Sunday, April 21, 2013

Featured Acupuncture Point: Gallbladder 20 "Wind Pool" for Allergies, Headache & Sinusitis

The acupuncture point gallbladder 20, or feng chi, translated as "Wind Pool," is located bilaterally, in the tender hollows at the base of the skull, between the origins of the steromastoid and trapezius muscles.

The point is relevant to themes of allergy relief and springtime Liver health. It is commonly used by acupuncturist to treat sinus congestion, headaches, and red, itchy eyes, as well as to address certain Liver pathologies.

Gallbladder 20 is called "Wind Pool," first, because the depression in which it is located resembles a pool on the body's landscape. Second, and more significantly, it is used to treat all kinds of "wind patterns."

Wind, in Chinese medicine, is one of six climactic factors (along with cold, dampness, dryness, heat & fire) that cause disease.

Characteristics of wind-diseases include:
  • rapid onset
  • rapid changes in symptoms
  • moving from place to place in the body
  • affect the top part of the body.

Wind-diseases are divided into external and internal patterns:

Allergies and the common cold are common examples of external wind-invasion. In these cases, wind invades the Lungs and penetrating the body's surface/defensive Qi. An acupuncturist differentiates between patterns of wind-cold (chills, runny nose, stiff-achy neck & back, etc.); wind-heat ( fever, thick-yellow mucous, congestion, red eyes, etc.); and wind-dampness (congestion, runny nose, feeling of heaviness and foggy-headedness). 

External wind can also invade the channels of the face, causing facial paralysis or Bell's Palsy; the joints, causing arthritic pain; or the liver, causing itching.

Internal wind, by contrast, is always related to Liver disharmony, and manifests as tremors, tics, dizziness, vertigo, numbness, and in severe cases, convulsions, unconsciousness and stroke.

In terms of Yin & Yang, wind is a Yang pathogen. Gallbladder 20 is a crossing point of several important Yang channels of the body. It is supremely important in treating wind conditions. Located at a pivotal position between the head and the body, it is one of the most important points to treat diseases of the brain, the head and the sensory organs, especially the eyes.

In biomedical terms, stimulation of gallbladder 20 can support the function of the vagus nerve, which plays an important role in the innervation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

The therapeutic actions of gallbladder 20, in Chinese medicine terms, are:
  • eliminates wind
  • benefits the head and eyes
  • clears the sense organs
  • activates the Yang channels of the body and alleviates pain.

Gallbladder 20 is often stimulated with acupuncture or massage to treat:
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • hypertension
  • sequelae of stroke
  • epilepsy
  • insomnia
  • dementia
  • hives
  • common cold
  • sinusitis
  • nasal congestion/runniness
  • redness and pain of the eyes
  • vision problems
  • nosebleed
  • deafness
  • tinnitus
  • stiffness and pain of the neck and low back.
Gallbladder 20 can alleviate pain on the back, as well as on the sides of the body. The sides of the body are the domain of the gallbladder channel.


Massage this gallbladder to alleviate headaches (particularly sinus or one-sided headaches), sinusitis or insomnia.

With the thenar eminences of the palms of both hands (the thick pad nearest the thumb), massage gallbladder 20 in a rapid circular motion, 20-50 small, rapid circles, until the area becomes warm.

Follow this by massaging Kidney 1, the bubbling wellspring point, on the bottoms of the feet with the palms of the hand in rapid circular motions, in order to bring energy down out of the head.

Gallbladder 20 is just one of many tools in the acupuncturist's toolkit.

If you or someone you care about suffers from allergies, sinusitis, vision problems, headaches, etc.,
call 510-495-5752 or email,
to learn more about how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help.


Andrew Ellis, et al. Grasping the Wind: An Exploration into the Meaning of Chinese acupuncture point names.

Giovanni Maciocia. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists.

Peter Deadman et al. A Manual of Acupuncture