(written by Sara Beth)
One of the most frequently asked questions we hear during an acupuncture session is “Why are you putting a needle there?”, and it seems to be asked most often about the points in the head.
Two of my favorite points are BaiHui (a.k.a. DU20) and YinTang. I often start a session with these points, as to me they’re the acupuncture equivalent of taking a few deep breaths or meditating for a while. They have a calming effect not just on your mind, but on your entire body. They’re particularly helpful at the start of a session for those who get a little nervous around needles!
BaiHui is the uppermost point on the human body, located in the center of the top of your head. We use a numbering system here in the U.S. to identify many of the points, so we usually refer to it as DU20. But the Chinese name for the point, BaiHui, offers a more descriptive image. It translates to “Hundred Convergences”, as it’s the place where all of the energies of your body meet, making it one of the most powerful points on the body.
BaiHui has a number of functions, and is most commonly used for its calming nature. It can treat any type of stress, tension (mental or physical), anxiety, or sleep disorder. Yet at the same time, it’s where all of the yang energies of the body meet (the warming, active energies that give you motivation & drive), making it great for fatigue, lethargy, and brain fog. Being at the top of your head, it also lifts your Qi and is used anytime there is too much ‘downward’ flow, such as with diarrhea, heavy menstrual flow, organ prolapse, or even just a sinking mood.
It’s also said to boost your brainpower, and who doesn’t need that? Walk into any acupuncture school during final exam week, and I guarantee you’ll see students hunched over their tests with a needle sticking out of this point in their head!
YinTang is another great point for stress, anxiety, and mental restlessness. Located between the eyebrows, it’s in the area of what many spiritual belief systems believe to be the ‘third eye’ – the gateway to higher spiritual consciousness and enlightenment.
In our modern society, I like to think of it as the stop button for ‘hamster-wheel brain’ common when stress & anxiety are high. When you feel like you can’t relax or can’t fall asleep because your mind is spinning with all the things on your to-do list, YinTang is the perfect point for you. It helps to turn off mental chatter, reduce anxiety, and regain clear focus.
YinTang is also powerful for treating head colds, headaches, nasal congestion, and sinus problems. For nasal congestion, it’s often used along with two points on either side of the nostrils, and when used together these three points are referred to in Chinese tradition as “three swords to heaven”. In my mind, I think of them as the “Three Musketeers” of cold-fighting. Powerful soldiers to have on your side when battling a bug during cold & flu season!
DU20 and Yintang are both great points for the fall season. The start of the school year is a busy time for families. For working professionals, projects with end-of-year deadlines are kicked into high gear. The days begin to get shorter, which can lead to increased depression & anxiety for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. And, we begin our transition into the busy and often stressful holiday season. DU20 and Yintang are the perfect ‘de-stress and reboot’ combo for this time of year!