all levels. When the gutters are blocked with leaves or dirt and other accumulation, it creates stagnant water, inefficient elimination. We want to move this water by cleaning things out, so that stagnation can drain away and the lungs can resume their proper function of distributing moisture (and inspiration) throughout the body.

It's an easy point to needle, it lies on the lung channel on the inside of the arm, thumb side, just near the wrist. It's the metal point on the metal channel, which makes it the perfect point for needling on or near the fall equinox. Meridian gutter can disinhibit the throat and benefit your voice, so it's indicated for laryngitis or any lung or throat conditions, with excessive mucus or phlegm, or when hot and cold are out of proportion on the body surface, (one part of the body is hot and another very cold). It can also relax the chest, particularly if there's acute chest pain, and over time help resolve asthmatic breathing.

Jīng Qú, Meridian Gutter, is a point that I've seen cleanse and renew someone's entire being. It's like introducing a breath of fresh air. In this way, once unblocked, you can shine brightly once again, breathing freely.


The other fall equinox point - called Shāng Yáng (商陽) or Merchant Yang - is the first point on the large intestine channel (LI-1). Merchant Yang is a revitalization and resurrection point. If you get very cold or can't communicate clearly, this point is an excellent first choice treatment. If you have a stroke, due to cerebral thrombosis, hemorrhage, embolism, subarachnoid hemorrhage, etc, this point should be needled as immediately as possible. It's such an easy point to access, it lies on the inside of the pointer finger, just next to the nail bed.

A merchant is someone who knows the value of things. Large Intestine 1 brings out that sensitivity to values and helps you to be aware of what your values are. This is good point for mental emotion disorders, when someone is stubborn or they won't communicate, they can't see clearly or are stuck behind their own mask and have trouble with honesty. It can be excellent for problems in the shoulder (frozen shoulder), arms and neck. This can also be used for constipation and diarrhea.

I use Shāng Yáng around the fall equinox to attune with the metal season of fall and to harmonize and balance the metal organs, the lung and the large intestine. In the fall, dry cold weather can adversely affect the lungs. The emotions of grief, longing and regret are all emotions that can create imbalance in the lungs. If you find yourself frequently sighing or thinking about the past, holding onto regret, this can block new spirit or experience into your consciousness. Constipation, a dysfunction much like holding on, is the way this can manifest in the large intestine. Like heavy clouds in the sky, these conditions affect the ability to move Qi or vital energy in the body, to disperse moisture appropriately and to surrender and let go.

The beauty of acupuncture lies in the alchemy of the points that are chosen together for a complete whole body treatment. When these two points are added to an acupuncture prescription for you, they can support a comprehensive whole body clearing and cleansing, making your body, mind and spirit shine like polished metal.

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