In Oriental Remedial treatment the general outlook of the cause for back pain is considered from a different perspective. Back pain may be a result of Cold invasion, Qi or Blood stagnation or in more chronic cases Kidney deficiency may be considered. In shiatsu we would look at diagnosis from a place of body and meridian imbalances.
When treating lower back pain I look at several areas of imbalance including the Kidney / Urinary Bladder Meridians and Liver / Gall Bladder Meridians. When considering the physical body and treating the QL muscle as part of the imbalance I prefer a side lying position and ‘enter’ this muscle through the Gall Bladder Meridian.
Another often unused meridian is the Girdle Vessel or Dai Mai. The Girdle Vessel is one of the extraordinary vessels and is considered to be the ‘belt’ meridian that ‘holds’ all the other meridians together, just like a belt bundling up sticks of bamboo.
The Dai Mai along with the other extraordinary vessels was the first meridians to form during the embryological development. Suzanne Yates refers to the extraordinary vessels as having vital connection to our brain, reproductive organs, kidneys and heart. They are vital to understanding our genetic disposition and powerful for enhancing good health, longevity of life and quality of living.
The Dai Mai itself has responsibility for the upward and downward flow of Qi and ensuring balance of all other meridians. If the Girdle Vessel is too slack integrity of the 12 main meridians including the Gall Bladder meridian may be weakened. If the Girdle Vessel is too tight we experience constriction of the 12 main meridians.
An article online from Acupuncture Today discusses Dai Mai Obstructive Disorder painting a picture of the symptoms that come from Girdle Vessel being too tight. As the Girdle Vessel encircles the body from the diaphragm to below the pubic bone breathing difficulties, lower back spasms and even upper leg weakness can be present if the Girdle Vessel is impacting on the other 12 main meridians.
There are several significant acupressure points that lie on the Girdle Vessel and interestingly several of these lie at access points to the QL muscle.
Gall Bladder (GB) points 25 and 26 are two acupressure points I hold for treating lumbar pain. Gall Bladder 25 is located on the lower border of the twelfth rib which is the insertion point of the QL muscle. Gall Bladder 26 is the point where the Gall Bladder Meridian meets the Dai Mai Vessel. It is found at the intersection of two imaginary lines. Find GB26 by drawing a vertical line from the end of the eleventh rib and a horizontal line from the belly button.
The QL functions to elevate the hips therefore it may also be beneficial to treat around the anterior and posterior aspect of the pelvis. Favoured acupressure points that lie on the Dai Mai vessel and support the QL muscle include GB 27, GB 28 and Urinary Bladder (UB) 26.
There is a significant peripheral point for the Dai Mai which is once again on the Gall Bladder meridian. GB 41 is known as the master point of the Dai Mai. I love accessing this point in foot acupressure treatments. It has many benefits beyond treating conditions on the Dai Mai Vessel.
So while this article focuses on the QL muscle and the meridians used for treating weaknesses and tensions related to the QL we start to see some very powerful meridians in use. Perhaps my next article needs to be on the Extraordinary Vessels seeing as they are featuring quite regularly in my shiatsu treatments.