5 Shu Points (5 Elements)

Acupressure Holding Points using Five Element / Five Shu Points (Law of 5 Elements)

The five shu points can be used as a correction. In Kinesiology the points are Tonification and Sedation. In the correction procedure we initially hold the first points before going to the second points.

Imagine a still well of water. Now a spring, where the water slowly springs from the earth. The water increases and runs into a stream and the water runs along at a faster speed. The stream expands into a river. The river then parts into the sea where the water runs deep.

The point at which the Qi rises is known as the Jing-Well. At the Ying-Spring the Qi glides across the point. The Qi then flows at the Jing river, and then as an estuary flowing into the sea, the Qi expands and enters deep into the body.

The Theory

In Chinese Medicine these acupuncture points connect the channel to the other channels in the Five Elements through which the Chi flows. We look at our 5 Element chart and the relationship each element has to the other elements. In the five elements system is the emotional, sound and colour associations, now we are going deeper into the channel system to discover how the energy flows and feeds from channel to channel.

We know: fire feeds earth, earth feeds metal, metal feeds water, water feeds wood, and wood feeds fire. In the creation cycle Wood creates Fire through providing fuel for combustion. Fire Generates Earth by the ash from burning. Earth supports metal by forming minerals and bringing it to surface. Metal enriches water with substances that enhance it’s properties. Water nourishes wood by moistening it. From this cycle we say Mother gives energy to daughter.

The Chinese have told the story of the family relationship in the movement of energy. Each element has a Grandmother, Mother, and Daughter interaction with another element. Looking at the Earth Element, we can say this is the daughter of the Fire Element. The Fire element is the Mother of Earth and Wood element is the Grandmother of the Earth element. Look at any element and you will establish this relationship by looking at the two elements anti-clockwise to it and these corresponding elements will be the mother and then grandmother.

The Mother energy relates to the daughter element via the creation or Shen or creation cycle and the grandmother relates to the daughter element via the control or Ko or control/destruction cycle.

For example looking at the wood element is the daughter element of water. The water element is the mother of wood. The metal element is the grandmother of wood. The mother relationship is in the Shen cycle and the grandmother relationship is in the Ko cycle.

A Metaphor

When there is under energy in a channel, we can look at this channel as the daughter who needs energy (food) from the mother, so she asks for chocolate cookies. Mother is only too willing to give the child what it wants and may not know when to say enough is enough. Grandmother steps in and from her wisdom she knows when the child should stop eating before she becomes hyperactive. So grandmother controls the flow of chocolate cookies. (The grandmother often holds the position as head of the family in many Asian cultures.)

Correction Techniques


In principle the first points we hold, we are pouring energy in via the creation cycle, thus the mother element The second points we hold is to control and balance the energy that was poured through in the first two points, which is the control cycle and the grandmother element.

We want to fill a bucket (daughter element) with water so we need to turn on the tap to let the water flow (mother element). To prevent an overflow we then need to turn off the tap (Grandmother element).

For example, the liver channel is depleted and in need if Chi to restore function. In this example, to gain energy from the mother channel (kidney) we hold the water point on both channels. To restore control we need to involve the grandmother (metal) we then hold the metal point on both channels.

The Liver channel is depleted and in need of chi to restore its function. To gain energy from the mother channel, we hold the water shu point of kidney 10 and liver 8. They are the sea points for both. Then to control it we hold the Metal shu points on both channels, thus metal cutting the wood. The points are liver 4 and lung 8. The Liver 4 is the metal shu point on the Liver channel. Lung 8 is the metal shu point on the Lung channel. Both of those points are Jing-River points relating to metal element. We hold the metal shu points on both channels.

You can see the points always relate to the Mother and Grandmother points in the daughter's channel.

Kidney – Mother, Liver – daughter, Lung – grandmother.

If you need to tonify a yin daughter then you will need to involve the yin mother and grandmother. If on the other hand you need to tonify a yang daughter then you will need to involve the yang mother and grandmother.

Sedating Technique

These points may be useful where there is a strong emotional charge in relation to a particular channel – eg recurrent fear which is associated with Kidney channel. This strong emotional charge can be sedated by holding the sedation points associated with the Kidney in the table below.

It may also be useful to use this technique where a muscle is OF or touching a specific alarm point leads the indicator to be OF.

This sedation technique can be used to balance any over energies that is a result of tonification.

If the liver channel was that of over energy, the daughter becomes a mother so we need to give some of her energy to her daughter the heart points. These are the fire points. The second points would still be the same grandmother.

The liver channel is over energized, the qi drawn into another channel. The remove excess qi we hold the Liver 2 and heart 8. They are both fire shu points of the ying spring. The fire shu point, in the five element cycle fire receives energy from wood. In this case the mother is liver, the daughter is fire, and the grandmother is metal. Then we hold the Metal shu points Lv 4 and Lu 8 to control the energy.

Liver –Mother, Fire –daughter, Lung – grandmother.

Holding Pattern



Deal S, p212, Walther D, p284-8