Liver 3: The Energy Shifter

Relieving congestion & pain …
PLUS promoting calm & relaxation

Liver 3 / TAI CHONG would have to be one of the most powerful acu-points in the meridian system. It is the principle point for promoting the free, smooth flow of KI in such a way as to reduce or stop pain while calming the mind and spirit.

TAI CHONG translates as “Great Surge” or “Great Rushing”. Ensuring the free flow of KI is a major function of the Liver channel and Liver 3 is its SHU/Stream point. This is where “the KI starts to pour down the meridian” in a great surge or rush – clearing dampness and opening not just the Liver meridian itself but all the channels.

Liver 3 is truly remarkable for its power to shift congested KI. Stuck KI causes discomfort – ongoing or spasmodically. This can happen anywhere along the Liver channel or in areas that are influenced by the Liver meridian. This might mean the head, ribcage &/or lower abdomen (see below). The point is also very efficient in detoxing the body and can be used for sluggish digestion, hangover, skin blemishes and weight loss.

The flip-side of the energy shifting function of Liver 3 is its significant role as a calming point. It is one of the most important points in the energetic system for combatting stress and tension.

As icing on the cake, the fact that it is conveniently located on the top of the foot makes it ideal for a spot of home acupressure.

Liver 3: Drawing congested KI down from


The Liver channel connects directly with the brain at the crown chakra – the topmost point of the body. As a result, Liver 3 (way down on the foot) acts powerfully as a distal point for drawing excess energy down from the head and, in this way, alleviates many disorders of the head particularly those involving either the eyes (governed by the Liver meridian) or associated with nausea.
Liver 3 is specifically indicated for:

  • headache, dizziness, numbness of the head
  • blurred, cloudy or failing vision
  • redness, swelling & pain in the eyes
  • unusual movement of the eyes or eyelids
  • cracked lips, swelling of the lips
  • distention of the throat, pain of the throat, dry throat with desire to drink,
  • nausea &/or vertigo possibly accompanied by a green complexion
  • depression


The Liver meridian runs up the side of the ribcage and the liver organ itself is located beneath the lower RHS ribs. Consequently, Liver 3 can be very helpful with ribcage & upper abdominal issues. These include:

  • distention and pain of the side of the ribcage
  • inability to catch the breath &/or sighing
  • swelling of the underarm region
  • pain of the liver and heart (breast area) / distention of the heart
  • pain just below the ribcage.


The Liver Channel enters the abdomen by crossing the inner groin then running up the outside edge of the pubic bone where an internal channel loops around the genitals and meets with the Conception Vessel. The main channel turns outwards to track along the inside of the front hip bones – the large intestine area. It then runs up the front of the abdomen – touching the stomach organ on the left hand side – to arrive at the free end of the (floating) 11th rib and the liver organ on the right hand side.
As a result, the Liver impacts significantly on:

Menstrual and reproductive issues

The Liver stores the blood and it is the free movement of Liver KI prior to menstruation which ensures the smooth flow of blood. The Liver is thus very closely related to the menstrual cycle. Tai Chong is a crucial point in the treatment of any irregularity in uterine or menstrual function:

  • PMT and painful cramping
  • delayed or irregular periods as well as the absence of periods
  • ongoing uterine bleeding
  • uterine prolapse
  • hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms

Intestinal & digestive issues

Liver 3 may be used very effectively for:

  • pain around the navel &/or pain and fullness of the lower abdomen
  • vomiting – particularly vomiting blood
  • nausea – particularly with accompanying jaundice
  • constipation
  • diarrhea – particularly when there is undigested food
  • blood in the stools

Genital / urinary issues

Liver 3 is also indicated for any irregularity or problem of the genito-urinary system:

  • inability to control urination, difficult urination, retention of urine, painful urinary dysfunction,  
  • pain, swelling, retraction or prolapse of the genitals
  • insufficiency of essence (semen) in men, seminal emission

And that’s not all!

Tai Chong is also indicated for spasms of various sorts as well as weakness in the lower limbs. It is particularly effective for problems up the inside leg (where the Liver Channel runs) and around the knee.

Liver 3 for Calming & tonifying

Liver 3 “calms the Shen” – the Shen being understood as the Mind or Spirit. Just as it draws painful excess down from the head, this point will also draw down excessive thoughts and anxieties. As an added bonus, it can be used draw the body’s attention away from the head and into the greater body/mind/energy system. Massaging this point and using it as a focal area during meditation can be very helpful for people who have a tendency to ‘live in their heads’.

Tai Chong acts rather like a re-set button, a button that delivers regulated, smooth energy flow through released channels. At the same time, as a result of reducing pain, anxiety, irritation &/or anger, it acts as a sedative.
It is worth noting that a major cause of Liver congestion is the suppression of emotional expression – most particularly the expression of anger.

How to find and work the point

Start at the edge of the webbing between the big toe and the 2nd toe. Run your finger up along the space between the two lines of metatarsal bones. Just before you arrive at the junction of those lines, your finger should fall into a fairly well-defined depression. You have arrived at Liver 3.
The point is often rather sensitive, so it is worth approaching it carefully with a little warming surface massage.

If calming and tonifying is your aim, work very slowly and gently.
If shifting KI is the priority, you can be fairly direct – although never aggressive. Try to channel your energy & pressure straight into the point – perpendicular to the surface of the skin – as you focus your concentration on the area of congested energy. You will find that you can penetrate quite deeply and may experience a strong, aching feeling or, possibly, a shooting sensation. You can hold it for a good minute or so.
Alternatively, you can direct your energetic and physical penetration slightly towards the bones of the 2nd toe and through to connect with Kidney 1 on the sole of the foot. [You can simultaneously hold Kid 1 if that is easy for you.] This connection generates a deeper, more subtle sensation. It will also help to ground the previously stuck energy and lift your Kidney reserves.

Potential repercussions

Be aware that, if there are repressed emotions, stimulating Liver 3 can sometimes bring them to the surface. This doesn’t always happen at the time – and may not happen at all – but you may experience outbursts of anger/fearfulness etc. in the days following. Generally, this is felt as a positive, cathartic response, but it’s worth being fore-warned.

Other things you can do to support the free flow of Liver Energy

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