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Acupuncture Today
September, 2012, Vol. 13, Issue 09
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The Spirits of the Points: The Kidney Official

By Neil Gumenick, MAc (UK), LAc, Dipl. Ac

The Kidney Official is defined as "The Official Who Controls the Waterways."1

The Official acts as a filter, as well as the dispatcher of  water sending it to where it is needed. Every day, a person's kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about two quarts of waste and excess water. The wastes and extra water become urine, which flows to the Bladder, which stores it until it is released through urination.

In Chinese medicine, this Official is the storehouse of the richest and most concentrated ancestral energy, inherited and passed through generations. For basic daily needs, our reserves are replenished by the food we eat and the air we breathe. When we call upon more than basic daily needs, we draw upon this rich, concentrated energy. It provides the endurance and strength needed to carry on, enabling us to get through times of hardship and adversity. Thus, among the spiritual gifts of Water are determination and will power.

In Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, points are predominantly chosen from meridians that have been determined, by methods of traditional diagnosis (odor, color, sound, and emotion) to be the element of primary imbalance called the Causative Factor (AKA "CF").

With regard to a Water CF, the patient will emit a putrid odor. Urine, stagnant water, and a sewer are examples of this odor. The patient will manifest the color blue lateral to the eyes. The predominant sound of the voice will be groaning. It is the sound one makes when exhausted and having little in reserve. The predominant emotion will be fear or lack of fear. One only has to consider what a person is likely to feel emotionally if his or her reserves are insufficient. Everything is perceived as a threat that he or she feels unable to meet. It is akin to having perpetually to endure a winter in which little or nothing has been stored away. Nothing is growing and there is nowhere to go to fill one's reserves. Survival itself is threatened, and fear is extreme. In some cases, the patient will deny the fear and manifest its opposite: lack of fear. Such people are often called "adrenaline junkies," engaging in all sorts of dangerous or reckless activities in avoidance of facing the deeper fears within.

The Points

Generally, points used for their spiritual connotations are selected from the patient's Causative Factor meridians and, in this way, have far greater impact than choosing them from random meridians, though the names are tempting. In Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, the Causative Factor is considered the source of imbalance in the patient and the root of all the symptoms the patient experiences. We trust that Nature has provided appropriate points on the patient's Causative Factor meridians to address most of the physical, mental, and spiritual challenges a person of that CF will face.

Some points on the Kidney meridian are exceptions to the above. Kidney 23-27 may be used for their spiritual connotations and conjoined with treatment of any elemental Causative Factor. The remainder of the points are generally used on Water CFs only.

Each of the points on the meridian brings unique gifts to the body, mind, and spirit of the patient in need. Each point will, in its own way, help to fill reserves, support the flow of fluids, and cleanse debris at all levels.

Kidney 1 Bubbling Spring Entry point, Wood point

The water that bubbles up from underground springs is fresh, revitalizing, renewing, invigorating, and pure. It brings life to that which is wilting, drained, or exhausted. Located on the bottom of the foot, using this point on a Water imbalanced patient whose reserves are drained is akin to connecting him or her to a perpetual, life giving fountain. Everything that moves within us does so by the grace of the power, lubrication, and cleansing abilities of Water. This includes all physical fluids, as well as the fluidity, strength, cleverness, and clarity of mind. It includes the smooth flow and expression of all five emotions. Without the renewing vitality inherent in Bubbling Spring, the patient can become increasingly weak, stagnant, dry, rigid, and inflexible at every level. As the Wood and entry point of the meridian, it brings the additional qualities of rebirth and new beginnings, accompanied by a surge of hope and optimism.

Kidney 2 Blazing Valley Fire point

As the Water passes through this valley, it is warmed to the perfect temperature so that it can flow to, and be used by, every part of the body, as well as to the mind and spirit. The body cannot function if the fluids are too cold. Smooth, relaxed movement will be impaired; there may be pain, contraction, paralysis, poor circulation; organs and systems will break down. At the non-physical levels, the patient may be emotionally cold and rigid, stubborn, inflexible, forgetful - unable smoothly to retrieve memories, uptight, frozen with fear, overly serious, and unable to experience joy. As fire brings love and openness, the patient needing this point may feel isolated, rejected, detached, and disconnected from others. With its warmth, this point brings love, trust, closeness, comfort, security, and relaxation.

Kidney 3 Greater Mountain Stream Earth, source point

In this stream, the Water, which had entered at KI 1, was warmed to the perfect temperature at KI 2, now picks up speed and "streams" throughout the body, mind, and spirit. "Great" to the Chinese meant relating to matters of the spirit. Therefore, this water is not ordinary, but metaphorically spiritual. It has the capacity to wash away the pollution of the mind and cleanse those things that would cloud and compromise the clear perception and brilliance of spirit. As the Earth point of the meridian, it brings the qualities of nourishment and the security of a full harvest - gifts of the Earth element - to the fearful Water imbalanced patient who perceives little or nothing in his/her reserves on which to draw. As the Earth point, it controls the Water, soaking up excess, or releasing more water, as needed. With its power, it washes through stuck and sluggish places, cleansing and revitalizing at all levels. Like all source points, KI 3 has a built-in safety valve that will access just the correct amount of energy - no more and no less than is needed. Thus, this point, can establish and regulate perfect flow, without danger of bringing too much or too little.

Kidney 7 Returning Current Metal, tonification point

Often used as the tonification point, if LU has a relative excess of energy in relation to Kidney (determined by pulse diagnosis), tonifying this point takes the excess from its mother and transfers it to KI. A simple transfer from a full mother to her hungry child is one of the simplest and most elegant treatments we can give. As the Metal point, it brings quality, value, and inspiration to the Water, as well as helping to eliminate toxicity. The concept of "returning" reminds us that, Water, in whatever state (ice, steam, rain, pond, river, ocean), is always itself. The point reminds us that, however we have strayed or been distracted away from the essential current of life, from the Tao, we are always welcome to return. In whatever form we are, at whatever age or stage of our process, we are essentially and unalterably spirit at the core. This is echoed in an old Sufi saying, "Come again! Come again! No matter how many times you have broken your vows, come again. It is never too late to return to the One."

Kidney 8 Exchange Pledges

When two people give a pledge to each other, they create a solemn understanding and bond. A pledge is a vow, an oath, one's word of honor. There is great security in having the word of honor of another. It is something on which one can depend. It lightens the load. One is no longer alone if one has exchanged pledges, for now one has strength and support beyond what one could muster alone. One can have more internal peace, knowing one's resources are full and plentiful.

Traditionally, when one entered a place of learning, there was a ceremony or ritual in which promises, commitments, and vows were exchanged. The teacher, school, or teaching group stated what the mission was, their commitments to you as a student, what they expected from you. If you agreed to the terms, you promised to do certain things. The deal was sealed. Secure. We all need such security - knowing that we are part of the body of humanity and committed to work for the benefit of all.


  1. Worsley, JR (1998) Classical Five-Element Acupuncture Volume III The Five Elements And The Officials, The Worsley Institute of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, page 15.6

Click here for more information about Neil Gumenick, MAc (UK), LAc, Dipl. Ac.


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