Spleen 6, San Yin Jiao, and the Deep Front Fascial Line
Spleen 6 (SP 6) is one of the most commonly used acupuncture points for treating a variety of disorders. In this post I will discuss how it relates to the Deep Front Line (DFL), and how this corresponds to it being the crossing point for the three leg yin meridians.
The Chinese name for SP 6 is San Yin Jiao which means Three Yin Crossing. If we look at myofascial anatomy we find that most points on the three leg yin meridians influence the DFL. The Deep Front Line includes the muscles tibialis posterior, the adductors, and the deep pelvic fascia and structures.
It should be noted that many of the leg yin meridian points share similar functions. For instance, points on the liver, spleen, and kidney meridians can all be used for gynecological, reproductive, urinary, and pelvic disorders.
Spleen 6 and liver 3 (LV 3) are widely used for PMS, infertility, and other disorders involving women’s reproductive health. For urinary problems points like SP 6, SP 9, KI 3, KI 7, and even LV 3 can be used. (LV 3 is indicated for lin syndrome due to liver imbalances). Similarly, prostatitis can be treated with a variety of leg yin points on the Deep Front Line. Common acupuncture points for prostatitis include: SP 6, SP 9, KI 3, KI 7, and LV 3.
In TCM the final points used for treating any of the above listed disorders will be based on the zang-fu pattern that is present. However, since SP 6 is the crossing point of the three leg yin meridians it can be used for numerous patterns. I would also argue that any of the acupuncture points on the DFL can be used much like SP 6, since any of these points will influence the DFL and deep pelvic fascia. In some regards, we can think of the DFL as being the functional anatomical equivalent of what SP 6 represents as the Three Yin Crossing. Additionally, the DFL consolidates the three leg yin meridians into one line, and there are many advantages in recognizing this and implementing it into clinical practice. I will elaborate on this through the remaining of the article.
In some regards, we can think of the DFL as being the functional anatomical equivalent of what SP 6 represents as the
Three Yin Crossing.
To dive deeper let's take a closer look at the anatomy of the DFL and discuss how this relates to myofascial chains. To begin a myofascial chain or line is an interconnected group of myofascia and connective tissues. As the myofasciae in a line are connected, stimuli and forces in one area will influence structures in distant regions along that chain. Therefore, a needle at SP 6 can produce forces that travel along the DFL to influence the pelvis. This is somewhat similar to nerve transmissions, in that a stimulus will have local and non-local responses.
In the feet the myofascia between the metatarsals are part of the DFL, so needling a point like LV 3 will strongly affect this fascial line. Moving up the leg the tibialis posterior and long toe flexors are a part of the DFL. These points can all potentially reach the Deep Front Line: SP 6, SP 7, SP 8, SP 9, KI 7, KI 8, KI 9, and the liver points when needled deep into the soft tissues. Remember that these same points treat a variety of disorders of the pelvis, urinary, and reproductive systems.
Keeping with the theory that the DFL consolidates the three leg yin meridians into one line, we can notice that various leg yin points share similar functions in treating urinary, reproductive, and pelvic disorders.
Supporting this theory is the way in which lower leg points are used in Master Tung style acupuncture. In this system there is a group of well known points named the Lower Three Emperors (77.17, 77.19, 77.21). These points are said to benefit both spleen and kidney functions and are used as a set of three points. The point 77.17 is in the same location as SP 9, while 77.19 is located at SP 7, and 77.21 is located at SP 6. Thus, the Lower Three Emperors are essentially SP 6, SP 7, and SP 9 all needled together as a dao ma. (Note: A dao ma is a group of two or three points in close proximity which are needled together and share similar functions.) Additionally, these points can be used for all kinds of spleen and kidney patterns and disorders, and they treat a wide variety of reproductive, urinary, and pelvic conditions. So in the Tung system one of the most common ways to address both spleen and kidney disharmonies is to needle the Lower Three Emperors.
In TCM a common group of points that are often needled together are SP 6 and LV 3.
In TCM a common group of points that are often needled together are SP 6 and LV 3. You will find these points indicated together for diverse patterns including liver qi stagnation, liver yin deficiency, liver yang rising, blood vacuity, liver overacting on the spleen, heart patterns, and more. Individually these points share many common functions such as treating PMS, ovarian cysts, infertility, anxiety, abdominal pain, headaches, insomnia, etc. As these points are located in close proximity and share many common functions we can consider them as a dao ma. In regards to leg yin meridian points, these are two of the most commonly used acupuncture points.
For a pattern like blood vacuity SP 6 could be paired with both LV 3 and LV 8, and this combination would also strongly influence the DFL. For damp patterns SP 6 gets paired with SP 9 and possibly KI 7. For a pattern like kidney and spleen vacuity a possible point combination includes SP 6, SP 9, and KI 7. For gynecological patterns SP 6 and SP 7 are often used in combination, and this is two thirds of the Lower Three Emperors dao ma.
While there are many point combinations possible with the leg yin meridians, we can conclude that points that influence the DFL will be on either the spleen, liver, or kidney meridians. In summary, points on the DFL share similar functions in treating urinary, reproductive, pelvic, and internal medical disorders.
To learn more about how fascial lines relate to acupuncture meridians and points visit some of my other pages.
Master Tung's Points and Myofascial Lines