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November 24, 2017  |  Login
Meridians
By James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
 

TCM believes that qi (pronounced chee and also spelled "chi") energizes us as individuals, as well as the world around us; it is constantly in motion. Within our bodies, Chinese physicians have identified channels, or meridians, that circulate qi in much the same way that blood is circulated through veins.

But don't go looking for any physical evidence of meridians. These meridians are invisible, yet within TCM, they are the most important elements in a person's health. TCM views meridians, or jing luo, as crucial, because they are responsible for transmitting the essential life force, qi, throughout the body.

Over the centuries, Chinese physicians identified twelve main meridians and supporting channels that branch throughout the body. Each of the main meridians corresponds to a major organ and links organs, muscles, and all the body's many parts.

The Chinese physician relies on these meridians to treat the body. Herbal remedies are processed initially by the stomach, but their essential force is channeled through meridians to reach an affected organ. The energy created there goes on to improve the functions of related organs and to improve your health along the way.

Acupuncturists are trained to play the harmonic nature of the meridians with needles, seeking particular points that will in turn lead to a vital organ. In this way, they play your body much the same way you might use a bow to play the violin, and they seek to tune your system so that it plays the sweetest music. Or you may choose to treat yourself with acupressure, using fingers in place of needles to find the points that lead you to peace and rejuvenation.

Many Westerners have sought to tie the meridians to the body's nervous system, hoping to explain the clear benefits of acupuncture in clinical terms. Unfortunately for the literal minded, Chinese physicians are quick to point out that meridians are charted through areas where the nervous system could not be affected. Even without the link, though, Western acupuncturists have gained widespread acceptance for their treatment measures.

Just as we wouldn't be able to illuminate portions of our home without an electrical system, life itself would be impossible without meridians, according to Chinese philosophy, to channel qi throughout our systems.

 
 
 
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