Traveling the Energetic Highway: What Are Meridians?

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Many people in the West find traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to be a rather alien system. In contrast to the Western medical system, which dates back to the 19th century, this one has been in existence for more than 3,500 years. The meridian or energetic pathways is one of the ideas of TCM. 

In this article, we will delve a little bit more into this idea.

What Is a Meridian?

Every acupuncture student asks about this when they first start their training. A meridian can be thought of as the body’s energetic conduit, which is the most basic definition. Meridians allow Qi, which is pronounced “chee,” to flow and circulate throughout the body. Meridians are found in pairs that match, and each meridian has a number of acupuncture sites situated along its course. 

While it may be tempting, it would be erroneous to conceive of the body’s meridians in the same manner that we think of the circulatory system. TCM states that the meridian pathways are in charge of the “distribution” of the substances throughout the body. However, meridians have not yet been physically located. It makes more sense, therefore, to think of the meridian system as an energetic transmission system.

How Many Meridians Are There in a Body?

There are a total of fourteen major meridians in the human body. The other 12 runs from head to toe along the remainder of the body, with one running across the middle of the body on the front and one running along the spine. Six channels, three of which are yin in nature and three of which are yang in nature, run along each limb.

On the inner surfaces are the yin channels, while on the outer surfaces are the yang channels. Every meridian is a pair of yin and yang organs, with each yin organ (liver, kidney, lung, and spleen) coupled with the corresponding yang organ (large intestine, stomach, small intestine, bladder, gallbladder). Yin and yang exist in all living things. Yin is associated with water, nighttime, and cold, while yang is associated with fire, sunshine, and warmth. The yin and yang forces need to be in harmony for the body to operate effectively.

In addition to the main meridians, there are other meridians called “Extraordinary” meridians that are not associated with the major organ systems. These meridians have very specific functions. They act as reservoirs for Qi and blood. They circulate “substances” around the body, as they have a strong connection to the kidneys. They help circulate Wei Qi, which acts as the immune system. And they provide connections between the 12 regular channels.

What Are Extraordinary Meridians?

There are more meridians known as “Extraordinary” meridians that are distinct from the major organ systems in addition to the main meridians. These meridians serve a variety of specialized purposes. They serve as blood and qi reserves. They transport “substances” throughout the body because of their close relationship to the kidneys. They aid in the movement of Wei Qi, the body’s natural defense mechanism. Additionally, they offer connections among the 12 conventional channels.

The body maintains health when the Qi is flowing freely. However, the body’s meridians can become blocked or stagnant as a result of external factors like stress. Illness can develop when a blockage along the meridians arises.

Final Thoughts

Unclogging the meridians is a wonderful benefit of acupuncture. The body is kept aligned and operating properly by a combination of acupuncture sites, herbal remedies, exercise, and good eating habits. Call us if you want to learn more; we’d be happy to assist.

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