Integrative Medicine Blog

Winter Renewal with Ming Men (Gate of Destiny)

Christopher Reilly L.Ac., MSA Sunday, December 13, 2015

Finding inner stillness with an acupuncture channel in your lower back - Ming Men.

The winter season represents a shift into the water aspect of the five elements, or more properly translated, the five movements. Humans are advised to follow nature and move inwardly to the roots and core of our being. What is extraneous is shed, and what is central is embraced.

To aid this movement we have the fourth point on the governing channel - an acupuncture channel that follows the center line of the back. This point is called Ming Men which roughly translates to "Gate of Life" or "Gate of Destiny," and it is regarded as one of the strongest points to strengthen the overall constitution. Ming Men is located at the lower border of the second lumbar vertebra, roughly opposite the belly button.

For this exercise, sit in the edge of a chair in a quiet environment. Use one or both palms to gently rub your lumbar (lower) back until it feels very warm, but not uncomfortable. Once warmed, allow your hands to rest in your lap touching each other, and let the focus of your mind come to rest in your lower abdomen in a state of quietude and stillness. Still waters run deep, and the water movement of the body is the home of the yuan qi, or "original qi". Yuan qi is the movement of life in its natural tract, in harmony, and represents an inherent wisdom that makes itself clear in the kind of quiet that you find in a forest's deep winter, the sound of every snow flake falling clear and steady. Rest in that peace for a while. Repeat the process of warming the back and being still two more times, for a total of three.

When you are focusing on this exercise, focus lightly - the mind should guide the process as gently as a hand would hold an ancient parchment. Stillness isn't always easy to find. It is something we open into, and by its nature cannot be forced. Disturbed waters don't settle from being pushed or manipulated, just observe the water to be what it is, and it will find it's own stillness.