path of the Yin Qiao Mai

The Yin Qiao Mai or the Yin Stepping Vessel is an Extraordinary Vessel that originates in the heel; Qiao refers to lifting the foot to move. The Yin Stepping Vessel absorbs excess of Qi from the Main Channel in the abdomen. Both the Yin and Yang Stepping Vessel reach the eyes; the Yin Stepping Vessel transports Yin to the eyes, whereas the Yang Stepping Vessel transports Yang to the eyes.

The Yin and Yang Qiao Mai determines the tone of the legs. In Excess, the Yin Qiao Mai causes the inner muscles are tight and the outer muscles are loose. But, in Yang Excess, the inner muscles are loose and the outer muscles are tight.

In Excess, the Yin Qiao Mai Vessel increases tension and causes stagnation of Qi, abdominal masses, Blood stasis and Phlegm. This vessel is a side branch of the Kidney Channel and mainly circles around the abdomen area of the body.


Firstly, The Yin Qiao Mai Vessel branches from the Kidney Channel, starts from the heel at the point KI-2 Rangu and passes through KI-6 Zhaohai near the bone on the inner side of the ankles. Afterwards, the Vessel reaches the point KI-8 Jiaoixn on the inner thigh, travels to the genitals and reaches the chest at point ST-12 Quepen. Then, it reaches ST-9 Renying that crosses the Penetrating Vessel and finally arrives at BL-1 Jingming near the eyes. The Yin crosses the Yang Qiao Mai when it reaches the brain. 

The Eyes

Tired male pinching eyes

The BL-1 Jingming connects the Yang and Yin Vessel between the eyes. In Fullness, the Yin Qiao Mai causes the eyes to close and be tired. On the other hand, when the Yang Qiao Mai is in fullness, the eyes stay open and the person cannot sleep. Therefore, the Yin Stepping Vessel treats insomnia and drowsiness in Excess. In drowsiness, the point KI-6 Zhaohai is reduced to drain the Yin Stepping Vessel and the point BL-62 Shenmai is fortified to strengthen the Yang Stepping Vessel. In insomnia however, the opposite occurs; KI-6 Zhaohai is fortified and BL-1 is reduced. The eyes can also be Yin deficient, where the eyes are in pain and turn red.

Atrophy Syndrome/ Wei Syndrome

In Atrophy Syndrome, the legs point inwards and the tension in the muscles hinders the ability to walk. The Yin Stepping Vessel aids in treating this through the points KI-6 Zhaohai and LU-7 Lieque. They balance the tension of the tightness within the muscles of the leg.

Abdominal pain

hurting sides of the stomach

Treatment for abdominal masses includes the Directing Vessel, the Penetrating Vessel and the Yin Stepping Vessel. Central abdominal masses are one of the pathologies of the Directing Vessel primarily in women. The Penetrating Vessel treats abdominal masses caused by Blood stasis.

The Yin Qiao Mai Vessel treats Abdominal pains and masses caused by stagnation of Qi, Blood and Phlegm. The pain in the abdomen must be felt on one side of the stomach (unilateral pain) in order to use this vessel. The targeted points in treatment are the opening point on the side of the pain and a coupled point on the opposite side. For example, the opening point KI-6 Zhaohai on the left side is used with the coupled point LU-7 Lieque on the right side of the body.  

Accumulation of Yin in the abdomen causes the pulse to be wry. Thus, the Yin Stepping Vessel treats the pulse. 

Urinary Problems

The Yin Stepping Vessel can treat urinary problems in a Full state the symptoms include Dampness, Qi or Blood stagnation. This is shown as blood in the urine, inability to urinate and pain in the bottom center of the abdomen. In such cases, the opening points KI-6 Zhaohai and LU-7 Lieque are coupled with the points KI-8 Jiaoxin, SP-9 Yinlingquan, and SP-6 Sanyinjiao.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology 

In addition, this vessel treats pre- childbirth pains, post- childbirth pains and labor pains in a full condition and Blood stagnation. Pains can be due Lochiae and placenta retention that can cause a difficult labor. Therefore, the opening points KI-6 and LU-7 are used with KI-8 Jiaoxin, Ren-3 Zhongji and SP-6 Sanyinjiao.

The External Genitalia

In Yin Excess, the Stepping Vessel treats Genitalia in a Full state where the pulse on both rear ends of the body is wry. The targeted symptoms are Vulvodynia, itching and pain of the vagina and the testes, and Peyronie’s disease. The points KI-6 Zhaohai and LU-7 Lieque are used with KI-8 Jiaoxin, KI-11 Henggu, LIV- 1 Dadun and Ren-1 Huiyun.


The herbs that aid in treating the Yin Stepping Vessel are: 

  • Ban Xia Rhizoma Pinelliae ternatae
  • Dan Nan Xing Pulvis Arisaemae cum felle bovis
  • Gua Luo Fructus Trichosanthis
  • Huang Bo Cortex Phellodendri
  • Suan Zao Ren Semen Ziziphi spinosae
  • Shi Chang Pu Rhizoma Acori graminei
  • Yan Hu Suo Rhizoma Corydalis yanhusuo
  • Yuan Zhi Radix Polygalae tenuifoliae
  • Zhi Mu Radix Anemarrhenae asphodeloidis