Du Governing Vessel

The Du (Governing Vessel), and why it’s important.

Du Governing VesselThere are 8 Extraordinary Vessels

Each Vessel is part of the overall meridian system, yet different than the twelve “regular meridians.” They are most often described as “reservoirs of Qi.”

Only two of these Vessels have points of their own, the Du, Governing Vessel, and the Ren (Conception Vessel). The other six Vessels have no points.

Du means “Governing”

Some people use the term “Du,” others prefer the English translation, “Governing Vessel.”  Below is a picture of the Du, Governing Vessel:
Du Governing Vessel

The Du Vessel Governs all of the Yang Meridians in the body

The twelve meridians, and the eight extraordinary meridians are woven together to form part of the energetic web of the body. The Du Governing Vessel is said to “govern the Yang meridians.”  The Du is located on the center of the back, following the path of the spinal cord up from the “tail bone,” across the top of the head, ending inside the mouth, on the upper gum.

When to use the Du Governing Vessel

There are three main reasons that I utilize the Du Governing Vessel:

  1.  When there are any conditions involving the spinal cord and/or brain.
  2.  When I want to mobilize the active, protective energy of the Yang meridians, as a whole.
  3.  To relieve tension and pain anywhere along the pathway, from the head to the base of the spine.

Favorite Du Governing Vessel Point

The Du Governing Vessel has a total of 28 points along its pathway. The point DU 16 is my “go to point” for relieving headaches and neck strain/pain.

Du Governing Vessel

Du 16, also known as GV 16

How to locate Du 16

  1. Place your finger tips on the center of the back of your head.
  2. Slide your fingers down toward your neck. Feel for a “drop off” from the bones of your skull to the softer tissue of your neck.
  3. Du 16 is located in the soft tissue of your neck, at the border of the skull, and in the center of the back of your head. Use the image above to help with the exact location.
  4. Once you locate the point, gently press in and massage the area to relieve head and neck tension.

Once you find this point on yourself, it is easier to find on others. Practice locating Du 16 on others by having them lie down on their back, with their head fully supported. Bring your fingers together, centered at the back of their head. Now, slide down towards their neck and locate Du 16, just as you did on yourself. Ask the person to tell you when it feels like you are on the point. Working together, you will be able to feel Du 16, and then offer gentle massage to relieve pain and tension.

Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please use the comment box below to share your adventures!

To go deeper, check out the 3 part Mini-series: The 8 Extraordinary Vessels –

8 Extraordinary Vessels

About The Author

Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  • Challice Robinson

    Reply Reply December 3, 2015

    Perfect timing, thanks Cindy!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

      Reply Reply December 3, 2015

      You are welcome Challice

  • Bonnie Innerst

    Reply Reply December 3, 2015

    Wow! This was perfect for me to see today! Understanding that there are no coincidences in this world, that this is JUST what I needed to understand for myself and my own body, but more importantly to be more intentional in my massages when doing a head hold. Thanks Cindy for this. Love, Bonnie Innerst

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

      Reply Reply December 3, 2015

      I love synchronicity too!

  • Susie Washburn

    Reply Reply December 4, 2015

    Thank You so much Cindy!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

      Reply Reply December 4, 2015

      You are welcome!
      I enjoy making Chinese medicine “learnable” 🙂

  • Laurel

    Reply Reply December 5, 2015

    Is there a point that does the same for the shoulder blade area? Between the sb and the spine.

  • Patty

    Reply Reply December 7, 2015

    Thank you Cindy! I am a 20-something who is studying Medical QiGong, Tantric Yoga, and Physical Therapy. I appreciate the gracious offering of your knowledge.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

      Reply Reply December 8, 2015


      You are most welcome. The more we all share, the more we all learn from each other.

  • Michele Cipressi Dean

    Reply Reply December 13, 2015

    Thank you Cindy, great information!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

      Reply Reply December 13, 2015


      You are welcome – enjoy!

  • sue

    Reply Reply October 25, 2017

    can we use points on DU to treat blood clot in the brain….

    • Cindy Black

      Reply Reply October 25, 2017

      Hi Sue,

      No, these points are not used to treat blood clots in the brain. This approach is about balancing the energetics in order to support the physical. When a manifestation is a physically dense as a blood clot, that is beyond the scope of this work.

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