What Are Meridians In Traditional Chinese Medicine?

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In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the meridians or “jing-luo” is one of the body’s three functional entities that are vital in maintaining and supporting the body’s health and well-being. It is the connection between the two other functional entities.

The meridians are the pathways wherein the body’s five fundamental substances essential to life produced by the Zang-fu or the five Yin-Yang body organs travel through the body. Naturally, if any of these pathways are blocked, it can lead to health issues and illnesses.

Going Deeper Into The Meridians

Yes, the meridians are the non-physical pathways used by the Zang-fu and the five fundamental substances to keep the body healthy, but that’s the surface of what the meridians are. Basically, the meridians distribute life throughout the body. It’s the basic meaning of the meridians, but it’s much more than that.

The meridians are like a series of roads that are spread throughout the body at precise and important points.  In total, the body has 20 meridians, with 12 of them being regular meridians. Each of these meridians is connected to a body organ. This network has two major categories, the jingmai or main meridian channels and the collateral vessels, the luomai.

If you want to see a virtual representation of the meridians, you can take a look at an acupuncture model. You will notice dots systematically placed at different points in the body; these are points for the meridians.

The meridians are very complicated, and it’s not easy to understand them if you don’t have the proper education and knowledge in TCM and acupuncture.

The Main Meridians

The jingmai is the meridian system of the main meridian channels and is responsible for regulating the flow of qi or vital life energy as it passes the vital meridians. Of the 72 jingmai found in the body, and in acupuncture, 20 of them are very important.

Accordion to traditional Chinese medicine, the main meridians can be divided into three categories:

The twelve primary meridians – Being the primary meridians, these twelve are the most important in terms of the human body’s well being. They allow qi and xue (blood) to travel to different parts of the body.

These twelve meridians include three yin meridians each and three yang meridians each from the foot and the hand, making up the twelve meridians.

They are the main paths that the qi and xue take to circulate the body in a very systematic way, taking fixed routes, crossing at exact points, and traveling with the rules of traditional Chinese medicine.

The eight extraordinary meridians – While they aren’t as vital as the primary meridians, the eight extraordinary meridians help a lot by being the link or connection between the primary meridians, linking them all together to build the meridian network.

These eight meridians are:

  • Governor vessel
  • Conception vessel
  • Thoroughfare vessel
  • Belt vessel
  • Yin heel vessel
  • Yang Heel vessel
  • Yin link vessel
  • Yang link vessel
The twelve divergent meridians – The twelve divergent meridians are meridians that branch out from the twelve primary ones. They strengthen the connection between the exterior and interior elements of the meridians.

The Collaterals

The luomai are the jingmai’s branches that help it perform its function. The luomai has three categories:

  1. Fifteen connecting collaterals – Responsible for allowing the connection between the interior and exterior meridians with the large splenic collateral; these collaterals are necessary for ensuring the strong connection of the interior and exterior meridians.
  2. Superficial collaterals – The superficial collaterals run closer to the external parts of the body, hence the name superficial.
  3. Tertiary collaterals – Tertiary collaterals are in the thinnest and smallest body parts.

The Twelve Major Meridians

The qi flows through the twelve primary meridians, which are connected to the Zang-fu organs, making them very important to discuss here. These meridians are in each arm and leg, with them having both yin and yang properties.

Six of the yin meridians can be found in the inner region of the chest, torso, arms, and legs, while the six yang meridians are in the outer regions.

There are three yin meridians (heart, lung, and pericardium) and yang meridians(small intestine, large intestine, and sanjiao) in the arm. When it comes to the leg, there are three yin meridians (liver, kidney, spleen) and three yang meridians (urinary bladder, gallbladder, and stomach). This meridian pattern of three yins and yangs is called the six meridian theory.

This theory is based on the type of yin-yang qi and degree. It relates to the body’s position as it receives sunlight. Here they are, arranged from the most external to internal:

  1. Tai Yang- Greater yang
  2. Yang Ming-Brightness yang
  3. Shao Yang-Lesser yang
  4. Tai Yin-Greater yin
  5. Shao Yin-Lesser yin
  6. Jue Yin-Absolute yin

Maintain Your Qi With The Best Acupuncturist In Perth

The relationship between meridians and the Zang-fu organs is very essential in traditional Chinese medicine, as it has a lot of influence on the body’s health.

If you want to maintain your health through TCM, then you need to take care of your meridians and make sure that qi is freely flowing through your body.

Acupuncture is a great way to do that, especially when it’s with Baolin Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, the best acupuncturist in Perth.

We offer acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, remedial massage, and many other services. With us, you can trust that your well-being will be taken care of by the best highly-trained and experienced TCM experts.

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