The Stomach meridian is home to many important points related to digestion.
“The Stomach and Spleen are like warehouses where one stores all the food and essences. They digest, absorb, and extract the food and nutrients.” – Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine
The Stomach meridian is one of the three Yang meridians on the leg. Beginning just under the eye at acupoint ST 1, the Stomach meridian travels down the face, chest, abdomen, and leg, ending on the 2nd toe (acupoint ST 45).
Internally, the Stomach meridian connects with the stomach and spleen.
In the process of digestion, the Stomach is responsible for moving the food along the digestive tract, which is a downward motion. The Spleen is the other organ of digestion in Chinese Medicine. The Spleen is responsible for absorbing nutrients and moving them upward to nourish the heart, lungs, and brain.
All bodily functions ultimately rely on nutrition, absorption, and elimination in order to function. The Stomach, Spleen, Small and Large Intestines all play important roles in these vital functions.
The Stomach’s primary role is to keep the process moving and keep the energy of digestion going in the correct direction: down. Practically speaking, any reversal of this downward flow results in acid reflux, hiccups, and vomiting. If the food we eat does not move along the digestive tract (“food stagnation”) we feel bloated, stuffed, irritable and may experience abdominal cramping.
I use the Stomach meridian and points to support healthy digestion and to relieve digestive complaints.
Famous Stomach Point
Stomach 36, Zu San Li, “Leg Three Miles”
The name of this point implies that even if you were exhausted, stimulating ST 36 would give you the energy to walk another three miles!
I use ST 36 to invigorate and build Qi (energy) and to relieve digestive complaints. On various occasions, just by massaging the Stomach meridian on the leg with pressure to ST 36, I’ve seen digestive issues such as cramping, bloating, and constipation be relieved.
Locate ST 36
Locate ST 36 by feeling for a sensitive area about 3 inches below the lower edge of the knee cap on the outer surface of the leg. The outer edge of the knee cap (patella) is used as a reference to locate the Stomach meridian. Draw a line from the outer edge of the patella, straight down while feeling for the point (located 3 inches below the lower edge of the patella).