Just my point: KID 7

 2024 | Practice
Peter Firebrace
BAcC Fellow: Denmark
Two weeks to the winter solstice dong zhi 冬 至 and I sit here writing by the fire while outside the temperature has been down to -14 °C, the usual drab grey of winter weather transformed by heavy snowfall – every branch, every twig of every tree lightened and brightened into a still, deep-seated beauty.

KID 7 is fu liu 復 溜. Fu 復 is to return to the origin, to come back to, to make come back. Importantly fu 復 is also the name of the 24th of the 64 hexagrams of the Yijing, the Book of Changes, composed of the trigram ☷ kun earth above the trigram ☳ zhen thunder.

Fu ䷗ is then represented by one yang line below five yin lines, indicating the return of yang in the depths of yin. The author and physicist Fritjof Capra referred to it as the turning point. This is an excellent starting point to understand the nature of KID 7 and therefore its clinical application.

If we look at the beginning of the kidney meridian that starts on the sole of the foot (unlike any other meridian) it then moves to KID 2 and on to KID 3 right beside the ankle – but it then turns downwards, in true water style, via KID 4 and KID 5 to KID 6 directly below the ankle.

Some commentators say that at KID 6 fire and water are balanced, as reflected in its name zhao hai 照 海, Shining Sea. It is only at KID 7 – two cun above the ankle – that the meridian is on its upward journey again, returning and restoring kidney yang. No wonder its alternative name is Glorious Yang chang yang 昌 陽!

Heavy snow transforms every branch and every twig of every tree

Interestingly fu ䷗ represents the time of the winter solstice, the return of the yang at the most yin time of year, in the heart of the water phase. The kidneys, uniquely the double organ, gate of life and death, act as life’s personal magician – now yin, now yang, now still, now moving, covering with the left hand, revealing with the right, restoring life from the depths because they are the depths of life. KID 7 that shares the name of the winter solstice hexagram ䷗ fu, The Return, is deeply restorative so that the yin can be preserved and the yang activated, each following its appropriate time.

The second character in its name is liu 溜 which means to slide, to glide, to slip, slippery. Note the three drops of water on the left side of the character, indicating its strong link with fluids and their natural movement, as in so many of these initial kidney points. KID 1 is a spring quan 泉, KID 3 a stream xi 溪, KID 5 another spring quan 泉, KID 6 a sea hai 海. Combining the two characters fu 復 and liu 溜, KID 7 is Returning Current, Restoring the Flow. Its pathology is centred on the movement or stoppage of fluids. It is a major point for oedema, for moving stuck water. I have used it successfully many times and the improvement often comes surprisingly quickly.

However treating oedema can be more complicated as it can be caused by or aggravated by drug side effects, for example of commonly prescribed blood pressure drugs such as amlodipine, where the foot and ankle and sometimes the entire lower leg is swollen with pitting oedema. Movement of the toes, the foot and the ankle is restricted, compromising the movement of the whole body. Local injuries such as cuts and scratches become hard to heal and there is a danger of the formation of leg ulcers since the circulation is so poor. In the elderly this oedema can lead to a general slowing down, a restriction of once normal daily practices, a change in their perception of themselves, a decrease in their expectations of their future.

A common pattern is weak kidneys and a spleen blocked by dampness. If the patient is also cold and tired, I will use moxa cones on the needle at KID 7, a fantastic help to stimulate the kidney yang, reviving the will to live and increasing their expectations of themselves as the water starts to move and the flooded landscape returns to its normal shape and form.

I often combine KID 7 with SP 9 Yin Mound Spring yin ling quan 陰 陵 泉, that helps to transform the dampness – and also with REN 9 Water Division shui fen 水 分, again with moxa cones on the needle, especially if the oedema is affecting the abdomen as well. The third century text the Jiayi Jing emphasises that when the patient is cold in the feet and legs and cannot warm up, moxa on KID 7 will be very helpful.

KID 7 also regulates the waterways in two other ways. It helps to clear damp heat in the bladder, when there is frequent urination, often with pain and cramping. And it controls sweating. In night sweats it tonifies the yin to prevent sweating. In fever without sweating it tonifies the defensive wei qi 衛 氣 to open and close the pores appropriately to allow sweating. The 17th century text the Great Compendium Zhenjiu Dacheng says if there is copious sweating reduce LI 4 and tonify KID 7, and if there is little sweating tonify LI 4 and reduce KID 7.

Snowfall brings in winter’s deep-seated silence

KID 7 is then an important point to restore both kidneys – nourishing the yin where there is lumbar pain, night sweats and dry tongue and returning the yang where there is cold, no sweating and oedema. It is an excellent point in exhaustion – think of the midwinter low where the reserves have been used up. It also strengthens the brain and marrow, so remember it for loss of memory. It is deeply restorative. As the metal jin 金 point KID 7 regulates and tonifies the kidneys. As a jing 經 river point it has a calm, strong, stable movement xing 行.

Just as the winter solstice closes one year and opens the next, so the Yijing Book of Changes says that hexagram 24 fu ䷗ Return signifies a coming back. We could echo these concepts and add that KID 7 fu liu 復 溜 powerfully restores the flow to ensure the rising of kidney qi in the present, so safeguarding health and vitality in the future.