What are meridians? Meridians are pathways that connect the surface of the body with organs, glands, and other areas in the body. The word “meridian” can be used to mean an energy pathway in either Eastern or Western medicine. Meridian comes from the Latin word, “meridies” which means midday or south. In the West, a meridian is a pathway that connects the body to the spine. In the East, a meridian is a pathway that connects the body with various organs and glands.
The Chinese call their meridians “Qi/Chi” (pronounced “chee”) lines. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are 360 different meridians, starting from the soles of your feet up to your head. The meridians represent key energies or life-force in our bodies and in traditional Chinese medicine these energy pathways play an important role in health and disease. The Chinese used meridians as a diagnosis tool. They would apply pressure to specific points on the body and then observe how the person would react. If they reacted in a certain way, then that was seen as an indication that there was some blockage in that meridian.
In the West, the term “meridian” is used to describe a continuous line or series of lines in the body that connect all organs and glands with each other and with the spine. These lines are also sometimes called “passes” or “channels”. Western medical professionals believe that the meridian system is responsible for the flow of energy, information, and nutrients throughout our bodies. They also believe that using meridian techniques to treat patients may improve their health and cure them of diseases.
Meridians are invisible lines of energy. When you touch a person, you can feel the invisible meridian lines on their body. There are specific points on these meridian lines that correspond to different organs and glands in the body; we call these points “energy acupressure” and they can be worked on to help rebalance and strengthen the energy pathways of the body. The meridian point evaluation system originated in China 5,000 years ago and is still used today in Chinese medicine. Acupuncturists use this system to determine which meridian points need to be treated during an acupuncture session.
Some practitioners will only treat the meridian points that are referenced in the traditional Chinese medicine classics and textbooks of Chinese medicine. Other practitioners will use an acupuncture treatment or a combination of acupuncture and acupressure, to treat the meridian points of their patients. Acupuncturists also use other methods such as Magneto-Acupuncture (which uses magnets to stimulate the meridians) and Gua Sha (which uses jade needles to activate certain sections of an acupuncture point.)
In addition, many acupuncturists incorporate massage into their practice as they consider both massage and acupuncture to be complementary therapies that can help rebalance a patient’s energy system.
Meridians are not the only things that acupuncturists can feel with their fingers. Acupuncturists can also feel the patient’s “Qi”, which is the invisible energy that circulates in our bodies; they can feel areas of tenderness, stiffness, heat, cold, and smooth movement along the body (called “Guiding Vessels” or “Channels”). Acupuncturists can also feel if there are areas of tension in groups of muscles (called “Myofascial Spots”) and they can feel if there is pain or tenderness in a certain area.
In Chinese medicine, the meridian system is used to guide a form of treatment known as acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of treatment that uses the stimulation of specific points on the body to restore health and balance. Acupuncture is used extensively throughout the world to manage pain, including the pain associated with cancer, arthritis, back problems, headaches, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, neck pain, and other conditions. In Chinese medicine, different points on the body will affect different organs and glands in your body, so knowing how to work with the meridian system can help you figure out what is causing an imbalance or disease state in your patient. You can then use this information as a way to help restore balance and healing in your patient’s body. In Chinese medicine, there are also several other forms of treatment such as herbal medicine, moxibustion, cupping therapy, dietary advice, and qi gong.
Acupuncturists use both acupuncture and acupressure in their practices. Acupuncture is a form of treatment that uses needles to stimulate and rebalance the energy and life force (called Qi) in your patient’s body. Many acupuncturists use needles that are made from stainless steel. Acupuncture is sometimes used with other forms of treatment such as moxibustion or cupping therapy, but it is also the only form of treatment that must be used alone. Many acupuncturists are licensed massage therapists or receive additional training in providing massage to their patients.
Acupressure is a form of healing practice that uses pressure on certain parts of the body to promote health, well-being, healing, or rebalancing in your patient’s body. Acupressure can be used to treat both acute and chronic conditions in your patients. Acupoints are the trigger points on your patient’s body that you use in acupressure. They are located on specific meridian lines, but they are not always in the same place on every meridian line. This is why you have to evaluate each meridian point before doing acupressure, otherwise, you could cause more harm than benefit for your patient.
Acupoints are spots on the body that are either tender when touched or sensitive when stimulated with acupuncture or acupressure needles. Acupressure allows you to elicit a healing response in your patient without the need for needles. Acupressure helps to reduce the sympathetic nervous tone (called “Chronic pain”) in your patient by applying pressure or holding pressure when necessary.
In conclusion, meridians are important in Chinese medicine, but they are just one point of view about the body. There is no one approach or treatment in Chinese medicine; there are many ways to treat and heal your patient and balance and restore proper functioning in their body. The concepts of Qi, Yin, and Yang, Wei Qi, and Zang Fu organs, in particular, are key components in both TCM diagnosis and prescription of herbal therapy. Zang Fu is related to collaterals. Zang Fu governs the meridians according to the zàng fǔ pái system.