The Du (Governing Vessel), and why it's important.

Du Governing VesselThere are 8 Extraordinary Vessels

Each Vessel is part of the overall meridian system, yet different than the twelve “regular meridians.” They are most often described as “reservoirs of Qi.”
Only two of these Vessels have points of their own, the Du, Governing Vessel, and the Ren (Conception Vessel). The other six Vessels have no points.

Du means “Governing”

Some people use the term “Du,” others prefer the English translation, “Governing Vessel.”  Below is a picture of the Du, Governing Vessel:
Du Governing Vessel

The Du Vessel Governs all of the Yang Meridians in the body

The twelve meridians, and the eight extraordinary meridians are woven together to form part of the energetic web of the body. The Du Governing Vessel is said to “govern the Yang meridians.”  The Du is located on the center of the back, following the path of the spinal cord up from the “tail bone,” across the top of the head, ending inside the mouth, on the upper gum.

When to use the Du Governing Vessel

There are three main reasons that I utilize the Du Governing Vessel:

  1.  When there are any conditions involving the spinal cord and/or brain.
  2.  When I want to mobilize the active, protective energy of the Yang meridians, as a whole.
  3.  To relieve tension and pain anywhere along the pathway, from the head to the base of the spine.

Favorite Du Governing Vessel Point

The Du Governing Vessel has a total of 28 points along its pathway. The point DU 16 is my “go to point” for relieving headaches and neck strain/pain.

Du Governing Vessel

Du 16, also known as GV 16

How to locate Du 16

  1. Place your finger tips on the center of the back of your head.
  2. Slide your fingers down toward your neck. Feel for a “drop off” from the bones of your skull to the softer tissue of your neck.
  3. Du 16 is located in the soft tissue of your neck, at the border of the skull, and in the center of the back of your head. Use the image above to help with the exact location.
  4. Once you locate the point, gently press in and massage the area to relieve head and neck tension.

Once you find this point on yourself, it is easier to find on others. Practice locating Du 16 on others by having them lie down on their back, with their head fully supported. Bring your fingers together, centered at the back of their head. Now, slide down towards their neck and locate Du 16, just as you did on yourself. Ask the person to tell you when it feels like you are on the point. Working together, you will be able to feel Du 16, and then offer gentle massage to relieve pain and tension.
Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please use the comment box below to share your adventures!
To go deeper, check out the 3 part Mini-series: The 8 Extraordinary Vessels –
8 Extraordinary Vessels

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Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. White Eagle Medicine Woman Suraj Holzwarth on January 9, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Wonderful article and simple, clear and concise. Thank you!

  2. Tony DeChico on November 30, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Cindy,

    I am 67 and now in a wheel chair because of spino-cerebellar ataxia. My “weakness” (I have very good muscle tone) has been progressive for probably 50 years. My neurologist, after many tests, determined I don’t have any “physical” neurological damage. After having stem cell implants, 190,000iu of hcg, hormone replacements with blood tests, acupuncture, Reiki, and every supplement, I am convinced I am deficient in qi, with blockages. After practicing meditation for many years I have recently begun qigong and just discovered that my primary focus should be on my Du or GV. I have read that the Conception Vessel is seldom a problem. My main concern is increasing my “energy”, opening my Third Eye now takes a back seat. As you recently wrote in a reply, “The Governing Vessels travels inside the spinal column and into the brain”, to me, this shows how important the GV is to neurology.

    In the last couple of days I began a meditation that leaves me weak. For about 30 minutes, twice a day, I visualize and say: “Healing energy fills the tip of my tail bone, moves up to my lower back, clearing any blockages, healing energy fills my lower back, moves up to my kidney area, clearing any blockages, ………”. I continue filling and clearing my spine, neck, base of the head, and top of the head. From the top of the head I begin again going downward. Seven points in all.

    Do you believe this meditation will help increase my energy? Is the weakness that follows is part of the healing process? I anxiously await your opinion and comments.

    Thank you very much,


    • Cindy Black on December 1, 2018 at 9:37 am

      Hi Tony,

      When I have adverse effects form Qi Gong, like feeling especially tired, I take that as a sign to slow down and do less. It can seem counter-intuitive but experiencing it shows the real power and potential of Qi, and we learn that less is really more when working with Qi.

      Your experience will be your best teacher and indicator along your healing process. If you have an experienced and trusted Qi Gong teacher in your area you might want to consult with them as being in person, and having time to understand your specific circumstances the teacher may offer specific approaches for you.

      I hope this helps. I admire your fortitude and focus to bring healing to yourself!
      – Cindy

  3. Lorna on October 19, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Does the governing vessel meridian go up the inside of the spine or the outside?

    • Cindy Black on October 19, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Lorna,

      The Governing Vessels travels inside the spinal column and into the brain.

  4. Sudipta on February 26, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Hello Cindy,
    Can Governing / Conception vessel Meridian Tsubo points be activated any time of the day; I ask because the other 12 work better in specific periods?

    • Cindy Black on February 26, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Sudipta,
      Yes, I use these points whenever they are called for, any time of the day.

      • Sudipta Mukherjee on February 27, 2018 at 7:08 pm

        Thanks for this Cindy !

  5. sue on October 25, 2017 at 4:25 am

    can we use points on DU to treat blood clot in the brain….

    • Cindy Black on October 25, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Hi Sue,
      No, these points are not used to treat blood clots in the brain. This approach is about balancing the energetics in order to support the physical. When a manifestation is a physically dense as a blood clot, that is beyond the scope of this work.

  6. […] Du, Governing Vessel […]

  7. Michele Cipressi Dean on December 13, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you Cindy, great information!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on December 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      You are welcome – enjoy!

  8. Patty on December 7, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you Cindy! I am a 20-something who is studying Medical QiGong, Tantric Yoga, and Physical Therapy. I appreciate the gracious offering of your knowledge.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on December 8, 2015 at 7:56 am

      You are most welcome. The more we all share, the more we all learn from each other.

  9. Laurel on December 5, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Is there a point that does the same for the shoulder blade area? Between the sb and the spine.

  10. Susie Washburn on December 4, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Thank You so much Cindy!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on December 4, 2015 at 7:23 am

      You are welcome!
      I enjoy making Chinese medicine “learnable” 🙂

  11. Bonnie Innerst on December 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Wow! This was perfect for me to see today! Understanding that there are no coincidences in this world, that this is JUST what I needed to understand for myself and my own body, but more importantly to be more intentional in my massages when doing a head hold. Thanks Cindy for this. Love, Bonnie Innerst

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on December 3, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      I love synchronicity too!

  12. Challice Robinson on December 3, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Perfect timing, thanks Cindy!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on December 3, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      You are welcome Challice

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