Stomach 36 or Zusanli is a very important and effective point for building and maintaining health. This versatile acupuncture point has been used for thousands of years to promote longevity, strengthen the immune system, treat stomach problems, digestive problems, fatigue, chronic disease and problems with the knees and lower legs.
Zusanli is located four fingers widths directly below the outer eye of the knee and one finger width away from the shin bone. On some people you will find a slight indentation in the muscle where the point is located.
You can massage or moxa this point daily. Moxa is a form of cured mugwort herb that is burned over acupuncture points to warm and stimulate them. This technique is called moxibustion and a description of its use first appeared in an ancient Chinese medical text written in 500 AD. It is believed that burning moxa daily over Zusanli promotes longevity. In fact Dr. Shimetaro Hara, who did much research on moxa, applied moxa daily over Zusanli and lived to be over 100 years old.
In Japan, yomogi (Japanese mugwort), has been used to celebrate festivals in addition to its use as a healing herb. During the Edo period (1603-1868) burning moxa on acupuncture points became very popular and was typically an annual event. The Japanese poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), famous for his long journeys about Japan on foot, writing poems at famous spots along the way, writes in the beginning of his book Narrow Road to the Interior (Oku no hosomichi) that he has darned his socks, fixed the strap of his bamboo hat, and burned moxa on his legs to strengthen them, and is thus ready to set out on a long journey.
Our patients can purchase a moxa kit with instructions, if they are interested in using moxa on Zusanli at home. Alternately you can massage this point daily, on infants, children and adults, to prevent and treat colds, allergies, fatigue and a number of digestive problems including abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, hiccups, indigestion, diarrhea and poor appetite. This is a powerful form of self care that is free, quick and simple to do at home for yourself and your family.