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Warning: Do not use this point on pregnant women.

Name: Three Yin Intersection (Spleen 6)

This point, on the inside lower leg, has one of those helpfully descriptive and practical names, because it is indeed where the three yin meridians–spleen, liver and kidney–intersect.

This point can help address reproductive disorders, including menstrual cycle irregularity, pre-menstrual discomfort, and menstruation pain.  Since it’s on the leg, it can be used for pain in the lower leg and ankle.  Helpful also for digestive problems and pain in lower abdomen, for “restless” fatigue and insomnia.

Location: You’ll find this point on the inside lower leg, four fingers’ width above the ankle bone.
spleen 6 dot  spleen 6 four fingers
As with all acupressure points except the ones that run down the center of your body, this point is bilateral, which means it’s found on both legs.

To hold: There are several ways you can do this.  It’s important that you are comfortable in your shoulders, arm and hand, and also your legs, so experiment with different ways to hold the point to see what is most comfortable.

spleen 6 fingers

You can take the thumb of one hand, and gently hold the point on the opposite leg, as in the photo above (right hand thumb holding left leg).  Sitting in a chair, you can put one foot flat on the floor and cross the other leg with the shin over your knee, so you can reach the point easily.

Lying on the floor or your bed, you can take the same position as if you were on a chair, with one foot flat on the floor, and the other leg crossed over so you can reach the point with the opposite hand. 

To try it sitting on the floor, on a bed or a couch, bend your knees and bring your feet toward each other so your legs form a diamond or omega shape. Using the same hand as the leg, hold one point or both hands; one hand on each leg.  Depending on your flexibility, this may or may not be easy and comfortable.  Try putting a bolster or cushion under you knees for support.

Experiment to see what is most comfortable, and what is reasonable based on where you find yourself.

How much pressure?  Spleen 6 can be a very sensitive point, and may be tender even with just a light touch, especially for women pre- and during menstruation.  Just rest your finger on the point, there’s no need to apply pressure. If it’s too tender, release gently. 

On the other hand, you may feel nothing, and pushing harder won’t change that.  At such times, it may be impossible to find the point because you don’t feel anything.  Try holding the palm of your hand over the general area; this can be effective even though you don’t feel it directly.

How long?  Some women feel immediate relief from pain and discomfort when they hold this point.  You can start out by holding for 15 to 30 seconds, if that feels comfortable.  If you are dealing with a chronic issue, daily holding of this point can be helpful.  Hold the point longer every day or so until you work up to one minute.  Repeat a couple of times on each leg.

Warning: Do not use this point on pregnant women.

You are encouraged you to seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions about a medical condition.

I got through the weekend, and this afternoon’s comfort-cookie crisis with Trader Joe’s Druid oatmeal cookies. As I was savoring the lovely chewiness of my third lovely cookie with tea, I had an “aha!” moment about the sweet-tooth comfort-food connection.

In the Traditional Chinese Medicine system, sweetness is associated with the Earth element. So when Earth element (associated with the Stomach and Spleen meridians) is out of balance, sweet cravings often ensue.

When might Earth element be out of balance?

  • The Earth is associated with home, the place we feel “homey”, so a move to a new house, or traveling could cause a tip in balance.
  • Or maybe you have too many ideas flying around your head, and you don’t feel “grounded.” You might reach for a cookie or ice cream.
  • Think about a plant; only when it is strong and grounded in the earth can it grow up and out.
  • For women, the Earth element is also related to the menstrual cycle, which helps us understand PMS sweets-cravings.

In my case, since I broke my ankle last week, my connection to the Earth has diminished. I can’t put both feet on the ground. I’m hobbling around on my right foot and two crutches. And even though I’m mostly stuck at home, it’s difficulty to feel homey. My foot is up in the air. My energy is way above the floor; I think it’s in my shoulder area because my shoulders are tired from using the crutches. Oy!

So, a few thoughts on balancing Earth energy:

  • First of all, it’s OK, I say, to eat my cookies! As long as I’m enjoying them, and in moderation. (I’ll run out at any rate, and can’t exactly run down to the store to get some more. That’s the silver lining.)
  • Now that I’ve identified this Earth-imbalance, I can be mindful about other ways to address it:
    • Enjoy healthier sweetness. Fruit. Dried dates. I’ve been eating fruit puree (frozen mangoes and blueberries) with yogurt.
    • Squeeze my muscles; the Earth element loves this. My right leg is working really hard, as are my arms, so I’ll give myself a little massage later.
    • Create routine, especially since I’ve had to adjust and adapt so much of the way I normally do things. I wrote about this, plus other tips in a post related to the Earth element.
    • Energize the Three Mile Point (Stomach 36). Sit down with feet flat on the floor. Make a light fist and rub vigorously along the outside of your shins, a couple of inches below your knee.

OK. So I now have a plan to help address my un-earthiness, and tame my cookie monster!