385 208-9200 info@innergydev.com

Meridians

ChinesE: Standard

Meridians of the body affect every organ and physiological system inside of us. They are invisible to the human eye, yet without them we could not sustain life. In the same way that arteries carry blood, meridians carry energy, often referred to as chi, qi or prana. Meridians are our body’s “energy bloodstream”: they bring vitality and balance, remove energy blockages, stagnations and imbalances, adjust metabolism and determine the speed and form of cellular change. Their flow is as critical as the flow of blood; your life and health depend on both.

Meridians of the body affect all major systems including: immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular and the lymphatic system. If a meridian’s energy is obstructed or unregulated, the system it feeds on is jeopardized, and disease results.

These major meridians of the body are responsible for nourishing their corresponding organ and the other organs around them, fueling and feeding them with energy. Each meridian plays a specific and integral role in their organs health. Deficient meridian energy and excess meridian energy are both problematic and can cause damage to that meridian’s organ system.

There are certain places along the meridians where energy pools, making the chi, qi or prana more accessible there than elsewhere. These “energy hotspots” are more familiarly referred to as acupuncture points and at these specific points, energy can be manipulated – either increasing or decreasing the flow.
When energy flowing through the meridians becomes blocked or stagnant, or, when too much energy is overwhelming a meridian these acupuncture points can be accessed to clear blockages and remove unwanted excess or stagnant energy. Often times acupuncture and acupressure techniques are used to relieve energetic imbalances in the meridians; the ancient Chinese practice of Qi Gong is often employed as well.

Foot, Bladder: Water-Energy Yang Organ

The bladder is called the ‘Minister of the Reservoir’ and is responsible for storing and excreting the urinary waste fluids passed down from the kidneys.  As an organ the bladder has only this function, but as an energy system the bladder is intimately related to the functions and balance of the autonomous nervous system.  That’s because the bladder energy meridian runs along the back of the body from head to heal, with two parallel branches flowing along each side of the spinal column.  These four branches of the bladder meridian exert a direct influence on the sympathetic and parasympathetic trunks of the autonomous nervous system, whose condition of modern life, over activates the sympathetic system, causing tension and pain along the spine and its periphery.  This tension and pain may be relieved by stimulating the flow of energy along the spinal branches of the bladder meridian.  Such stimulation induces total relaxation by switching the autonomous nervous system over to the restful, restorative parasympathetic mode.  Chinese massage therapy focuses primarily on these four spinal branches of the bladder meridian because of their direct influence over the autonomous nervous system, which regulates all the body’s basic vital functions.

Bladder
Paired Organ –
Kidneys
Color – deep blue
Peak Hours – 3pm-5pm
Physical Branches – autonomous nervous system
Functions – stores and eliminates urine
Bladder: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

An imbalance in the Bladder can cause such psychological symptoms as habitual fear, lack of decision making capability and a diminished moral character.  If the imbalance becomes chronic, it results in such emotional responses as jealousy, suspicion, and holding on to long-standing grudges.

Foot, Gallbladder: Wood-Energy Yang Organ

Known as the ‘Honorable Minister’, the gall bladder is in charge of the ‘Central Clearing Department’.  It secretes the pure and potent bile fluids required to digest and metabolize fats and oils, and its energy provides muscular strength and vitality.  It works with the lymphatic system to clear toxic by-products of metabolism from the muscular system, thereby eliminating muscular aches and fatigue.  In the Chinese system, the common tension headache is caused by obstruction in the gall-bladder meridian, which runs up over the shoulders and back of the neck to the top of the head and forehead.  Hence such headaches are usually accompanied by neck and shoulder tension.

The gall bladder governs daring and decisiveness.  In Chinese, the word for ‘daring’ is da dan (‘big gall’).  The English language also acknowledges this psychophysiological relationship with the phrase ‘a lot of gall’.  An old Chinese adage states: ‘The gall bladder is daring, the heart is careful’, which reflects the stimulating generative influence of Wood to Fire.

Gallbladder
Paired Organ-
Liver
Color – yellow green
Peak Hours – 11pm-1am
Mental Qualities – resentment
Physical Branches – eyes, tendons, tears, nails
Functions – stores and excretes bile, one of the Six Extraordinary Organs


Gall Bladder: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Gall Bladder is responsible for making decisions and judgments, as well as providing courage and initiative.  This organ is sometimes called the Court of Justice or The General’s Advisor.  Although the Kidneys control drive and vitality, the Gall Bladder provides the capacity to turn this drive and vitality into decisive action.  The Gall Bladder has an influence on the quality and length of sleep.  If the Gall Bladder is Deficient, the patient will often wake up suddenly, very early in the morning, and be unable to fall asleep again.  Patients who are timid, indecisive, and easily discouraged by slight adversity, are said to have a weak Gall Bladder; conversely, decisive and determined patients are said to have a strong Gall Bladder.

 

Foot, Liver: Wood-Energy Yin Organ

The liver is called the ‘General’ or ‘Chief of Staff’ and is responsible for filtering, detoxifying, nourishing, replenishing, and storing blood.  The liver stores large amounts of sugar in the form of glycogen, which it releases into the blood stream as glucose whenever the body requires extra infusions of metabolic energy.  The liver receives all amino acids extracted from food by the small intestine and recombines them to synthesize the various forms of protein required for growth and repair of bodily tissues.

The liver controls the peripheral nervous system, which regulates muscular activity and tension.  The inability to relax is often caused by liver dysfunction or imbalance in Wood energy.  Liver energy also controls ligaments and tendons, which together with muscles regulate motor activity and determine physical coordination.  Liver function is reflected externally in the condition of finger- and toenails and by the eyes and vision.  Blurry vision is often a result of liver malfunction rather than an eye problem, and even Western medicine recognizes the symptomatic yellow eyes of liver jaundice.
Through its association with Wood energy, the liver governs growth and development, drive and desires, ambitions and creativity.  Obstruction of liver energy can cause intense feelings of frustration, rage, and anger, and these emotions in turn further disrupt liver energy and suppress liver function, in a vicious self-destructive cycle.

Liver
Paired Organ –
Gallbladder
Color – deep green
Peak Hours – 1am-3am
Physical Branches – eyes, tendons, tears, nails
Functions – stores the blood, governs the free flow of qi


Liver: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Liver is responsible for planning and creativity, as well as instantaneous solutions or sudden insights; it is therefore considered The General in Charge of Strategy.  The Liver houses the body’s Hun and governs fright.  Its positive psycho-emotional attributes are kindness, benevolence, compassion, and generosity; its negative attributes are anger, irritability, frustration, resentment, jealousy, rage, and depression.  The Liver is also called the “root of resistance to fatigue.”  Whenever the Liver is not functioning properly (stagnate or excessively Hot due to suppressed emotions) the patient can experience fatigue as well as physical weakness.


Foot, Kidney: Water-Energy Yin Organ

Known as the ‘Minister of Power’, the kidney is regarded as the body’s most important reservoir of essential energy.  The original prenatal energy (yuan chee) which forms the basis of life is stored in the kidney organ-energy system, which is why the kidneys are also known as the ‘Root of Life’.  In the Chinese view, the kidney organ system also includes the adrenal glands, which consist of the adrenal medulla and the adrenal cortex.  These glands sit like hats on top of the kidneys and secrete a wide range of essential hormones that regulate metabolism, excretion, immunity, sexual potency and fertility.  Destruction of the adrenal cortex is fatal.  The kidney system also includes what the Chinese call the ‘external kidneys’: the testicles in men and the ovaries in women.  Thus the kidneys control sexual and reproductive functions and provide the body’s prime source of sexual vitality, which the Chinese regard as a major indicator of health and immunity.

The kidneys themselves are responsible for filtering waste metabolites from the blood and moving them onwards to the bladder for excretion in urine.  Along with the large intestine, the kidneys control the balance of fluids in the body.  In addition, they regulate the body’s acid-alkaline balance (pH) by selectively filtering out or retaining various minerals.

The kidneys, particularly the adrenal glands, are especially vulnerable to damage from excessive stress and sexual abuse.  In the Chinese view, such damage is a major cause of immune deficiency, low vitality, and sexual impotence.

The kidneys control the growth and development of bones and nourish the marrow, which is the body’s source of red and white blood cells.  Weak kidney energy is therefore a prime cause of anemia and immune deficiency.  The Chinese view the spinal cord and the brain as forms of marrow, and therefore poor memory, inability to think clearly, and backache are all regarded as indicators of impaired kidney function and deficient kidney energy.

Kidney vitality is reflected externally by the condition of head and body hair and is associated with the aperture of the ears.  Tinnitus (ringing ears) is thus a sign of kidney dysfunction.  The kidneys are the seat of courage and willpower, and therefore any impairment in kidney energy results in feelings of fear and paranoia.  Intense fear can cause involuntary urination, a phenomenon also known to Western medicine.

Kidney
Paired Organ – Bladder
Color – light flame blue
Peak Hours – 5pm-7pm
Mental Qualities – fear, paranoia
Physical Branches – ears, bones, urine, head and pubic hair, brain, marrow
Functions – stores prenatal essence, filters the blood


Kidney: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Marrow produced from the Kidney Jing flows into the brain.  The thinking ability is strengthened when Qi and Blood in the cerebral cortex are abundant.  With the increase of thinking activity, a circle of light develops within the body’s Taiji Pole.  The individual’s innate intelligence (Yuan Shen) is represented by the intensity of light.  The degree of accumulated spiritual energy is reflected by the number of light circles developed within the Taiji Pole.  These circles of light can be best observed when first waking.  By placing slight pressure of the external eye lids the inner light of the Taiji Pole is projected onto the optic nerves, reflecting an image of the circle of light.  If the circle of light is complete, it reflects a strong, healthy condition.  If the circle of light is dark within its center (similar to a doughnut), this reflects a Deficient condition.  If the circle of light is broken or interrupted, it reflects an extreme Deficiency.

The “memory zone,” as well as the “thought center” are also located in the cerebral cortex and will not develop until the Kidney Channels travel through the spine, along with the Liver Channels, to reach the cortex.  When the Qi of these two channels is abundant, the memory function is keen.
The Kidneys house the body’s will power (Zhi).  They control short-term memory and store data.  The Kidneys provide the capacity and drive for strength, skill and hard work.  A patient with strong Kidneys can work hard and purposefully for long periods of time.  Consequently, when the Kidneys are in a state of disharmony, the patient can sometimes be driven to a state of excessive-compulsive working habits (a workaholic).  A patient with weak Kidneys will lack strength and endurance.
The Kidney’s positive psycho-emotional attributes are wisdom, rationality, clear perception, gentleness, and self-understanding.  The negative attributes are fear, loneliness, insecurity, and shock (which attacks the Heart first then descends into the Kidneys to become fear).

Foot, Spleen-Pancreas: Earth-Energy Yin Organ

In Chinese medicine, the function of the spleen organ-energy system includes the pancreas.  Called the ‘Minister of the Granary’, the spleen and pancreas control extraction and assimilation of nutrients from food and fluids by providing the digestive enzymes and energy required by the stomach and small intestine.  They regulate the quantity and quality of blood in circulation and coordinate with the kidneys to control fluid balance throughout the system.  Spleen energy commands extraction of energy from stomach to lungs, where it is blended with energy from air to form True Human Energy.  The spleen directly influences and is reflected by the tone and condition of muscle tissue.  Weak limbs and muscular atrophy are indications of deficient spleen energy.

Spleen and pancreas condition is reflected externally by the color and tone of the lips: reddish moist lips indicate strong spleen function; pale dry lips are a sign of weak spleen function.  The mouth is the spleen’s external aperture, and temperamental moodiness is its associated emotion.  The Chinese term for ‘bad temper’ is ‘bad spleen energy’, a psychophysiological association also reflected in the English term ‘splenetic’.

Spleen-Pancreas
Paired Organ – Stomach
Color – orange yellow
Peak Hours – 9am-11am
Positive Emotions – trust, honesty, openness, acceptance, equanimity, balance, and impartiality
Negative Emotions – worry, excessive thinking, pensiveness, obsessiveness, remorse, regret, obsessions, and self-doubt
Physical Branches – muscles, lips, mouth, saliva, lymphatic system
Functions – cleanses and ‘modifies’ the blood, houses the body’s Yi (wisdom mind).


Spleen: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Spleen houses the body’s thoughts and intentions (Yi), and is responsible for analytical thinking, memory, cognition, intelligence, and ideas.  The Spleen is responsible for directing memories to the Kidneys for short-term memory storage.  The Kidneys will later transfer these memories to the Heart for long-term memory storage.  The Spleen’s positive psycho-emotional attributes are trust, honesty, openness, acceptance, equanimity, balance, and impartiality; its negative attributes are worry, excessive thinking, pensiveness, obsessiveness, remorse, regret, obsessions, and self-doubt.

Foot, Stomach: Earth-Energy Yang Organ

The stomach is called the ‘Minister of the Mill’ and is also known as the ‘Sea of Nourishment’.  Because it is responsible for providing the entire system with postnatal energy from the digestion of food and fluids, it is regarded as the ‘Root of Postnatal Life’.  In addition to digesting bulk foods and fluids and moving them onwards to the small intestine for extraction and assimilation of nutrients, the stomach also extracts pure postnatal energy from foods and fluids, and in coordination with spleen energy it transports this food energy through the meridian system to the lungs, where it combines with air energy from breathing.  This is a function of the stomach not acknowledged in Western medicine, which focuses only on the biochemistry of digestion and does not recognize the bioenergetic aspect.

Governed by pivotal Earth energy, the stomach is responsible for extracting and balancing all Five Elemental Energies from foods and fluids ingested through the mouth, which it shares with the spleen as its external aperture.  Any dysfunction of the stomach results in an immediate deficiency or imbalance in the nourishing energy channeled from the stomach to other organs.


Stomach
Paired Organ –
Spleen
Color – deep yellow
Peak Hours – 7am-9am
Physical Branches – muscles, lips, mouth, saliva
Functions – digestion, absorption of postnatal energy

Stomach: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Stomach influences the mental state; an Excess condition can agitate the mind and cause mental symptoms such as: mania or hypomania, confusion, severe anxiety, and hyperactivity.


Hand, Heart: Fire-Energy Yin Organ

The heart is called the ‘King’ of the organs.  The Internal Medicine Classic states: ‘The heart commands all of the organs and viscera, houses the spirit, and controls the emotions.’  In Chinese, the word for ‘heart’ (hsin) is also used to denote ‘mind’.  When the heart is strong and steady, it controls the emotions; when it is weak and wavering, the emotions rebel and prey upon the heart-mind, which then loses its command over the body.

Physiologically, the heart controls the circulation and distribution of blood, and therefore all the other organs depend upon it for sustenance.  Thoughts and emotions influence the function of various organs via pulse and blood pressure, which are controlled by the heart, where emotions arise.  Internally, the heart is functionally associated with the thymus gland, which is located in the same cavity and forms a mainstay of the immune system.  Extreme emotions such as grief and anger have an immediate suppressive effect on the immune system by inhibiting thymus function, a phenomenon that has long been observed but little understood in Western medicine.

Externally, the heart is related to the tongue, to which it is connected by the heart muscle.  The color and texture of the tongue thus reflect the condition of the heart.  Speech impediments such as stuttering and mutism are often caused by dysfunction or imbalance in heart energy.  Facial complexion, which is a direct reflection of blood circulation, is also a major external indicator of heart function.  Fire energy makes the heart the dominant organ of summer, during which season the heart must increase circulation to the surface in order to dissipate excess body heat.

Heart-Mind
Paired Organ –
Small Intestine
Color – red with slight blue tint
Peak Hours – 11am-1pm
Physical Branches – blood, tongue, throat, sweat, facial complexion, adrenals, thyroid, prostate, pituitary
Functions – pulse/circulation, house of the spirit


Heart: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Heart’s associated organ is the Small Intestine; its element is Fire.  Long-term memory, thinking, emotions, intimacy, cognition, intelligence, and ideas are all dominated by the function of the Heart.  The Heart is sometimes called The Emperor, or “supreme controller of all Yin and Yang organs”.  The Heart houses the body’s spirit (Shen).  The Heart dominates sleep; if the Heart is strong the patient will fall asleep easily and sleep soundly.  If the Heart is weak, the patient’s mind will “float,” resulting in an inability to fall asleep, disturbed sleep, or excessive dreaming.  The Heart’s positive psycho-emotional attributes are love, joy, peace, contentment, propriety, insight, wisdom, orderliness, forgiveness, and courtesy.  Its negative attributes are hate, guilt, shock, nervousness, excitement, longing, and craving.

Hand, Large Intestine: Metal-Energy Yang Organ

The large intestine is called the ‘Minister of Transportation’.  It controls the transformation of digestive wastes from liquid to solid state and transports the solids onwards and outwards for excretion through the rectum.  It plays a major role in the balance and purity of bodily fluids and assists the lungs in controlling the skin’s pores and perspiration.

Coupled with the lungs by Metal energy, the large intestine depends on the lungs for movement via the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm, which works like a pump to give impetus to peristalsis by regulating abdominal pressure.  Thus sluggish bowels may be stimulated and constipation cured by deep diaphragmatic breathing and by tonifying lung energy.  Conversely, congested lungs and clogged bronchial passages may be cleared by purging the bowels.

Large Intestine
Paired Organ Lungs
Color off-white
Peak Hours 5am-7am
Physical Branches nose, skin, body hair, mucus
Functions absorption of fluids, elimination of solid wastes

Large Intestine: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Large Intestine relationship to the Lungs makes it equally affected by the emotions of sadness, grief, and worry.  An energetic imbalance in the Large Intestine can result in physical weakness and provoke emotional introversion, accompanied by feelings of depression, irritability, discouragement, distress and apathy.  Strong emotions of fear or panic can produce an energetic-stool reflex reaction in the Large Intestine resulting in a spontaneous defecation.


Hand, Lung: Metal-Energy Yin Organ

Known as the ‘Prime Minister’, the lungs control breath and energy and assist the ‘King’ heart with the circulation of blood.  The Internal Medicine Classic states: ‘Energy is the commander of blood; when energy moves, blood follows.  Blood is the mother of energy; where blood goes, energy follows.’  This intimate relationship between breath and pulse, blood and energy, is the basis of Chinese breathing exercises.

Breathing controls cellular respiration, and shallow irregular breathing is therefore a major cause of low vitality and insufficient metabolism.  The lungs also control the skin, which ‘breathes’ via the opening and closing of pores and is responsible for adjusting body temperature through perspiration and shivering.  The skin is where the radiant energy of resistance emanates, forming the first line of defense against noxious environmental energies such as heat and cold.  Flu and the common cold are caused by impairment of radiant skin energy’s capacity to resist external invasion, and symptoms of these diseases usually settle in the lungs and bronchial tract.  Pallid skin and poor complexion are common indications of weak lungs.  The nose is the external aperture of the lungs and the gate of breath.  A clogged or runny nose is another indicator of ailing lungs.

Breathing directly controls the autonomous nervous system, and this relationship is the basis for almost every system of yoga and meditation.  By regulating the autonomous nervous system and governing energy and pulse, breathing forms a direct bridge between body and mind and may be utilized to keep the two in balance.

Lung
Paired Organ Large Intestine
Color pure white
Peak Hours 3am-5am
Physical Branches nose, skin, body hair, mucus
Functions accepts pure fluids from spleen, which are then mixed with air, and circulated through the meridians, circulates Wei Qi

Looking at the branches of a tree it can be seen that each larger branch splits in two. Each smaller branch then splits in two, and so and so on until the branches become leaves. Each leaf, then, begins with a single vein, then splits, by two, into smaller and smaller veins, until they reach the individual cells are exposed to the air. This is the same way the lungs are formed.  Even more interesting is the relationship between trees and humans.  Plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out O2, while humans and animals breathe in O2 and breathe out CO2.  Thus trees can be considered, the lungs of the earth.

Lungs: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

It is said that the Lungs are “the priest” or The Minister of Heaven and are responsible for establishing the foundation of Qi for the entire body.  The Lungs house the body’s Seven Corporeal Souls (Po) and are responsible for self-protection and self-preservation.  The Lungs positive psycho-emotional attributes are righteousness, dignity, integrity, and high self-esteem; their negative attributes are disappointment, sadness, grief, despair, anxiety, shame, and sorrow.

Hand, Pericardium: Fire-Energy Yin Organ

Known as the ‘King’s Bodyguard’, the pericardium is the heart’s protective sack.  Although it is not recognized as an organ in Western physiology, it is regarded in Chinese medicine as a Fire-energy organ whose special function is to protect the heart.  Not only does the pericardium provide the heart with physical protection, its energy also protects the heart from damage and disruption by excessive emotional energies generated by the other organs, such as anger from the liver, fear from the kidneys, and grief from the lungs.  In the Chinese system of health, extreme outbursts of the Seven Emotions are regarded as powerful disruptors of internal energy balance and major causes of disease.  Without the pericardium to protect it, the heart would be subject to injury from the radical fluctuations in energy caused by every emotional up and down of the day.

The pericardium also helps regulate circulation in the major blood vessels that run in and out of the heart.  Emotionally, pericardium energy is related to the loving feelings associated with sex, thereby linking the physical and emotional aspects of sexual activity.  It does this by moderating the raw sexual energy of the kidneys with the all embracing love generated by the heart.

Pericardium
Paired Organ Triple Burner
Color purple red
Peak Hours 7pm-9pm
Mental Qualities love, sex
Physical Branches blood, tongue, throat, sweat, facial complexion
Functions protects the heart

**Note: The Pericardium Meridian is also commonly referred to as the “Heart Constrictor” Meridian and the “Circulation-Sex” Meridian


Pericardium: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Pericardium has a powerful influence on the patient’s mental and emotional states.  Its goal is to “create feelings of joy and/or pleasure for the emperor (Heart).”

Hand, Small Intestine: Fire-Energy Yang Organ

Known as the ‘Minister of Reception’, the small intestine receives partially digested food from the stomach and further refines it, separating ‘the pure from the impure’, then assimilating the purified nutrients and moving the impure wastes onwards to the large intestine for elimination.  Associated with the heart by Fire energy, the small intestine controls the more basic emotions, as reflected in the Chinese term duan chang (‘broken intestines’), which is equivalent to the English term ‘broken heart’.  Its energy meridian runs into the head, where it influences the function of the pituitary gland, the ‘master gland’ whose secretions regulate growth, metabolism, immunity, sexuality, and the entire endocrine system.

Small Intestine
Paired Organ Heart
Color pink
Peak Hours 1pm-3pm
Physical Branches blood, tongue, throat, sweat, facial complexion
Functions absorbs nutrients, digestion and elimination


Small Intestine: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Small Intestine influences the patient’s mental clarity, judgment, and powers of discernment.  The ability to distinguish relevant issues with clarity before making a decision is attributed to the Small Intestine.

Hand, Triple Burner: Fire-Energy Yang Organ

This organ-energy system, which is not recognized in Western physiology, is called the ‘Minister of Dykes and Dredges’ and is responsible for the movement and transformation of various solids and fluids throughout the system, as well as for the production and circulation of nourishing energy (ying chee) and protective energy (wei chee).  It is not a single self-contained organ, but rather a functional energy system involved in regulating the activities of other organs.  It is composed of three parts, known as ‘burners’, each associated with one of the body’s three main cavities: thorax, abdomen, and pelvis.  An ancient Chinese medical text states: ‘The Upper Burner controls intake, the Middle Burner controls transformation, the Lower Burner controls elimination.’

The Upper Burner runs from the base of the tongue to the entrance to the stomach and controls the intake of air, food, and fluids.  It harmonizes the functions of heart and lungs, governs respiration, and regulates the distribution of protective energy to the body’s external surfaces.

The Middle Burner runs from the entrance to the stomach down to its exit at the pyloric valve and controls digestion by harmonizing the functions of stomach, spleen, and pancreas.  It is responsible for extracting nourishing energy from food and fluids and distributing it via the meridian system to the lungs and other parts of the body.

The Lower Burner runs from the pyloric valve down to the anus and urinary tract and is responsible for separating the pure from the impure products of digestion, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating solid and liquid wastes.  It harmonizes the functions of liver, kidney, bladder, and large and small intestines and also regulates sexual and reproductive functions.

Some medical researchers believe that the Triple Burner is associated with the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which regulates appetite, digestion, fluid balance, body temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure, and other basic autonomous functions.

 

Triple Warmer, Sanjiao
Paired Organ Pericardium
Color orange red
Peak Hours 9pm-11pm
Physical Branches blood, tongue, throat, sweat, facial complexion
Functions regulates transformation and transportation of bodily fluids, and…


**Note: Chinese; ‘Sanjiao’ Meridian: ‘San’ means three, ‘Jiao’ means ‘burn’.  It’s originally referred to as the ‘Triple Burner’, but ‘Triple Warmer’ and ‘Triple Heater’ are also commonly used.


Triple Burner: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Triple Burners are considered the Ambassadors or “intermediaries” for the body’s Yuan (Original) Qi.  On a psychological level, they can be used to move Qi and lift depression derived from stagnation of Liver Qi.  When the Triple Burners, which regulate the consciousness, are full, the consciousness becomes stable and the Mind’s intent is benevolent and kindhearted.  The Triple Burners are also linked with the Heart and Pericardium and are affected by the emotion of joy.  When the energy of the heart is strong and pure (without guilt), and the desires and thoughts of an individual are at peace, then the energy of the boy’s sexual essence (Jing) will spread into the Triple Burners, and the Blood will flourish within the individual’s vessels.  If the “fire of desire” is allowed to Heat and combine with the energy of the Triple Burners, the energy of the individual’s sexual essence will overflow, mixing itself with the energy of the Mingmen and will leave the body via the reproductive organs and tissues.  This leads to Jing and Qi depletion.

Meridians

Chinese: Extraordinary

Within Chinese Medicine, the Eight Extraordinary Meridians represent the body’s deepest level of energetic structuring. These meridians are the first to form in utero, and are carriers of Yuan Qi – the ancestral energy which corresponds to our genetic inheritance. They function as deep reservoirs from which the twelve main meridians can be replenished, and into which the latter can drain their excesses.
Other names for these Eight Extraordinary Meridians include: the Eight Curious Vessels, the Eight Marvelous Meridians, and the Eight Irregular Vessels.

PRIMARY VESSELS: Single Channels Operating Within The Torso

The Four Primary Vessels are:

Ren Mai  – Conception Channel (mai translates as vessel)
Du Mai – Governing Channel
Chong Mai – Penetrating  or Central Channel
Dai Mai – Girdle or Belt Channel

What makes these four particularly extraordinary, is that they are the only single channels in the ‘top 20’ of the meridian system. All the others are bilateral. This means that the four primary vessels fulfill a special function of dividing the body in halves (energetically).

The Du Mai, Ren Mai and Chong Mai, all divide it into left and right; and the Dai Mai creates an upper and lower division. The Chong Mai also defines the central core of the body and energetically ‘separates’ it from the periphery.

The conception (ren mai) and governing (du mai) vessels are sometimes included as an additional pair in the principal meridian group, bringing the number up to 14, but they are not a true pair. Unlike the 12 meridian pairs, they have no interconnecting vessels between them.

   

CONCEPTION VESSEL (CV) or REN MAI

Ren in Chinese means “direction, responsibility.” Ren Mai, the “Conception Vessel,” has a major role in Qi circulation, monitoring and directing all of the Yin channels (plus the stomach channel). The Conception Vessel is connected to the Thrusting and Yin Linking vessels, and is able to increase the Yin energy of the body. This vessel nourishes the uterus (one of the five ancestral organs) and the whole genital system. It is said in the Nei Jing that the Conception and Thrusting vessels contain both blood and essence (Jing), and both flow up to the face and around the mouth. They contain more blood than essence in men, and thus promote the growth of the beard and body hair. Because women lose blood with their menstruation, they contain proportionately less blood and hence, no beard or body hair. 

It was described in the Su Wen that both the Conception and Thrusting vessels control the life cycles every 7 years for women and every 8 years for men. It is the changes taking place in these vessels at those intervals that promote the major alterations in our lives. 

In addition, the Conception vessel also controls the distribution and “dispersion” of Guardian Qi all over the abdomen and thorax via numerous small Qi branches (Luo). This vessel also plays an important role in the distribution of body fluids in the abdomen. 

“Sea of Yin” Vessel

Receives all of the Qi from the yin meridians.
Has its own acupuncture points
Travels from pelvic floor, up the midline of the front of the body, to the lower lip
Regulates female cycles, menstruation, reproduction; affects male genitalia, impotence, libido.

Important Relationship between the Governing and Conception Meridians

The Governing and Conception Vessels are the main rivers of the body’s Yin and Yang energies.  They are polar aspects of the body, perfectly complementary, like midnight and midday.  They are responsible for the formation of the holoblastic cleavage and the first cellar division of the fertilized ovum in embryological development.

In China, Dr. Li Shi Zhen was the first to believe that the Governing and Conception Vessels are two branches of the same source, and inseparable Yin-and-Yang, front-and-back duality.  These vessels connect the uterus with the Kidneys, Heart, and Brain.

The Governing and Conception Vessels each have two energy flows on the anterior and posterior vertical midline of the body.  Each vessel’s pathway is complete, being composed of an ascending energetic flow and a descending energetic flow. The duality of these two medial lines joins at the extremities (the head and perineum), forming one complete circle of energetic current.

Both vessels are superimposed on each other, with the energy of the Governing Vessel being predominant up the back and inferior down the front (behind the Conception Vessel); the energy of the Conception Vessel is predominant up the front and inferior down the back (behind the Governing Vessel).

The energetic flow of the Conception Vessel corresponds to Yin, negative polarity, the female aspect, and responds to bass tones; while the energetic flow of the Governing Vessel corresponds to Yang, positive polarity, the male aspect, and responds to treble tones.

It is important to understand the energetic potential of these two currents flowing in both an ascending and descending direction on the posterior and anterior vertical midline in the body.  The energetic movement of these two currents explains why there are two opposite directions of focused concentration used in energy cultivation meditations.  One direction follows the Microcosmic Fire cycle along the Governing Vessel (up the spine and down the chest) to stimulate the emotional regulation of the acquired mind (Zhi Shen); the other direction follows the Microcosmic Water cycle along the conception Vessel (up the chest and down the spine) to stimulate spiritual intuition and activate the perceptions of the Yuan Shen.

GIRDLE OR BELT VESSEL (GV) or DAI MAI

its function is to bind up (like a belt) all the other meridians. It is the only meridian that runs transversely across the surface of the body. The general functions are to bind up the other meridians and to control leucorrhoea in females. When this meridian is diseased, there will be pain and weakness in the lower back, distension of the abdomen, prolapse of the uterus, weakness of the waist.

 

Yin and Yang Vessel

The only horizontally flowing channel
Uses acupuncture points of main meridians
Circles the waist; binds all the 12 vertical channels, plus CV, GV and PV
Connects the upper and lower body, and the front and back. Regulates upward and downward flow of Qi in the torso
Associated with mid body issues- abdomen and back; muscle weakness in low back & legs; strength of waist area; supports abdominal organs

Responsible for horizontal balance (mental and physical)

GOVERNING VESSEL (GV) or DU MAI

The Governing Vessel is the confluence of all the Yang channels, over which it is said to “govern.” Because it controls all the Yang channels, it is called the “Sea of Yang Meridians.” This is apparent from its pathway because it flows up the midline of the back, a Yang area, and in the center of all Yang channels (except the stomach channel which flows in the front). The Governing Vessel governs all the Yang channels, which means that it can be used to increase the Yang energy of the body. 

Since the Governing Vessel is the “Sea of Yang Meridians” and it controls or governs the back, the area richest in Guardian Qi (Wei Qi), it is also responsible for the circulation of the body’s Guardian Qi to guard against external evil intruders. The circulation of Guardian Qi starts from Fengfu (Gv-lG), and moves down the Governing Vessel to Huiyin (LI-l). It is said that it takes 21 days for the Guardian Qi to flow from Fengfu to Huiyin, and 9 days from Huiyin to the throat, making it a monthly cycle. 

According to Chinese medical science, Guardian Qi is Yang Qi and therefore represents the “Fire” of the body. Its quick and ubiquitous circulation keeps the fire going in the body and controls the loss of body heat. Guardian Qi is also inextricably linked with the fluids that flow outside the channels, in the skin and flesh. Consequently, through the breathing (under control of the lungs), Guardian Qi is responsible for the opening and the closing of the pores, and also controls sweating. 

The Governing vessel is also responsible for nourishing the five ancestral organs, which include the brain and spinal cord. This is one of the ways in which the kidneys “control” the brain, as is said in Chinese medicine. 

“Sea of Yang” Vessel

Regulates all of the yang channels
Has its own acupuncture points
Travels from pelvic floor up the midline of the back to the top of the head and down the front to the top lip
Associated with spine; spinal cord; brain; cerebrospinal fluid; pain & swelling in head and face.
Important for qigong cycling of Qi exercises

Strengthens Guardian Qi (Wei Qi)

  

PENETRATING VESSEL (PV) or CHONG MAI or Central Channel

The Penetrating Vessel (Sushumna) does NOT take a straight line up the centre of the spine, but DIRECTLY connects the Muladhara (Crutch Point) to the Ajna (Pineal Gland) and passes directly through the energetic and biological/neural centers (Vortex intersection points) simply mapped as the other Chakras. 

The Sino-atrial node is the Heart Chakra where Masculine and Feminine, Ida and Pingala, Governor and Conception meet.

The Penetrating Vessel (Sushumna) is sometimes known as the ‘chong’ (or fertility) acupuncture channel is also called the ‘sea of blood.

It has links to the main acupuncture channels (Spleen, Kidney, Liver, Conception, and Governing) that correspond to digestive function, some endocrine functions, menstruation, some neurological functions, and heredity. In the female body, it provides a direct connection between the Head, Heart, Uterus and Crutch Point.

From this, it can be seen why so many people have all sorts of “symptoms” when Kundalini “blows” and the rest of the body is not in balance.

It is important to understand that the Sushumna (Penetrating Vessel) provides (as well as the main flow of “blood”) the complete psycho-spiritual and neuro-biological balance (Tantra) … firstly between the Conception Vessel – Yin (Ida) and the Governing Vessel – Yang (Pingala) … and then between the other Vessels, Meridians or Nadi’s which create harmony within the whole Hu-man being.

Yin and Yang Vessel

Regulates Qi in the 12 regular meridians
“Sea of Blood” vessel – regulates menstruation; and associated with arteries
Uses acupuncture points of main meridians
From lower pelvis up the front of the spinal column to the crown of head
Very important in qigong practice

Can be linked to heart pain; depression; infertility; asthma. Brings Kidney Qi upwards

SECONDARY VESSELS: Bilateral channels found in legs, torso and head

The Four Secondary Vessels are:

Yin Qiao Mai – the Yin Heel Channel
Yang Qiao Mai – the Yang Heel Channel
Yin Wei Mai – the Yin Linking Channel
Yang Wei Mai – the Yang Linking Channel

These four are not often referred to in qigong practice, but they are important for acupuncture treatment and other Traditional Chinese Medicine healing methods. See the table below for details about all eight extraordinary meridians.

Energy can flow in either direction but normally flows upwards in the extraordinary channels, (except for the horizontally flowing Dai Mai). In the Microcosmic Orbit Meditation, the energy in Ren Mai is encouraged to temporarily flow downward to complete the circular flow of Qi.

YIN HEEL VESSEL or YIN QIAO MAI

The Yin Heel vessel is connected with two cavities of the kidney channel. Therefore, one of the major sources of Qi for this vessel is the conversion of the kidney essence into Qi. It is believed in Qigong society that the other major Qi source is the essence of the external kidneys (testicles).

  

Yin Vessel

Uses acupuncture points of main meridians
Located in feet, medial side of legs, torso, eyes and brain
Regulates gait and vision. Associated with digestive, urogenital & respiratory issues; excess sleepiness; hot flashes.

Together with yang heel vessel, it balances the lateral and medial surfaces of the body

YIN LINKING VESSEL or YIN WEI MAI

Symptoms of imbalance-weakness & limpness of body together w/ insecurity and mental disturbance. “When the Yin and Yang Wei Mai cannot maintain their respective ties, one feels uncomfortable and loses one’s will. Furthermore, one is flaccid, and cannot support one’s stature” -Nan Jing, Ch. 29

Links all the yin meridians
Uses acupuncture points of main meridians
Located in legs, trunk and head
Promotes internal balance
Together with the Yang Wei Mei, it balances the interior and exterior functions and surfaces of the body
Associated with blood circulation; heart/chest pain; depression; mid and low back pain; abdominal distension and pain.


YANG HEEL VESSEL or YANG QIAO MAI

Yang Heel vessel intersects with other Qi channels that it regulates the Yang channels, such as the urinary bladder, the gall bladder, the small intestine, and the large intestine. The Yang Heel vessel is also connected with the Governing vessel. The Qi filling this vessel is supplied mainly through exercising the legs, which converts the food essence or fat stored in the legs. This Qi is then led upward to nourish the Yang channels. It is believed in Qigong that, since this vessel is also connected with your brain, certain leg exercises can be used to cure headaches. Since a headache is caused by excess Qi in the head, exercising the legs will draw this Qi downward to the leg muscles and relieve the pressure in the head. 


Yang Vessel

Uses acupuncture points of main meridians
Located in feet, lateral side of legs, torso, eyes and brain
Regulates gait and vision. Associated with leg numbness, weakness, and spasm; plus eyes; face; headache and insomnia.

Together with yin heel vessel, it balances the lateral and medial surfaces of the body.

  

The Yangqiao and Yinqiao Meridians

AQiao means heel. Meaning the capacity to raise the foot. Both of these meridians promote motility. (motion). These meridians dominate the opening and closing of the eye lids with both meridians circling the eye to enter the brain. Both meridians have a relationship with sleep with the yangqiao meaning yang Qi. Hyperactive yang Qi leads to restless sleep, eyes open etc. Yinqiao means yin Qi and when the yin Qi becomes hyperactive, it leads to lassitude, closed eyes and somnolence. When both meridians are normal, the body is active, alert with good sleep and good mobility. When these two meridians are in balance, the whole balance between yin and yang Qi in the body is maintained.

YANG LINKING VESSEL or YANG WEI MAI

Links all the yang meridians
Uses acupuncture points of main meridians
Located in legs, trunk and head
Balances outside (external region) of body, and left with right side. Sides of hips, eyes, ears
Associated with the Wei Qi (protective layer)
Role in musculoskeletal and immune systems

Associated with pain or distension in lumbar region; alternating fevers and chills.

 

The Yinwei and Yangwei Meridians

Wei means connection indicating that all the yin meridians connect to the yinwei while the yang meridians connect to the yangwei meridians. The functions of this pair is to connect all the yin and yang meridians together. The yinweimai dominates the internal aspects of the body while the yangweimai dominates the external aspects of the body. When these two meridians are working normally, there is balance between yin and yang in the body. If the Yinweimai is diseased, pain in the heart is the result. If the Yangweimai is diseased, the body is open to invasion of exogenous cold or heat.