Monday, June 1, 2009

My favourite point: G.B.-13 Benshen Spirit Root

a) Nature
Point of the Yang Linking Vessel (Yang Wei Mai).
Meeting point of the 3 Yang Muscle channels of the arm.

b) Actions
- Calms the Mind (Shen) and settles the Ethereal Soul (Hin)
- Subdues Liver-Yang
- Extinguishes Wind
- Resolves Phlegm
- Gathers Essence (Jing) to the head
- Clears the brain.

c) Indications
Manic behaviour, fright
Headache, dizziness
Epilepsy, hemiplegia, convulsions
Vomiting of foamy saliva, epilepsy with foaming at the mouth.

d) Comments
G.B.-13 is a very important point for mental and emotional problems. It is very much used in psychiatric practice for schizophrenia and split personality combined with HE-5 Tongli and G.B.-38 Yangfu.1 It is also indicated when the person has persistent and unreasonable feelings of jealousy and suspicion.
Apart from these mental traits, it has a powerful effect in calming the Mind, settling the Ethereal Soul (Hun) and relieving anxiety deriving from constant worry and fixed thoughts. Its effect is enhanced if it is combined with Du-24 Shenting.
Its deep mental and emotional effect is also due to its action of “gathering” Essence (Jing) to the head. The Kidney-Essence is the root of our Pre-Heaven Qi and is the foundation for our mental and emotional life. A strong Essence is the fundamental prerequisite for a clear Mind (Shen) and a balanced emotional life. This is the meaning of this point's name “Root of the Spirit”, i.e. this point gathers the Essence which is the root of the Mind (Shen) and Spirit. The Kidney-Essence is the source of Marrow which fills up the Brain (called Sea of Marrow): G.B.-13 is a point where Essence and Marrow “gather”. The “Great Dictionary of Acupuncture” says that this point “makes the Mind [Shen] return to its root”2: the “root” of the Mind is the Essence, hence this point “gathers” the Essence to the Brain and affects the Mind. As it connects the Mind and the Essence, it also treats both the Heart and the Kidneys and therefore the Mind (Shen) and Will-Power (Zhi): for this reason, it is an important point in the treatment of depression.
When combined with other points to nourish Essence (such as Ren-4 Guangyuan), G.B.-13 attracts Essence towards the head with the effect of calming the Mind and strengthening clarity of mind, memory and will power. The connection between G.B.-13 and the Essence is confirmed by the text “An Enquiry into Chinese Acupuncture” which has among the indications of this point: “excessive menstrual bleeding, impotence and seminal emissions.”3
G.B.-13 also subdues Liver-Yang and it can therefore be used as a local point in chronic headaches from Liver-Yang rising. It also extinguishes internal Wind and is effective for Wind-stroke and epilepsy. Finally, it resolves Phlegm in the context of mental-emotional disorders or epilepsy, i.e. it opens the Mind's orifices when these are clouded by Phlegm. The “Explanation of the Acupuncture Points” says: “The indications of G.B.-13 show that it eliminates the three pathogenic factors of Wind, Fire and Phlegm from the Lesser Yang, in which cases this point should be reduced.”4

1. Dr Zhang Ming Jiu, personal communication, Nanjing 1982.
2. Cheng Bao Shu 1988 Great Dictionary of Acupuncture (Zhen Jiu Da Ci Dian), Beijing Science Publishing House, Beijing, p. 11.
3. Jiao Shun Fa 1987 An Enquiry into Chinese Acupuncture (Zhong Guo Zhen Jiu Qiu Zhen), Shanxi Science Publishing House, p. 52.
4. Yue Han Zhen 1990 An Explanation of the Acupuncture Points (Jing Xue Jie), People's Health Publishing House, Beijing. Originally published in 1654, p. 334.


  1. I know you won't know what I am talking about, but the description of this point refers to how the Gall Bladder is the root of the emotional body. Gall Bladder is the first meridian in a series describing the emotional body. This point connects to the Gall Bladder's position as the emotional foundation. and yes, returning to strengthen the Gall Bladder is essential in depression.

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