Yintang is the most requested acupuncture point and is found in the middle of the forehead. It is an “extra point,” a class of points that are mapped but do not fall on a specific acupuncture channel. This point has a few different indications but the most common reason it is requested is because it calms shen. Shen is a term used in Chinese medicine that does not really have an exact translation in English. Basically it refers to the aspect of us that is not physical, like consciousness and thought, and our emotional and spiritual being. There are many points that calm shen and they are used in a wide variety of conditions like anxiety, depression, and insomnia, even pain and shock.

Most acupuncture points have more than one indication and yintang is no exception. Like all acupuncture points it is valuable for treating local conditions such as frontal headaches. It also benefits the nose and can help when there is nasal congestion and discharge or sinus pain. I use it a lot in my practice, especially for stress and sinus allergies and infections.

The location of this acupuncture point corresponds to the third eye, a metaphoric eye in Hinduism and Buddhism that opens as our consciousness expends and we become enlightened. It is the location of the brow chakra, the 6th of 7 major energy vortexes that exist in our bodies, which has to do with inner guidance, mental clarity, and intuition. Even in western medicine this is an anatomically important location, where light enters the skull to activate the pineal gland. As darkness increases in the evening, the pineal gland is stimulated to secret the hormone melatonin, which makes us sleepy. As the sun comes up and light increases, the pineal gland stops producing this hormone and we wake up.