What's the Point? Hé Gǔ, LI4
Updated: Feb 3
Well, the point today is Hé Gǔ, the fourth point on the Large Intestine channel (LI4). First things first: this point induces labor and is contraindicated during pregnancy! If you have a headache during pregnancy, do not use this point please!
Hé Gǔ is located on the dorsal aspect of the hand, between the thumb and index finger, at the midpoint of the second metacarpal bone. A translation of the name, Joining Valley, is a reference to this location in the valley between the first and second metacarpal bones, near the joining of the thumb and finger.
The point’s name is also the name of a mountain; a second way of locating the point is to push the thumb and index finger together, finding the point at the highest point of the muscle. As with most points, the written location is to get you close; once in the area, search around and find the tender area.
Functions of LI4, Hé Gǔ
As the fourth point on a Yang channel, it is the Yuan-Source point, as well as a Gao Wu command point and a Ma Dan-yang Heavenly star point. Best known as the headache point, LI4 is the Gao Wu Command point for the face and head. Along with headaches, it can be helpful for other facial pain and conditions like toothaches or stuffy nose and congested sinus.
Hé Gǔ might also be used when one is feeling simultaneous chills and fever, along with possible absence of sweating, body aches, and rigid spine, or sore throat and sweating.
Along with these functions, LI4 is also good for generally moving Qi for other types of body pains, it helps to clear heat from the body, and as mentioned before, it has a strong action on promoting labor.
How to Use Acupoints
As mentioned above, written locations get you close to the point, then find the tender spot. Once found, massage the point with 50 presses; you are not trying to bruise yourself, but you also want to feel the pressure and tenderness while performing the massage. Complete 50 presses on one side, then find the point on the other side and repeat.
Self massage can be helpful, but nothing is better than letting someone else do the work for you. An acupuncture treatment for a condition described above would include Hé Gǔ among other points to help balance the body and bring recovery and relief. Adding in other therapies, such as cupping, gua sha, and Tui Na Massage, complements the treatment and improves healing and recovery.