Mingmen DU-4

Chinese: 命门

Pinyin: Mìng Mén


On the lower back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).  

How to locate

Locate the Tufffier's line, which connects the two most superior points on the iliac crest. It generally intersects with the 4th lumber vertebra (L4). Then locate the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2) by counting up two.

Locate Mingmen DU-4 below the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2) on the midline. 


Main actions

  1. Tonifies Kidney Yang and warms the Gate of Life
  2. Expels Cold
  3. Strengthens the Original Qi
  4. Strengthens the Essence
  5. Clears Heat
  6. Extinguishes internal Wind
  7. Clears the Mind


0.5–1 cun vertically to slightly obliquely in an inferior direction, with the patient’s back straight or flexed.

Commentary for Mingmen DU-4

Mingmen is translated to the 'Gate of Life' in Chinese. The Fire of the Gate of Life is located between the Kidneys and it is the origin of the body's physiological Fire, which supplies the fundamental warmth for all internal Organs and their daily functions. 

Thus Mingmen DU-4 is very effective in strengthening Kidney Yang by warming the Fire of Gate of Life. Therefore, the point is widely used to treat various symptoms such as feeling of cold, fatigue, chronic lower back pain as well as cold and weak knees and legs.

In additional to that, this point can treat large range of Interior Cold symptoms by tonifying individual Organ's Yang or general Yang. For example, Spleen Yang Deficiency leads to chronic diarrhoea. Bladder Yang Deficiency causes profuse clear urination or urinary retention. Small Intestine Deficiency causes abdominal pain. While Cold in the Uterus leads to infertility or dysmenorrhoea.  

On top of expelling Cold from the body, this point can also be stimulated to clear Heat, as it basically balance the body temperature. 

The Fire of Gate of Life has a close relationship to the Pre-Heaven Essence. At conception, this Fire already exists and aggregates at Mingmen DU-4. While for Pre-Heaven Essence, it is also created at conception, but aggregates at Guanyuan REN-4.  It matures into Kidney Essence at puberty, which is the material base for producing women's menstrual blood and eggs as well as men's sperm. The Fire of Gate of Life provides the necessary warmth for this process.

In fact the Fire of Gate of Life is the the Yang aspect of the Pre-Heaven Essence. If it is weak, various of sexual disorders can occur such as impotence, premature ejaculation or nocturnal emissions. 

Mingmen DU-4 is often used for patients with weak constitution and vitality, as it also tonifies Original Qi. The symptoms are long-term physical and mental weakness and tiredness. 

It is particularly recommended to use moxibustion on this point, but with great caution due to its great heating effect. The patients need to have internal Cold in additional to Kidney Yang Deficiency. Moxi should not be applied in DU-4 if there are any signs of internal Heat in any parts of the body. 

It can also be applied to extinguish Interior Wind so as to treat head tremor, apisthotonos or epilepsy. 

Finally, Mingmen DU-4 is the Governing Vessel point that influences the Mind the most. First of all, it has a close relationship with Essence, which houses the Will-power and provides the material base for the Mind and Qi. Thus the stronger the Essences, the stronger the Mind and the Will-power. 

Secondly, a branch of Governing Vessel passes the Heart, which houses the Mind itself. Thirdly, another branch of the Vessel enters the Brain and has significant influence over the Mind. Therefore, Mingmen DU-4 is said to have particular impact on clearing the Mind and lifting mood. It can treat depression, especially if it is caused by Kidney Yang Deficiency.