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.

9 Responses

  1. What a fabulous article! Very interesting, thanks. I’m a shiatsu practitioner in South Africa and am busy redoing my book on acupressure for common ailments and use SI3 mainly to open the GV. I know that it’s helpful in decision making but this article has certainly opened my eyes to see it differently, thanks again.

    1. Hello Margie,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article.
      So pleased to hear you are working on a book on acupressure. It will be a great platform for people to learn more about this art.
      I’m pleased to hear you got something out of my article.
      Kind regards

  2. Hi Thank you for your article – I was looking at SI3 and will also use it more in my Shiatsu practice. Thanks for the useful emotional insights with wood energy and purpose, very interesting

    1. Hi Maria,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article. It’s great to hear that you got a lot out of it. Thanks for sharing your feedback. Kind Regards

  3. Very useful and insightful article, thanks a lot for sharing it!
    I’ve just calculated birthday point for one of my clients and it is Si3, so very valuable info will have to share with her:) Its so good you described about the paring with BL62. Thankful

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