Shenshu BL-23 Acupuncture Point

Shenshu BL-23

Chinese: 肾俞

Pinyin: Shèn Shū

Location

1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2). 

How to locate

First identify the Tuffier's line which connects the highest points of the iliac crest. The spinous process  of the 4th lumber vertebra (L4) mostly falls on this line. 

Then identify the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2) by counting two up. Locate Shenshu BL-23 1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of L2. Zhishi BL-52 is at the same level but 3 cun lateral to L2.  

Points located between BL-41 and BL-54 are the outer branch of the Bladder Channel, while these between BL-12 and BL-30 are the inner branch. 

Main actions

  1. Tonifies Kidney Yang and nourishes Kidney Yin
  2. Nourishes Kidney Essence
  3. Benefits bones and Marrow as well as the lower back
  4. Regulates the water passages and resolves Dampness in the Lower Burner
  5. Strengthens the Uterus and menstruation
  6. Benefits the eyes and ears
  7. Strengthens Kidney Qi and reception of Lung Qi

Needling

Obliquely 0.5–1.5 cun.

Caution: deep vertical needling carries a risk of injuring the kidney

Commentary for Shenshu BL-23

Shenshu BL-23 is one of the most important point of the body. As the Kidney Back Transporting-Shu point, many of its functions are to treat Kidney disharmony. In fact, it is able to strengthen all aspect of Kidneys: Kidney Yin, Yang, Essence, Qi and its receiving of Lung Qi

Firstly, it is a must used point for any chronic Kidney Deficiency. Direct moxibustion should be added on top to tonify Kidney Yang or Qi, but not for Kidney Yin Deficiency cases. The point is also widely used for chronic asthma by stimulating the Kidney function of receiving Lung Qi.

Secondly, it is used for Kidney Essence Deficiency, characterized by symptoms such as impotence, nocturnal emissions, infertility, spermatorrhoea and lack of sexual desire. The Essence is stored in the Kidneys and is the foundation for life and the Mind. If the Essence is weak, the patients suffers from general weakness and exhaustion physically. They tend to be depressed, negative, lack of imitative, will-power and excusal desire. Shenshu BL-23 has a powerful effect on nourishing Kidneys Essence and lifting general mood, especially if it is combined with Zhishi BL-52

Thirdly, Shenshu BL-23 promotes the formation of Marrow and Bones as the Kidneys controls over these two elements. It is used in Sea of Marrow Deficiency, characterized by symptoms such as dizziness, poor memory, tinnitus, weak legs, blurred vision, fatigue and a constant desire to sleep. It also strengthens the Bones and treats diseases like arthritic bone deformities, osteoporosis and osteomalacia. 

Furthermore, it is widely used to strengthen the lower back and the lumbar area. Typical symptoms include lower back pain, feeling of cold in the back as well as weak and cold knees. 

Fourthly, BL-23 regulates the water passages and resolves Dampness in the Lower Burner.  Therefore, it is able to treat various urinary disorders as well as Oedema. It is also indicated for acute urinary stones. For these cases, Reducing Needling method should be applied and it often combines with Pangguanshu BL-28 and Yinlingquan SP-9

Next, the Uterus and the Kidneys have a very strong connection through the Uterus Channel Bao Luo. Thus BL-23 has influence over the Uterus function and it regulates the menstruation. The Governing, Directing and Penetrating Vessels connect to the Uterus as well and they can be strengthened by stimulating BL-23. Typical symptoms are amenorrhea, scanty and irregular periods, infertility, cold Uterus as well as heavy periods. 

Finally, the Kidneys opens to the ears. Shenshu BL-23 is widely used for all types of chronic ear issues caused by Kidney Deficiency, mostly tinnitus and deafness. On the other hand, Triple Burner and Gall Bladder Channels are more suited for acute ear problems, such as otitis or ear infections. 

BL-23 is also a major point in treating eye issues caused by Kidney Yin Deficiency. By nourishing the Kidney Yin, eyes can be moistened and have better sight, especially for the elderly.