Jeff from OAP on Lung 3

One of my favorite acupuncture points to use in the clinic is Lung 3. Its chinese name is Tian Fu which could translate as Heavenly Residence, Celestial Storehouse or Palace of Heaven. The name is interesting because it speaks to me about the idea of grace, the dictionary definition being a “reconnection to the divine source.” Sort of like, we need to knock on the door of the cosmic divine residence so, like Stevie Wonder says on his album, Songs in the Key of Life, we can “Have A Talk With God.”  It’s right along the bicep, on the upper arm, so it comes up when treating all kinds of orthopedic arm issues, most commonly bicep tendonitis. But, what I really like to use it for is grief. You might not think that acupuncture can be used as a tool to help facilitate and ease the grieving process, but acupuncture is old and has a point for just about every aspect of the human condition. 

Lung 3 is in a group of points called “Window of the Sky” points. While these are more commonly used for forgetfulness or confusion, I believe that these points are meant to connect your head to your heart because sometimes your head asks questions that only the heart can answer. To me, this resolves the dissonance between the intellect and the spirit which comes from the sadness from losing someone close. 

People carrying grief will often say to me something like, “I just don’t feel like I’m present in my body.” Lung 3 has the strange function of anchoring the aspect of the soul referred to as the Po (Yes! The same Po as the famed Kung Fu Panda), which translates as the Corporeal Soul. You could say a lot about the different aspects of the soul and how they relate to the different organ systems of Traditional Chinese Medicine and 5 Element Theory, but basically, the Po is the part of our soul which is anchored in our physical being. What this means to me is that this point is helpful when you don’t feel solid in your body, or rather being ungrounded in your own physicality, another element of grief.

  Finally, the other aspect of this point that points to grief is an old quote from Sun Si-miao’s book “The Thousand Ducat Formulas,” which says to use Lung 3 for “Melancholy Crying Ghost Talk.” While some have interpreted this as a reference to demonic possession or insanity, I feel it’s quite normal to talk to ghosts and cry when moving through the grieving process, as I have found relief in those conversations with the dead as I’ve coped with my own losses.

While this point doesn’t come up all the time, its unique indications make it a very helpful tool in our collection of points we can use. Even though it doesn’t seem pragmatic, and comes across as pseudo-spiritual and esoteric, grief is something that, if you live and love long enough on this planet, it is inescapable, so it’s nice to have a point to build a strategy to help with this potent aspect of the human condition. 

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