Tong Ren for Hips, Hamstrings and Pelvic Area

Tong Ren for Hips, Hamstrings and Pelvic Area
Question: "Partly for me to but for many clients with mental health issues... they tell me they are constricted in the pelvis/hips and I check that their hammies are tight as well. I know some muscles in that area are significant like quadratus lumborum and psoas. Sometimes there is also related constriction in the thigh muscles such as with adductor and quadriceps. I often give them stretches to do and I can work on lumbar and lower abdominal area, but I am also wondering if there are other
meridian points perhaps not specified on the doll (and maybe this would need to come from an acupuncturist who does TR) that would help further open these areas. In all cases there is some measure of fear (fight/flight issues) being held in that area. - Sam

Response: Historical acupuncture included not only the 12 Primary Meridians that most acupuncturists use, and the 8 Extraordinary meridians that some acupuncturists use, but a total of five meridian systems, including the Divergent Meridian set of pathways. The Divergent Meridian system diverges emotional charge as well as charge (reaction) to physical threats (to pathogens, etc.) away from the constitution (genetic level, 8 Extraordinary Meridians level) out to the joints, especially the hips, shoulders, and spine, as well as the "liao" points (boney crevices, ie SI 18, sacral foramen, etc.). This is a protective mechanism of the body - a way of sticking the perceived threat (emotional or physical) into closets, into "latency", to deal with later. The problem is that closets can fill up so full that they start to overflow. It takes our energy to try to keep the closet doors shut and the contents inside the closets, so our overall energy
goes down. Then when we become too tired or weak, or another emotional or pathogenic threat comes along, then our energy becomes divided between keeping the chronic conditions in the closet (in latency) and dealing with the new perceived threat. So with the energy divided (low energy), we may not do a great job dealing with the new threat OR keeping problems hidden in the closets. So we might get sick when illness comes along, or we might NOT get sick because we recognize we are not strong enough to fight the threat and stick the smallest threat, like the cold and flu, into the closet with the rest of the unresolved content that we cannot face right now. (I have heard before that people with schizophrenia in mental hospitals often catch cold and flu less frequently than healthy issues, as though the epidemic flies right over them. I do not know if this is true in fact, but if it is true, the theory of latency and the Divergent Meridians, and driving any threat into the closet to deal with later, could offer an explanation.)
Symptoms are often felt in the hips, sacral area, shoulders, spine, and may include emotional issues from past unresolved incidences in people's lives. Your client may well improve with work on the Divergent Meridians.
Tapping along the Divergent Meridians on a Tong Ren doll will work quite nicely as long as you understand what your intent is and where the trajectories lie. You can learn about the Divergent Meridians by reading a transcript of a weekend lecture by Jeffrey Yuen, available from the bookstore of the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) in Newton, MA, very close to Watertown Square. Just be certain that their energy is strong enough to handle content coming out once you start pulling things out via the Divergent Meridians. If their energy is not strong enough, you may use the Divergent Meridians to assist the body in keeping the threat in latency, together with other Tong Ren approaches to strengthen the body to be able to better hold things in the closet.
I hope that this helps to answer your question.
To add to my last response, in addition to Divergent Meridians, there is the concept of "Doors to the Earth" points. In Tong Ren we use the "Sky Window" points to get blood moving to the head (ie SI16, LI18, ST9, SJ16, and TienDong added by Tom Tam to access the vertebral artery). The NeiJing makes an important emphasis on the relationship between points in the neck and in the pelvic area. Later in history, acupuncture clinicians matched specific points in the neck with points in the pelvis. You may use the Sky Window points to affect the Doors to the Earth points, you may use Doors to the Earth points to affect the Sky Window points, and you may combine them in various ways together. Think about the comparison of blood flowing from the body to the head getting stuck in the neck, and blood flowing from the body to the legs getting stuck in the pelvic region. The body actually will tighten up and decrease blood flow through these areas in a
psycho-somatic defensive reaction. Opening these points helps to deal with both physical issues as well as emotional issues.

Points to consider in the pelvic region, ie Doors to the Earth, include: ST30, GB30, (UB54?), LV12, SP12, KD11, CV2, CV3

In the neck area, besides the Sky Window points mentioned above, check also CV22 and GV14, which regulate an energetic "ring around the collar" to do with energy blockages going through the neck.

Again, points on the neck may affect the pelvic region, and points in the pelvic region may affect the neck.

I hope this helps.

- Greg Miller San Francisco