guān (關)

this is a narrow space through which things can pass, like a mountain pass; guān (關) is a controlled passageway, which can be closed like a customs gate, and is thus different from mén (門) which is an open doorway; among the names of points, mén (門) is considered to open to the outside, while guān (關) controls passage to the interior, and can refer to the closure itself; so in some contexts, guān (關) can refer to a “narrow passage or barrier” that impedes or (partially) blocks the smooth flow of qì. Guān (關) also means “crux, critical juncture, or key point,” so one could read this phrase to consign any acupuncture based on learning key points to treat for various differential diagnoses as “coarse.” Later in this chapter, it can refer to either the joints of the extremities (which impede free flow of qì), or the challenge of restricted flow in any circumstance or context.

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