Have you always yearned for an easy way to relieve yourself of headaches, common cold symptoms or a natural way to boost energy levels? You may have seen a few popular articles popping up recently touting the benefits of using ice on the back of your neck to stimulate what’s known in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as the Feng Fu point — we wanted to take a look at whether or not that method is a good idea …or not.
In ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture is commonly used to heal medical problems through specific points on the body; ‘Practiced for more than 2,000 years, it is traditionally based on the regulation of energy’ (1).
Where Is Your Feng Fu Point?
Your Feng Fu point (also known as Governing Vessel 16) is positioned ‘on the midline at the nape of the neck, in the depression‘ (2) between where the skull meets the neck. According to traditional Chinese medicine it “is where the Governing vessel penetrates the brain” (3), and it has been used to help heal many problems with the brain and body almost providing an overall balancing effect.
Here’s how to find your own Feng Fu Point:
- While lying down or sitting up with your head leaning forward, use your hands to touch the back of your neck.
- Feel the point where the bottom of your skull meets your neck.
- You should be able to feel an “indent” in your neck between your two neck muscles.
- If you’re having trouble finding it, try tilting your head back so you can feel your neck muscles better. In the middle of them, you will find your Feng Fu Point!
What Does The Feng Fu Point Help With?
When you stimulate your Feng Fu Point, it can help you heal many different bodily ailments, according to long-tested TCM practices.
Potential benefits include:
- Improved digestion
- General happiness and well-being
- Help prevent dizziness
- Reduce nausea and vomiting
- Improves appearance of jaundice
- Improves cardiovascular system
- Reduce asthma symptoms
- Manages thyroid problems
So, should you use ice on the Feng Fu point?
There are a couple of background points to keep in mind when thinking about using either hot or cold in any TCM methods. The basic principles of Chinese medicine revolve around the balance of energy, organ systems, and elements in the body — a simple yet complex network of multiple factors. By using herbs, acupuncture, and other lifestyle changes TCM practitioners are able to help bring all elements back into balance to help combat disease. With this in mind, certain health concerns can correlate to the body having too much “heat” or too much “cold”
According to TCM certain health concerns can correlate to the body having too much “heat” or too little heat, and vice versa too much “cold” or to little cold. This is where the idea to use ice while stimulating certain points may have come from. There are several different types and causes of headaches, and often they can be a result from an excess of heat according to TCM theory. Although you would need a TCM practitioner to help you determine the true cause of your headache, if it is a case of too much heat then the idea of stimulating the Feng Fu point with a cooling component may be beneficial!
So should you use ice? Well, this is where our opinion differs a little from some of the other blogs currently. We don’t feel that using ice on the point is truly necessary, and may actually be too intense. That being said, a great way to still stimulate the point with a “cooling” aspect to help get rid of a headache or migraine would be using an essential oil such as peppermint or eucalyptus on both of your temples and then gently putting pressure and stimulation on the Feng Fu point for around 15-20 min.
So why not find your Feng Fu point and give it a go — let us know how it goes!
(1)What is the evidence for the use of acupuncture as an intervention for symptom management in cancer supportive and palliative care: an integrative overview of reviews http://www.mascc.org/assets/Pain_Center/2013_October/october-9.pdf Published: July 19, 2009. Accessed: November 8, 2016.
(2)The Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications- Feng Fu DU-16 http://www.arnokroner.com/education/wellness/tcm/tcmbooks/deadman/ACUPNCTR/DU-16.pdf Published: 2000. Accessed: November 8, 2016.
(3)Tefillin: An Ancient Acupuncture Point Prescription for Mental clarity. http://www.koshertorah.com/PDF/tefilin.pdf Pubished: October, 2002. Accessed: November 8, 2016.
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