The Urinary Bladder in TCM (UB) is a Fu (yang) organ paired with the Kidney. Similar to western medicine, the UB stores fluids but in addition, TCM also attributes the transformation of fluids to the UB. Fluids sent by the Small Intestine or Kidneys are transformed into urine and then stored. It is referred to as the ‘Minister of the Reservoir.’
The UB has an extensive meridian network and is the largest meridian. It is closely used for treating the nervous system and its meridian has two branches that run in close proximity to the spinal cord as well as the meridian running from head to toe. It is the only meridian that enters the brain (this is disputed) and therefore a good selection of the treatment of headaches. Points UB3 to UB10 are all located on the head. If a patient presents with a headache, you might find better results by selecting distal points but when they present ‘in between’ reoccurring headaches, use the local points UB3-UB10.
Of the element water, the UB (and the kidneys) are susceptible to dampness related illnesses such as damp heat or damp cold. The transformation of fluids sent to the UB is dependent on the Kidney yang and when the yang is low, symptoms such as frequent urination or incontinence can result.
When the Urinary Bladder in TCM is out of balance, it can be difficult to make decisions or the patient may suffer from fear. Jealousy and holding grudges are also symptoms of the UB being chronically imbalanced.
Do not underestimate the importance of the Urinary Bladder in TCM to our health. In both eastern and western medicine, we now understand that our body is composed mainly of water and without a balanced UB, it is impossible to allow our water ‘flow freely’. As the Kidney exhausts itself in old age, we find that our body begins to dry out – e.g. thinning hair, dry skin, wrinkles and brittle bones. Therefore keeping the Kidneys and UB healthy and balanced is hugely important to enjoying old age! If we have a leaky or faulty bladder that is not eliminating waste, we are at risk of toxic water re-entering our system and causing sickness.
The UB meridian has also been used to treat headaches, neck and back strains and leg (hip, knee and ankle) pain, it’s meridian covering all these areas. On the back, it splits into two channels, one 3 cun from the midline and the other 1.5 cun. The channel nearest the midline is where all the back shu points are located.
UB60 is a good point selection for pains that occur anywhere along the meridian pathway. It is the Jing-River point of the meridian and is found halfway between the tip of the external malleolus and the tendo calcaneus (feel along for a slight depression). Do not use if pregnant.
Characteristics of Urinary Bladder in TCM
Opens into: Ear
Important Points to know about the Urinary Bladder:
Front Mu point: REN3
Rear Shu Point: UB28
Shu Points: 67,66,65,60,40
Yuan Source: UB64
Luo Connecting: UB58
UB67 – Malpoisitioned Fetus
UB11 – Bones
UB17 – Blood
UB2 : Sore eyes and frontal headaches.
UB10: Keep pressure on for relief from neck pain and stiffness.
UB11: Bone point. Clears qi blockages in the bones.
UB13: Lung point.
UB15: Heart point
UB17: Blood point
UB18: Liver point
UB19: Gall bladder point
UB20: Spleen point
UB21: Stomach point
UB23: Kidney point
UB25: Large Intestine point
UB32: infertility, prolapse of uterus
UB36: Sciatic pain
UB37: Sciatica pain, lower back pain and pain of lower leg
UB40: pain/spasms in calf muscles and pain caused by strained back.
UB54: Important point for sciatic pain/lower back pain. Also pain in lower heal.
UB57: pain in the calf but also combine with UB40
UB60: Ankle and heel problems