This is a big one. Big in size (making it harder to miss), big in that it’s full of Blood and Qi, and big in importance.
If you’ve had an acupuncture treatment before, Stomach 36 might look familiar. This point (a.k.a. Zu San Li, “Leg Three Miles”) is one of the most commonly needled points. We turn to it in all kinds of “deficiency” situations (meaning, the body needs some more resources). It’s also used for almost anything going on in the abdomen, especially when the issue is in the stomach itself.
See the video for details on locating this point on your own leg. Here's an illustration:
Here are a few more situations in which people massage Stomach 36:
- Fatigue after illness, childbirth, or other taxing event
- Frontal headaches
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Shortness of breath
- Knee pain (especially in the front of the knee)
- Appetite imbalances (low appetite, high appetite, hunger without the desire to eat)
- Descending Qi for calm and sleep (I teach this one in Acupressure for People with Anxiety)
It’s so valuable in building and maintaining Qi that Ma Dan Yang (of Ma Dan Yang’s Heavenly Star points) recommended regular acupuncture and moxibustion on this point for everyone over the age of 30!
If you want to connect with your Earth qualities (maybe because of a dream, or a diagnosis?), this is the No.1 place to do it. Stomach 36 is an Earth point on an Earth channel, pretty accessible, and it’s usually easy to feel when you’re on the right spot.
When the goal is supporting gut health and digestion, I like to sit and lay one ankle over the other knee, so I can press Stomach 36 with one hand, and lay my other hand on my abdomen, to bring my focus there.
Which makes a good moment for a little self-love / body-wonder: How amazing is it that my body asks for food, takes it in, and transforms it into ME - my blood and muscle and fat and eyelashes and saliva and energy? Amazing!
Yeah, my Earth channels could be a bit healthier than they are (and how I’d love that!), but the fact that I’m typing this and you’re reading it means, wow, our Earth channels are doing miraculous things. Why not massage Stomach 36 with a little extra dose of awe and gratitude? It feels pretty good.