The Small Intestine (SI) channel in Acupuncture practice is, in my opinion, highly under-utilised and therefore never truly used to its full potential. As the channel trajectory covers some important and integral joints of the skeletal system such as the wrist, elbow, shoulder etc many practitioners use the corresponding points for influencing muscular-skeletal conditions as a primary choice.
This discussion will look deeper in the energetics of Houxi translated as Back Stream or Back Ravine and more in particular its powerful and possibly psycho-spiritual benefits.
You may know that SI3 is the master point for opening the governing channel (Extraordinary Channel – Du Mai that runs up the spine) whilst its coupled (paired) point according to Chinese medicine is used to ‘close’ the governing channel with namely Acupuncture point Bladder 62.
Here’s a good question “why does a SI point open the bladder channel when the actual bladder channel governs the whole length of the spine and back and therefore it would make sense that BL62 should be the opening point”? The reason for this is quite clever as mentioned by Jeffrey Yuen that the SI is a fire organ and therefore closely related to the heart. By opening the spine via the SI, you are indirectly activating the heart, which injects fire energy into the system so that the person can straighten their posture, strengthen their constitution, look up and then move forward in life with purpose (the heart drives ones spirit with purpose). The governing channel represents security and independence from juvenile dependency.
Another significant aspect of SI3 is that it’s a wood point and therefore according to the 5 element theory relates to the energetics of the Liver and Gall Bladder organ. Whilst the SI is involved in assimilating nutrients from food (this can also be seen as assimilating idea’s and clarity from day to day life), the liver is involved in planning and making clear decisions together with the Gall Bladder.
When the wood energy in the SI is imbalanced, the SI can constantly assimilate life experiences but without actually ever building any courage to make a clear and focused decision. This leads to strong procrastination and misguided judgment. The opposite is also evident when the wood energy dominates (is in excess) and puts pressure on the SI to quickly and foolishly make poor decisions resulting in poor dividends only to please the pressure and association of a dominant wood energy. These kinds of decisions almost always lead to regret and has the potential of creating long-term resentment.
So SI3 is a fantastic point to create mutual balance of assertiveness, clarity, independence, strength and ultimately a peaceful balance between purposeful and patience in life.
Regards Sohial Farzam
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References: The Clinical Practice of Chinese Medicine, Lonny Jarrett, 2003.