ZuSanLi translates into English as “Walk Three Miles” and when I learned about it, the story was that monks would routinely stimulate this point, either through acupuncture or simple massage, to gain the strength to walk another three miles. The implication is that this point has to do with stamina & fortitude. Studies have also shown that this point does a whole bunch of other useful things, which makes it a great point to get to know.
ZuSanLi has been shown to elevate white blood cell count, providing a good boost to one’s immune system. A recent study also showed that ST 36 caused a 24 fold increase in the release of Adenosine, which is the body’s own anti-inflammatory chemical. Experientially, ST 36 is needled for a wide variety of issues including nausea, fatigue, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, abdominal distention and bloating, as well as being just a good ‘tonifying’ point.
A story about ST 36 which is very familiar to the Japanese is the first sentence of Haiku Master Basho Matsuo’s diary (1689) “Okuno Hosomichi (Narrow Passages In The Back Country).” He writes, “I have sewn a torn part of my undergarments. I have changed the strings of my hat. I have [stimulated] my ST 36. My mind is now totally occupied with the moon over the Matsushima islands…” He was ready for a long walk of 1,500 miles after activating ST 36. This means that our ancestors knew very well that ST 36 has the effect of speeding recovery from fatigue.
ZuSanLi can be located about four fingers below the knee joint, just to the outside of the tibia (the large bone of your lower leg). If you press around the area you will find a large-ish area that may be a bit achey. Giving it a rub before a run, if you feel an illness coming on, or at the beginning of a particularly strenuous day may just help you walk that extra three miles.