Guanyuan REN-4

Chinese: 关元

Pinyin: Guān Yuán


On the midline of the abdomen, 3 cun below the umbilicus. 

How to locate

It is the meeting point between the Directing Vessel and the Liver, Spleen and Kidney channel.

On the midline of the lower abdomen, divide the distance between the umbilicus and the upper border of the pubic symphysis into 5 cun. Guanyuan REN-4 is located 3 cun below umbilicus and 2 cun above the upper border of the pubic symphysis. 


Main actions

  1. Nourishes Blood and Yin
  2. Strengthens the Kidneys and its receiving of Qi
  3. Strengthens the Uterus and regulates menstruation
  4. Benefits the Bladder in the Lower Burner
  5. Benefits the Original Qi (Yuan Qi) and Essence
  6. Subdues Rebellious Qi in the Penetrating Vessel
  7. Regulates the Small Intestine Qi
  8. Calms the Mind and the Ethereal Soul


Vertically 0.5-1.2 cun. 

Caution: be careful with Peritoneum. Take great care during pregnancy. 

Commentary for Guanyuan REN-4

Guanyuan REN-4 is one of the most powerful tonifying points, as it tonifies all form of Qi, like Original Qi, Defensive Qi and Nutritive Qi. It can also tonify all other vital substances of the body such as BloodEssence,  Yin and Yang, (specially in the Kidneys) as well as the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

First of all, it can treat any patterns of Blood and/or Yin Deficiency. It is because Directing Vessel controls all the Yin Channels and REN-4 is the meeting point of Directing Vessel and the three Foot Yin Channels (the Liver, Spleen and Kidney channel). 

Secondly, it tonifies Yang and nourishes Yin, especially in the Kidneys as they are the roots of general Yin and Yang of the body. Therefore, REN-4 strengthens the Original Qi (原气  Yuan Qi) which is the base of all body Qi and energy. Therefore, it is a very important point to treat chronic diseases or someone with a poor constitution.  

Together with Qixun KI-13, REN-4 also strengthens Kidney's ability to receive Qi to treat diseases such as chronic asthma, coughing,  cough with blood and breathlessness. 

The Kidneys control bones and their Deficiency give rise to dizziness, tinnitus, frequent urination, impotence as well as weak, pain and cold sensation in the limbs and back, especially among the elderly. In some severe cases, the patients even suffer from withered ears as the Kidneys open to the ear. Dark face is the result of Kidney Yin Deficieny. REN-4 is indicated to ease all above issues by restoring Kidney Yang and Yin. It is worth mentioned that moxibustion is often used more for tonifying Yang at the point. 

The Kidneys and the Directing Vessel dominate the Uterus functions such as menstruation and conception. When the Kidney is Deficient, the Kidney Fire is weak and leads to Cold in the Uterus, so that its two basic functions are impaired. REN-4 tonifies the Kidneys so as to treating infertility. It also has a good reputation for treating any menstrual problems such as heavy periods, irregular periodsamenorrhea  or scanty periods. Other gynaecological issues include cold sensation in  the vagina, bleeding during pregnancy or lochial retention. It is often used together with Lieque LU-7 and Zhaohai-KI.  

Weak Kidneys cause Excess Heat in the Bladder as well with typical symptoms such as retention of urine, dark urine, painful urination, blood in the urine. Therefore REN-4 tonifies the Bladder indirectly, like its neighboring point Zhongji REN-3

Additionally, it regulates the Spleen and the Small Intestine, thus it treats lethargy, weak limbs, diarrhoea, undigested food in the stools and incontinence of stools in the elderly. It treats the pattern of Small Intestine Qi pain derives from Qi Stagnation in the Organ. The typical symptoms are abdominal twisting pain with borborygmi. 

This point also has a strong calming effect on the Mind (Shen) as it nourishes Blood and Yin. Yin Deficiency causes anxiety as excessive Qi rises to the head. REN-4 tonifies the Qi in the Lower Burner so as to direct Qi downwards. It also roots the Ethereal Soul, which cause a vague feeling of fear, especially during the night. 

Finally, it helps to subdue the Rebellious Qi in the Penetrating Vessels, together with other points such as Gongsun SP-4 and Neiguan P-6. The typical symptoms are the feeling of cold in the lower abdomen, Running Piglet Syndrome, abdominal fullness and umbilical pain.