Thursday, July 14, 2016

Meridians: The Path of the Chi

The human body has been cared for by health practitioners for tens of thousands of years. Paleolithic communities had medicine ladies who knew how to extract aspirin from Willow twigs and digitalis from Foxglove, and made antiseptic poultices. Stories of their medicines and patients have been translated by Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann from prehistoric inscriptions dating to 12,500 BC. Much of the knowledge of these prehistoric caretakers is lost, but some survived and is still in use today. 

Acupuncture was used in China as early as the late Stone Age. Throughout Chinese history both acupuncture theory and practice have steadily evolved, eventually offering treatments for virtually every form of medical condition. The art of acupuncture depends on a thorough understanding of the meridians. The meridian system is a traditional Chinese medicine belief about a path through which the life-energy of Qi flows. Qi is the life-giving force that flows throughout our bodies. In acupuncture treatment a point on the skin is stimulated through pressure, suction, heat, or needle insertion, affecting the circulation of Qi or Chi, which in turn affects related internal organs and systems.

Herbs, sound, minerals, and light have all been explored for their effect on the human body. The energy we feel, or don’t feel, is critical to our health. The Eastern practice of Qigong is based on affecting this life-giving energy as it flows through twelve pathways in our bodies called meridians*. This vast network of interconnected channels links the upper and lower body together, and connects the interior with the surface. Every atom of our body is connected. Every organ connected to every other organ. Everything conscious or unconscious is affected by the energy flowing through these pathways. Each meridian corresponds to an internal organ.

Qigong Grand Master Xi-Hua Xu explains that “Meridians form invisible energy pathways that provide coherence to the human body and allow its structures to communicate among themselves and with the external universe.”

By connecting different parts of our bodies, meridians provide distribution of blood, body fluids, and Qi. The flow of Qi through the meridian system concentrates at very small points on the skin’s surface, known as acupuncture points. There are 365 such points (an interesting link to the universe), and they affect the internal functions of our body.  Meridians also send signals to raise or lower body temperature, indicate that your body needs to release water, signal it to regulate emotion, and affect many other functions. They are fundamental to the homeostatic functions of the body, and help to keep it balanced.

When Qi flows freely through your meridians and your organs work in harmony, your body can remain healthy. When your meridian system functions well, you are well. But they can become clogged or even blocked from many things such as stress, injury, diet, or inactivity. When one or more pathways are blocked it affects the function of the corresponding organ.

Meridians can carry healing energy throughout your entire being. It is this special quality that allows treatments to work using food, herbs, Qigong, acupuncture, acupressure, and most importantly Tai Chi. Martial training develops control of Qi flowing through the body. Proper breathing and balanced movement encourage circulation of both blood and Qi, supporting organ function and developing strength. Over time this benefits well-being, longevity, and ability to work. When done properly, these techniques can stimulate the flow of energy in the meridians, restoring balance and health.

Simply put, a meridian is an ‘energy highway’ in the human body. Conventional anatomy cannot identify these pathways in a physical sense in the way that blood vessels can be seen. There are twelve main meridians (another universal connection), or invisible channels, throughout the body with Qi or energy flows. Each limb is traversed by six channels, three Yin channels on the inside, and three Yang channels on the outside. The meridian system of the human body is a delicate, yet intricate web of interconnecting energy lines. If a person masters an understanding of this meridian system they will know the secrets of the flow of Qi energy in the body. 

* "Meridian" was originally used by French researchers and is the most common translation of the Chinese ching-lo (jingluo), but it is a very imperfect translation. ‘Ching’ means ‘to pass through’, and ‘lo’ means ‘a net’ or ‘to connect.’ 

About Symbologist Michelle Snyder

Michelle is a professor of mythology and symbolism, an author, blogger, artist, and geek. She earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images and folklore, tracing them to their roots. Her artwork has appeared in galleries from MA to CA. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids 

 Fairy Tales: 
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of  Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid
The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book

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