On the dorsum of the foot, in the hollow distal to the
junction of the first and second metatarsal bones.
Run a finger from Xingjian LIV-2 along the interspace
between the first and second metatarsal bones towards
the ankle, into the pronounced depression before the
junction of the bases of the first and second metatarsals.
In the direction of Yongquan KID-1, 0.5 to 1.5 cun.
Spreads Liver qi
Subdues Liver yang and extinguishes wind
Nourishes Liver blood and Liver yin
Clears the head and eyes
Regulates the lower jiao
• Headache, dizziness, numbness of the head, opisthotonos,
contraction of the sinews of the hands and feet,
epilepsy, childhood fright wind, deviation of the
mouth, tetany, hypertension.
• Distention and pain of the lateral costal region, inability
to catch the breath all day long, sighing,
swelling of the axilla, pain of the Liver and Heart,
Heart pain with a wiry pulse, distention of the Heart,
breast pain, epigastric or abdominal pain, periumbilical
pain, pain and fullness of the hypogastrium,
shan disorder, sudden shan disorder in children,
swollen testicles, retracted testicles, unilateral sagging
of the testicle, pain of the genitals.
• Insomnia, easily fearful.
• Blurred vision, cloudy vision, redness, swelling and
pain of the eyes.
• Cracked lips, swelling of the lips, distention of the
throat, pain of the throat, dry throat with desire to
drink, internal heat with thirst, low grade fever,
death-like green complexion.
• Amenorrhoea, irregular menstruation, incessant
uterine bleeding, uterine prolapse, ceaseless and profuse
sweating after childbirth, insufficient lactation.
• Enuresis, difficult urination, retention of urine, painful
urinary dysfunction, the five types of painful
urinary dysfunction, deficiency-taxation oedema.
• Jaundice, vomiting, vomiting blood, nausea, constipation,
difficult defecation, borborygmus, diarrhoea
containing undigested food, diarrhoea with thin
stools, bloody diarrhoea and dysenteric disorder,
blood in the stools.
• Emaciation, insufficiency of essence (semen) in men,
seminal emission, insufficiency of qi.
• Lumbar pain radiating to the lower abdomen, lumbar
pain, pain of the inner and outer knee, pain of the
lower leg, flaccidity and weakness of the legs, inability
to walk, cold sensation in the knees and feet, cold
feet, pain of the inner malleolus, swelling of the elbow,
contraction of the five fingers.
Taichong LIV-3 is the shu-stream and yuan-source point
of the Liver channel. The Spiritual Pivot in Chapter 6
recommends the use of the shu-stream points in disorders
of the zang, whilst in Chapter 1 it says “When the five zang
are diseased, select [from] the twelve yuan-source
[points]”. Taichong LIV-3 is arguably the most important
point of the Liver channel, with an extensive range of
actions, and may be used with equal effect for both excess
and deficiency patterns of the Liver zang and its channel.
So important did the Ming dynasty physician Xu Fengconsider Taichong LIV-3 to be, that he added it to Ma
Danyang’s ‘eleven heavenly star points’ when listing
them in his work Complete Collection of Acupuncture and
Moxibustion. Since this time, these points have become
known as Ma Danyang’s ‘twelve heavenly star points’.
Master Zhu Dan-xi in the 14th century said “The Liver
governs spreading and draining” and “When the qi and
blood flow harmoniously, the ten thousand diseases will
not arise. Once there is constraint, all diseases may arise”.
The Liver’s function of spreading means that although the
Liver is not considered responsible for the production of
qi, it ensures that the flow of qi in the body remains free,
easy, open, relaxed and unobstructed. This function may
be impaired in three main ways. Firstly, and most commonly,
it may develop when the spontaneous expression
of any of the emotions is restricted, especially anger.
Secondly, the spreading function of the Liver is an expression
of its yang qi, and a saying of Chinese medicine
stresses “The body of the Liver is yin whilst its function is
yang”. In other words, the Liver yang is dependent on
Liver yin. Stagnation of Liver qi may therefore result from
failure of yin or blood to moisten, nourish and soften the
Liver. Thirdly, the ability of the Liver to spread qi may be
obstructed by the presence of pathogenic damp-heat. A
full understanding of Liver disharmony also stresses one
further point which is that Liver qi stagnation may bring
about the development of any other Liver pattern, for
example by transformation into Liver fire, the consequent
consumption of yin and hence the uprising of Liver yang,
or by transformation of either Liver fire or Liver yang into
wind. For this reason it is said that clinically any pattern
of disharmony of the Liver may be accompanied by qi
When Liver qi stagnates it gives rise to sensations of
pressure, distention and pain, predominantly in those
areas traversed by the Liver channel and its interiorlyexteriorly
coupled Gall Bladder channel. Qi stagnation
tends to move around and fluctuate, mainly according to
emotional changes, and is relieved by emotional expressiveness
and physical activity, both of which free the flow
of qi. The name of Taichong LIV-3 ‘Great Rushing’ refers
to this point’s function as the great passageway for the
flow of qi in the channel. It is a primary point for promoting
the free-flow of Liver qi, and can resolve Liver qi
stagnation giving rise to distention and pain in any part of
the body, whether the head, eyes, throat, chest, Heart,
breasts, epigastrium, abdomen, lateral costal region,
uterus or genitals.
According to the Spiritual Pivot10 “The Liver stores
blood, the blood is the residence of the ethereal soul (hun);
when Liver qi is deficient there is fear”. Although much
used in modern clinical practice for emotional and psychological
manifestations of qi stagnation such as depression,
frustration, pent-up feelings, irritability,
premenstrual tension, mood swings, weepiness etc., it is
striking that with the exception of fearfulness, psychoemotional
indications are almost entirely absent from
major classical sources.
Taichong LIV-3 is an essential point for subduing Liver
yang and pacifying Liver wind. The Liver is the zang of
wood and wind and is entrusted with the ministerial fire.
Its qi is vigorous, forceful and active, and according to
sayings of Chinese medicine “The Liver governs uprising”
and “The Liver dominates physical movement”. It is
common, therefore, for the hot, aggressive, ascending,
and moving nature of the Liver to exceed normal limits
and manifest as upsurging of Liver yang, or progress to
the stirring up of Liver wind. Alternatively wind may stir
due to deficient blood and consequent emptiness of the
blood vessels. Typical manifestations of wind for which
Taichong LIV-3 is indicated include headache, dizziness,
numbness of the head, childhood fright wind, tetany,
epilepsy, opisthotonos and deviation of the mouth.
Taichong LIV-3 is equally important for all deficiency
patterns of the Liver. It promotes the generation of both
Liver blood and Liver yin and hence nourishes those areas
of the body dominated by the Liver, namely the eyes,
sinews and uterus. Liver yin deficiency is the root of
hyperactivity of Liver yang, whilst Liver blood or yin
deficiency frequently lie at the root of Liver wind. Taichong
LIV-3, therefore, is able both to subdue excess and nourish
deficiency, and thus treat both the root and manifestation
of these patterns.
The Spiritual Pivot11 says “Liver qi opens into the eyes,
when the Liver is in harmony the eyes are able to distinguish
the five colours” whilst the Essential Questions12
states “When the Liver receives blood it gives rise to
vision”. Taichong LIV-3 is indicated for failure of the
Liver blood or yin to nourish the eyes resulting in blurred
or failing vision, as well as for excess disharmonies where
Liver fire, Liver yang, or Liver channel wind-heat result in
red, swollen, and painful eyes, or where Liver wind leads
to unusual movement of the eyes or eyelids.
The Liver channel connects with the brain at Baihui
DU-20, the topmost point of the body, and is the only yin
channel to ascend directly to the upper part of the head.
Taichong LIV-3, therefore, is used to treat many disorders
of the head, especially headache and dizziness, due to
both excess and deficiency patterns of the Liver. It is
specifically indicated for vertex headaches, although it is
worth noting that neither headache nor dizziness are
found as indications for this point in any major classic.
The Liver is closely related to the menstrual cycle. The
Liver stores the blood and its channel enters the lowerabdomen and connects with the Conception vessel at
Qugu REN-2, Zhongji REN-3 and Guanyuan REN-4,
whilst it is the free movement of Liver qi prior to menstruation
which ensures the smooth flow of blood. So
important is the Liver to menstruation that Ye Tian-shi
stated “the Liver is the pre-heaven qi of women”. Liver qi
stagnation, Liver fire or deficiency of Liver blood may
therefore give rise to such disorders as amenorrhoea,
irregular menstruation and incessant uterine bleeding.
Taichong LIV-3 is an important point in the treatment of
any of these disorders.
The Liver channel passes through the genitals and
lower abdomen, and is closely related to the genitourinary
organs. Normal excretion of urine depends mainly
on the Kidneys and Bladder but is also assisted by the
Liver’s spreading function. Taichong LIV-3 is indicated
for retention of urine, painful urinary dysfunction or
difficult urination characterised by qi stagnation, as well
as for shan disorder, pain of the genitals and swelling or
retraction of the testicles. Due to its general affinity for this
area, however, Taichong LIV-3 is also indicated for deficiency
urinary patterns such as enuresis, incontinence
and deficiency-taxation oedema. In fact there are other
indications of the ability of Taichong LIV-3 to tonify
deficiency in this region, for example insufficiency of
essence (semen) in men and seminal emission.
In the intestinal region, failure of the qi to flow freely
may lead to binding of the stools, and Taichong LIV-3 may
be used for constipation or difficult defecation due to qi
stagnation or stagnant heat. When Liver qi stagnation coexists
with Spleen deficiency, the commonly-seen clinical
pattern of abdominal pain and diarrhoea with thin stools,
alternating with difficult defecation or constipation, may
be encountered. Taichong LIV-3 is an important point for
the treatment of this pattern, and may be combined for
example with Zhangmen LIV-13, the front-mu point of
the Spleen. In the middle jiao, Taichong LIV-3 is indicated
for vomiting due to Liver-Stomach disharmony and jaundice
due to Liver and Gall Bladder damp-heat.
Bilateral Taichong LIV-3 and Hegu L.I.-4 are known as
‘the four gates’. This combination first appeared in the
Ode to Elucidate Mysteries which said “for cold and heat
with painful obstruction, open the four gates”. The text
goes on to imply that the yuan-source points of the six
yang channels emerge at the four gates. Since a fundamental
principle for treating painful obstruction is to
select points from yang channels, this helps to explain
why these two points are considered so effective in treating
painful obstruction. Subsequently, the use of these
points has been extended to treat a variety of disorders
involving pain and spasm. This is an elegant combination.
Hegu L.I.-4 on the upper extremity lies in the wide valley
between the first and second metacarpals, whilst Taichong
LIV-3 on the lower extremity lies in the wide valley
between the first and second metatarsals. Hegu L.I.-4, the
yuan-source point, belongs to yangming channel which is
‘abundant in qi and blood’ whilst Taichong LIV-3, the
shu-stream and yuan-source point of the Liver channel,
has the function of spreading the qi. Together they are
able to vigorously activate the qi and blood and ensure
their free and smooth passage throughout the body.
Finally Taichong LIV-3 is indicated for a variety of
channel disorders such as lumbar pain, pain or weakness
of the knee and leg, coldness of the knees and feet and
contraction of the five fingers.
• Red eyes and bleeding from Yingxiang L.I.-20 (i.e.
nosebleed): Taichong LIV-3, Toulinqi GB-15 and
Hegu L.I.-4 (Song of Points).
• Nasal congestion, nasal polyp and nasal congestion
and discharge: Taichong LIV-3 and Hegu L.I.-4 (Song
• Swelling of the lips: Taichong LIV-3 and Yingchuang
ST-16 (Supplementing Life).
• Cracked and bleeding tongue: Taichong LIV-3,
Neiguan P-6 and Yinjiao REN-7 (Miscellaneous Diseases).
• Erosion, heat and dryness of the mouth: Taichong
LIV-3, Laogong P-8, Shaoze SI-1 and Sanjian L.I.-3
(Thousand Ducat Formulas).
• For most types of acute throat pain: first needle Baihui
DU-20 then Taichong LIV-3, Zhaohai KID-6 and
Sanyinjiao SP-6 (Ode of Xi-hong).
• Dry throat with desire to drink: Taichong LIV-3 and
Xingjian LIV-2 (Thousand Ducat Formulas).
• Pain of the Liver and Heart: Taichong LIV-3 and
Xingjian LIV-2 (Thousand Ducat Formulas).
• Pain of the Heart with a green complexion like death,
inability to catch the breath all day long, pain of the
Liver and Heart: Taichong LIV-3 and Xingjian LIV-2
• Breast pain: Taichong LIV-3 and Fuliu KID-7 (Systematic
• Swelling and sabre lumps of the axilla: Taichong LIV-
3, Xiaxi GB-43 and Yangfu GB-38 (Thousand Ducat
• Abdominal distention leading to back pain: Taichong
LIV-3 and Taibai SP-3 (Great Compendium).
• Pain of the genitals: Taichong LIV-3, Shenshu BL-23,
Zhishi BL-52 and Jinggu BL-64 (Supplementing Life).
• The seven kinds of shan disorder: Taichong LIV-3 and
Dadun LIV-1 (Song of Points).
• Profuse and ceaseless uterine bleeding: Taichong LIV3, Jiaoxin KID-8, Yingu KID-10 and Sanyinjiao SP-6
• Profuse and ceaseless uterine bleeding: Taichong LIV-
3 and Sanyinjiao SP-6 (Great Compendium).
• Uterine prolapse: Taichong LIV-3, Shaofu HE-8,
Zhaohai KID-6 and Ququan LIV-8 (Great Compendium).
• Difficult delivery: reduce Taichong LIV-3 and
Sanyinjiao SP-6, reinforce Hegu L.I.-4 (Great Compendium).
• Red and white leucorrhoea: Qugu REN-2 [7 cones of
moxa], Taichong LIV-3, Guanyuan REN-4, Fuliu KID-
7, Sanyinjiao SP-6 and Tianshu ST-25 [one hundred
cones of moxa] (Compilation).
• Difficulty in defecation: Taichong LIV-3, Zhongliao
BL-33, Shimen REN-5, Chengshan BL-57, Zhongwan
REN-12, Taixi KID-3, Dazhong KID-4 and Chengjin
BL-56 (Supplementing Life).
• Diarrhoea with thin stools, dysenteric disorder with
blood in the stools: Taichong LIV-3 and Ququan
LIV-8 (Thousand Ducat Formulas).
• Diarrhoea with thin stools: Taichong LIV-3, Shenque
REN-8 and Sanyinjiao SP-6 (Great Compendium).
• The five types of haemorrhoids: Taichong LIV-3,
Weizhong BL-40, Chengshan BL-57, Feiyang BL-58,
Yangfu GB-38, Fuliu KID-7, Xiaxi GB-43, Qihai
REN-6, Huiyin REN-1 and Changqiang DU-1 (Great
• Blood in the stool: Taichong LIV-3, Chengshan BL-57,
Fuliu KID-7 and Taibai SP-3 (Great Compendium).
• Deficiency-taxation oedema: moxa Taichong LIV-3
one hundred times, also moxa Shenshu BL-23 (Thousand
• Enuresis: Taichong LIV-3, Jimen SP-11, Tongli HE-5,
Dadun LIV-1, Pangguangshu BL-28, Weizhong BL-40
and Shenmen HE-7 (Supplementing Life).
• Wasting and thirsting disorder: Taichong LIV-3,
Xingjian LIV-2, Chengjiang REN-24, Jinjin
(M-HN-20), Yuye (M-HN-20), Renzhong DU-26,
Lianquan REN-23, Quchi L.I-11, Laogong P-8,
Shangqiu SP-5, Ranggu KID-2 and Yinbai SP-1 (Great
• “For cold and heat with painful obstruction, open the
Four Gates” [Taichong LIV-3 and Hegu L.I.-4] (Ode to
• Unendurable pain of the arm that radiates to the
shoulder and spine: Taichong LIV-3 and Hegu L.I.-4
(Ode of Xi-hong).
• Flaccidity of the legs: Taichong LIV-3, Yanglingquan
GB-34, Chongyang ST-42 and Qiuxu GB-40 (Great
• Weakness of the legs: moxa Taichong LIV-3, Lidui ST-
45 and Fengshi GB-31 (Outline of Medicine).
• Inability to walk: Taichong LIV-3, Zusanli ST-36 and
Zhongfeng LIV-4 (Ode of the Jade Dragon).
• Difficulty in walking: Taichong LIV-3 and Zhongfeng
LIV-4 (Song More Precious Than Jade).