What Are Meridians? 什么是经络?

What is the Meridian System?

Chinese medicine understands there is a distribution network for the fundamental substances of Qi , Blood and Body Fluids throughout the body. (These fundamental substances are different from the common western understandings of these terms, and their concepts are important for maintaining health using Chinese medicine.) This distribution network called the Meridian System, looks like a giant web, linking different areas of our body together. Its pathways make up a comprehensive yet complex body map that supplies vital energy to every part of the body. Philosophically, the Meridian System explains how we live, and why we become sick.

Face Meridians

Meridian in Chinese

"Jing luo," the Chinese term for meridian has two interesting concepts which make up the basic structural components of the Meridian System. Jing meridians act as the interior. Those which branch off horizontally are luo meridians. Jing means to pass through or pathway and refers to the vertical channels. Luo means network and refers to the networks that branch off from the vertical channels (Jing). Both Jing and Luo mean link or connection, and they are bound closely together to form the channels. 

acupuncture points

The flow of Qi in the Meridian System concentrates or "injects" in certain areas of the skin's surface. These areas are very small points, otherwise known as "acupuncture points." Meridians are the web or map where we find a collection of acupuncture points. Although acupuncture points are located externally and superficially, they can affect the internal functions of our body. There are at least 365 acupuncture points, and each point belongs to a particular meridian channel that connects to specific organs.

 Gall Bladder Meridian

The Gallbladder Meridian

The Meridian System has 12 principal meridians that correspond to the yin and yang organs and the pericardium. Meridians linked with yin organs are known as yin meridians; if they are linked to yang organs, they are known as yang meridians. In addition to the 12 primary meridians, there are eight extra meridians and smaller networks - like the Luo meridians. Among the eight extra meridians, the Governing Vessel (Du Mai) and the Conception Vessel (Ren Mai) are considered the most important channels, because they contain acupuncture points which are independent of the twelve principal meridians.

You can see the rough areas of the meridians below:

Written by Five Seasons TCM
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