Meridians - an Overview

Acupuncture meridians or channels are the linear structures which link into an intricate network connecting with the body’s internal organ systems. In Chinese, acupuncture channels are referred to as ‘Jing Luo’. ‘Jing’ means a pathway, which runs up and down and connects the inner and outer, while ‘Luo’ means a network, which intersects and covers all areas of the body. Thus together, these words mean ‘a network of pathways’.  

Upon discovery of the therapeutic functions of acupuncture points vis a vis clinical patterns, ancient medical scholars also discovered sensory links between acupoints on the surface of the body and the normal and abnormal functioning of internal organ systems inside the body.  

On the basis of this observed sensory experience, ancient medical scholars used the philosophy of the yin and yang, to develop the workings and theory of the acupuncture channel system. The first ancient medical text to document the acupuncture meridian network was the second volume of the Yellow Emperor’s Canons On Medicine, the 1st Canon On Acupuncture, written (475—221 BC). According to this canon, the network of channels is a web of pathways that links the internal organ system with the skin, flesh, ligaments and bones, making the body function as an integral whole. Connecting the internal, external, lower and outer parts of the body, the network channels and transports Chi, blood and body fluids to all parts of the body, thereby providing them with nourishment. If the network of the channels functions normally, then the chi, blood and body fluids can flow smoothly to the internal organ systems, bringing nourishment to them and making the body free from illness.

However, if any part of the channel system becomes blocked or weak and deficient, disease occurs and clinical patterns corresponding to the blocked channel(s) will be manifested.  

Most clinical patterns correspond to the signs and symptoms occurring along the orbit flow of the blocked chan­nels. For example, pain along the flanks or localised tenderness along this region reflects disharmony of the liver system whose channel flows through these regions.  

A main problem in healing is the balancing of the energy flows. Usually, this balancing occurs unrecognised as a by-product of other successful treatments. However, healing can be initiated and accelerated by deliberately treating the meridians with the express purpose of balancing.

A useful method for this is to follow the outline of a meridian
(follow this link for Meridian Chart ), with one finger or with several fingers held closely together. Following a meridian in the normal flow direction is strengthening, while tracing in the opposite direction will weaken and sedate the meridian. The results of these tracements may be checked with muscle testing.

In order to perform a meridian tracement, pause with your fingers for a moment at the starting-point; then follow the meridian in a quiet, fluent motion. The fingers should be close to the body but do not actually need to touch the skin. It is enough to remain within about 5 cm of the actual course of the meridian.

Related meridians on both sides may be traced simultaneously. In repeated tracements move the hands back to the starting-point in a wide sweep to avoid following the meridian in the reverse direction.

You may trace all the main meridians once or several times daily, or you may concentrate on the meridians most in need of improvement. Important meridians may be traced repeatedly during the day for 20 times or more. The strengthening effect may be increased if after several tracements you do a muscle-tensing exercise, Taking a deep breath while tensing your whole body and then relaxing it during exhalation.


close the window