The Urinary Bladder (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 kideys) 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 UB 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 UB to our health. 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.
Opens into: Ear
Jing Well: UB67 (metal)
Ying Spring: UB66 (water)
Shu Stream: UB65 (wood)
Jing River: UB60 (Fire)
He Sea: UB40 (Earth)
Yuan Source: UB64
Front Mu: REN3
Rear Shu: UB28
Luo Connecting: UB58
UB67 – Malpoisitioned Fetus
UB11 – Bones
UB17 – Blood