The Conception Vessel (‘Ren Mai’) runs along the midline of the front of the body and forms a Qi circuit with the Governing Vessel which runs along the back midline. If you were to ever train Qi, these two vessels would be where you begin – they are considered the primary qi channels which direct energy to all the other channels.
‘Ren Mai’ means ‘direction and responsibility’ but one of the more common names for the Conception Vessel is ‘Sea of Yin‘ channel. We can think of the Conception meridian as being one of the first meridans to be formed during conception in the womb ~ the other of course being the Governing Channel. From the Conception Channel flows all other yin channels as the baby develops.
It helps balance the yin and yang channels and a lot of the front Mu points are located on this channel. In cases of Yang or empty heat, the Conception Vessel is the go to meridian. It is also used to treat mania. Remember, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, yang disorders can be treated by looking towards the yin so this meridian can help treat a lot of yang diseases. The Conception Meridian and Governing Meridian should not be viewed as two distinct entities but rather as two sides of the one coin – they are both part of each other and together form the whole.
Being yin, the energy of the Conception channel is that of female while the Governing Channel is male. Problems of the Conception vessel manifest as stagnation of the blood and yin fluid and problems in the lower abdomen and genital area. It can also act as a reservoir for excess blood and yin fluids.
Prior to the Ming Dynasty, treating diseases through the eight extra meridians was frowned upon because it was seen as disrupting the very constitution of the patient. Treating these points should be approached therefore in the sense that you are changing the energy at the very core of a patient. For that reason they are considered in the cases of diseases that run in the family in order to help prevent those diseases from manifesting in the patient.
Ancient texts also referred to how the Conception Vessel led to less hair in women – that the Conception Vessel was closely related to the blood meant men had more hair but women less, because they menstruated.
The points of the Conception Vessel. particularly those on the lower abdomen, can be used to tonify the zang organs, especially in cases of deficiency.
Important Points to know;
CV3: urine retention, irregular menstruation
CV6: Good for boosting qi function throughout the whole body. Prolapse of internal organs
CV12: gastric pain, vomiting, nausea (Front mu point of the Stomach)
CV17: cardiac and chest pains, asthma. Calming effect. Hui meeting point (front mu point of the Pericardium)