The meridians or acupuncture vessels are pathways of positive or negative energies that communicate between different parts of the body. They have been mapped and measured electronically, radioactively and thematically and with practice and awareness they can be felt.
Specific points along these pathways act as intersections and have particular effects. It is the job of an acupuncturist to be familiar with the location and actions of over 500 acupuncture points. The acupuncture points are electromagnetic in character and can be located using a microelectrical voltage meter and also by muscle testing when they are functioning abnormally.
The meridians are named after the function of the organ with which they are most associated, however they serve entire organ systems and not just the organ named. The meridian is often denoted with a capital letter to indicate the difference between referring for example to the organ, the liver, and the Liver meridian.
If an acupuncture point tests weak, this does not mean that the associated organ is necessarily weak, just that at some point along the meridian, the flow of energy in that meridian is either blocked or restricted.
The meridians are either yin (female) or yang (male) in nature. The meridians intercommunicate and interconnect deep within the body where they serve the internal organs. Acupuncturists and kinesiologists work with the energy meridians where they are accessible and superficial.
Yang (male) energies flow down the body (with arms raised) from the fingers to the face along the back of the arms or from the face to the feet. Yin (female) energies flow up the body (with arms raised) from the feet to the torso or from the torso to the fingers along the underside of the arms.
The energies flow through the meridians in a continuous unbroken loop from the torso to the fingers along the inside of the arm (yin), from the fingers to the face along the back of the arm (yang), from the face to the feet (along the outside of the leg (yang) and from the feet to the torso alongside the inside of the leg (yin).
There are 12 major meridians which are bilateral and 2 reservoir meridians. The reservoir meridians run up the midline of the body with the central meridian running up the front of the body to end at the lower lip and the governing meridian running up the spine and over the top of the head to the upper lip. These central reservoir meridians feed the entire paired meridian system.
You will find illustrated below the pathways of the 12 paired meridians which are always bilateral (even if both sides are not illustrated) and the two central reservoir meridians.
Symptoms of detoxification
Knowing about the meridians can be helpful in interpreting the symptoms of illness and also in understanding the symptoms of detoxification. Sharp or recurring pains may occur along meridian pathways and this can give you useful information about which organ systems are under stress at any given time.
For example, an erstwhile colleague had extensive investigations for shooting pain in her breasts only ultimately to be diagnosed with ‘electric breast syndrome’. I now know that these pains were almost certainly overactive meridians. Most probably Stomach, Spleen, Circulation-sex or possibly Lung meridians. This can act as an early warning sign that systems need support or that if detoxifying, the regime may need to be reduced or modified in some way.
Also the symptoms of detoxification will frequently occur at the beginning and end points of the meridians on the feet, hands and face and these are also illustrated below. The main routes of detoxification are via the urine, faeces and skin as rashes. Rashes, although unpleasant, are a really encouraging sign that toxins have travelled from deep storage within the body to be expelled superficially. In Traditional Chinese Medicine terms excess heat can also be released from these meridian beginning and end points.
Running the meridians
Simply by running your hand or fingers over the meridian pathway shown you can encourage energy flow in underactive or struggling systems. Most people with a fatigue syndrome will have a chronically stressed Triple Warmer or Spleen meridian, for example. The direction of flow of energy is shown by the arrows in the diagrams below. The Triple Warmer meridian is primarily concerned with hormones and particularly thyroid hormones, Circulation-Sex with sex hormones and Spleen with the pancreas, immunity and utilisation of nutrients.
Also, by running the meridians backwards you can sedate or lessen flows. This application should be used with caution and note that the reservoir meridians should not be run backwards. However, running the lung meridian backwards during an asthma attack, for example, may help to sedate the overactive meridian or this may also be helpful if you are experiencing pain.
To strengthen the central meridian (which governs the brain) you would hold your fingers close to the midline front your body near your pubis and run them upwards as though doing up a zip to your lower lip. Then take your hand away from your body, reposition and repeat several times.
The concept is that meridian disruptions precede the manifestation of physical problems so that you can avert problems if tackled at the energetic stage. The whole energetic system compensates so that as some meridians become underactive others become overactive and this occurs in a recognised pattern. It would be a good daily practice to run all the meridians in the order shown by the wheel on Meridians Reference 3.
Continued in Meridians Reference 2.