Meridian (Chinese medicine)
The concept of meridians (Chinese: jing-luo) arises from the techniques and doctrines of traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture and acupressure. According to these practices, the body's vital energy, "qi", circulates through the body along specific interconnected channels called meridians. Disruptions of the body's energy flow (such as stagnations, blockages and redirection) are thought to cause emotional and physical illness. To release those disruptions, specific points on the meridians called acupoints, or tsubo in the Japanese practice, are stimulated via needles, pressure or other means.
The *Standard Acupuncture Nomenclature published by the World Health Organization listed about 400 acupuncture points and 20 meridians connecting most of the points.
There are twelve meridians on the arms and the legs: Heart, Lung, Pericardium, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Triple Warmer, Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Stomach, Bladder, and Gall Bladder. Meridians are divided into Yin and Yang groups. The Yin meridians of the arm are, Heart, Lung and Pericardium. The Yang meridians of the arm are: Small Intestine, Large Intestine, and Triple Warmer. The Yin Meridians of the leg are Kidney, Spleen, and Liver. The Yang meridians of the leg are Stomach, Bladder, and Gall Bladder.
The causal relationships between the points on the meridians and the corresponding parts of the body is still debated. Authors Hernan Garcia and Sierra Antonio argue that the Chinese meridians have their counterpart in the Mayan acupuncture techniques practiced in the Yucatan. They say that the analogous concept is that of wind channels, and that most of the key points in Mayan acupuncture correspond with key acupuncture points in the Chinese meridian model.
Treatment of acupuncture points may be performed along the twelve main or eight extra meridians, located throughout the body, or on 'ashi' points. Of the eight extra meridians, only two have acupuncture points of their own, the other six are 'activated' by using a master and couple point technique which involves needling the acupuncture points on the twelve main meridians that correspond to the particular extra meridian. Ten of the main meridians are named after organs of the body (Heart, Liver, etc.), and the other two are named after so-called body functions (Heart Protector or Pericardium, and San Jiao). The meridians are capitalized to avoid confusion with a physical organ (for example, we write the 'Heart meridian' as opposed to the 'heart meridian'). The two most important of the eight 'extra' meridians are situated on the midline of the anterior and posterior aspects of the trunk and head. The twelve primary meridians run vertically, bilaterally, and symmetrically and every channel corresponds to and connects internally with one of the twelve Zang Fu ('organs'). This means that there are six yin and six yang channels. There are three yin and three yang channels on each arm and on each leg.
The three yin channels of the hand (Lung, Pericardium, and Heart) begin on the chest and travel along the inner surface (mostly the anterior portion) of the arm to the hand.
The three yang channels of the hand (Large Intestine, San Jiao, and Small Intestine) begin on the hand and travel along the outer surface (mostly the posterior portion) of the arm to the head.
The three yin channels of the foot (Stomach, Gallbladder, and Bladder) begin on the face, in the region of the eye, and travel down the body and along the outer surface (mostly the anterior and lateral portion) of the leg to the foot.
The three yang channels of the foot (Spleen, Liver, and Kidney) begin on the foot and travel along the inner surface (mostly posterior and medial portion) of the leg to the chest or flank.
The movement of qi through each of the twelve channels is comprised of an internal and an external pathway. The external pathway is what is normally shown on an acupuncture chart and it is relatively superficial. All the acupuncture points of a channel lie on its external pathway. The internal pathways are the deep course of the channel where it enters the body cavities and related Zang-Fu organs. The superficial pathways of the twelve channels describe three complete circuits of the body.
The distribution of qi through the meridians is said to be as follows: Lung channel of hand taiyin to Large Intestine channel of hand yangming to Stomach channel of foot yangming to Spleen channel of foot taiyin to Heart channel of hand shaoyin to Small Intestine channel of hand taiyang to Bladder channel of foot taiyang to Kidney channel of foot shaoyin to Pericardium channel of hand jueyin to San Jiao channel of hand shaoyang to Gallbladder channel of foot shaoyang to Liver channel of foot jueyin then back to the Lung channel of hand taiyin.
- Dillman, George and Chris, Thomas. Advanced Pressute Point Fighting of Ryukyu Kempo. A Dillman Karate International Book, 1994. ISBN 0-9631996-3-3
- Garcia, Hernan and Antonio, Sierra. Wind in the Blood - Mayan Healing & Chinese Medicine Redwing Books, 1999. SBN: 1-56643-304-2
- Meridian Pathways Images showing the pathways of the 12 main meridians plus the Ren and Du Meridians
- Science of meridians
- The Mechanism of Acupuncture
- A meridian chart
- Lo SY (2002) Meridians in acupuncture and infrared imaging Medical Hypotheses 58:72-76.