What are Meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine?

You may have heard people talking about meridians. According to Chinese Medicine, the meridians are “the paths through which the life energy known as qi is believed to flow.”[1] Many practitioners of natural therapies, naturopathy and kinesiology will uphold the view that the meridians are the channels that facilitate the life force flow of energy around the body. The obstruction of this life force – the qi – can result in imbalance, illness, chronic sickness and even death.

Meridians run and course through the body like a system of extensive tributaries and rivers that distribute energy and force and life. They are believed to exist within the realm of the “sublte body” which means you cannot see them in the physiology of the body in the way you can see veins and arteries. But according to Chinese Medicine practitioners they are there and offer a valuable tool for the optimisation of health and wellbeing.

There are 20 meridians in the body, and these form the cornerstone or foundation for the 649 acupuncture points that are recognised by Chinese acupuncture. These are divided into groups.

12 Main Meridians

The 12 main meridians correspond to the main organs in the body. They are also divided into six Yin/Yang pairs that balance each other out and create the harmony the body requires to work and function properly.

These comprise:

  • Lung (arm-yin) and Large Intestine (arm-yang)  which attunes to the element of metal
  • Stomach (leg yang) and spleen (leg yin) which attunes so the element of earth
  • Heart (arm yin) and small intestine (arm yang) which attunes to the element of fire
  • Bladder (leg yang) and kidney (leg yin) which attunes to the element of water
  • Triple warmer (arm yang) and pericardium (arm yin) which attunes to the element of fire
  • Gallbladder (leg yang) and liver (leg yin) which attunes to the element of wood

8 Extraordinary Meridians

There are also 8 extraordinary meridians which are called

  • Du
  • Ren
  • Dai
  • Chong
  • Yin chiao
  • Yang chiao
  • Yin wei
  • Yang wei[2]

These first develop in the human being in utero and are the basis and beginning of the entire meridian system. They are the central point of an extremely deep level of energy structure that resonates throughout the human being.

These meridians also play a part in reflexology and pressure points. They have a restorative and calming effect and can release the blockages that prevent your from feeling well.

Ask your natural therapies specialist or TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) specialist about the meridians and how you can keep them clear and free flowing.

Have a great day.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meridian_(Chinese_medicine)

[2] http://taoism.about.com/od/themeridiansystem/a/meridian.htm