Introduction to the Ren Meridian Conception Vessel

Acupuncturist inserting a needle into a client's back.
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The Ren Mai or Ren Meridian -- also known as the Conception Vessel -- is a channel of life-force energy (Qi) within the subtle body, that is used in qigong and acupuncture practice.

As one of the Eight Extraordinary Meridians, the Ren Mai represents a more fundamental level of energetic functioning than do the twelve main acupuncture meridians.

Along with the Du Meridian, the Ren Meridian is unique among the Eight Extraordinary Meridians for having its own acupuncture points.

Also with the Du Meridian, it is of central importance in qigong practice, as one of the meridians that -- when joined together -- forms the Microcosmic Orbit. As such, it is of central importance for qigong practitioners, as a means for accessing and transmuting the Three Treasures.

Pathway of the Ren Mai: Conception Vessel

The Ren Mai originates in the uterus in females and in the lower abdomen in males, and emerges onto the surface of the body at Ren1 (Hui Yin) in the perineum (the center of the pelvic floor). From there it ascends along the midline of the abdomen, chest, throat and jaw, ending at Ren24, in the groove just below the lower lip. An internal portion of the channel then winds around the mouth, connecting with DU26 (above the upper lip) and ascending to ST1 just below the eye.

A branch of the Ren Mai begins in the pelvic cavity, enters the spine and ascends to the base of the skull and lower jaw.

This branch of the Ren Mai that runs basically parallel (if not fully intertwined with) the Du Mai points to the mutual interdependence between the Ren -- the most yin of meridians -- and the Du -- the most yang of meridians.

The trajectory of the Ren Mai, along the midline of the anterior portion of the torso, allow for direct access, via its acupuncture points, to the most important internal organs.

Because it traverses the lower abdomen, it also is used (via the points Ren4 and Ren6) to access and nourish the lower dantian and Snow Mountain, the storehouse of the body’s deepest energies.

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