TCM Let’s Find Out – What are meridians?

In TCM, meridians are strings connecting acupuncture points and act as passageways for energy to flow throughout our bodies. There are 12 primary meridians and 8 extraordinary meridians in our bodies. The primary meridians are connected to different organs like heart and lungs while the extraordinary meridians are known as the “reserved meridians” that help to strengthen the body as a whole. 

Fun fact! Migraines happen when our liver meridian is blocked. The liver meridian is closely related to our emotions so when we experience stress, our liver meridian is affected and causes migraines 💆‍♀️ Healthy meridians are needed for us to feel energised and stress-free at work. 

According to TCM theory, there are 12 primary meridians in the body, each corresponding to a specific organ or physiological system. These meridians are bilateral, meaning they exist on both sides of the body, and form a network that connects the body’s internal organs, tissues, and structures.

The 12 primary meridians are:

  1. Lung Meridian (Hand Taiyin)
  2. Large Intestine Meridian (Hand Yangming)
  3. Stomach Meridian (Foot Yangming)
  4. Spleen Meridian (Foot Taiyin)
  5. Heart Meridian (Hand Shaoyin)
  6. Small Intestine Meridian (Hand Taiyang)
  7. Bladder Meridian (Foot Taiyang)
  8. Kidney Meridian (Foot Shaoyin)
  9. Pericardium Meridian (Hand Jueyin)
  10. Triple Burner Meridian (Hand Shaoyang)
  11. Gallbladder Meridian (Foot Shaoyang)
  12. Liver Meridian (Foot Jueyin)

The 8 extraordinary meridians are:

  1. Conception Vessel (Ren Mai)
  2. Governing Vessel (Du Mai) 
  3. Penetrating Vessel (Chong Mai)
  4. Girdle Vessel (Dai Mai)
  5. Yin Linking Vessel (Yin Wei Mai)
  6. Yang Linking Vessel (Yang Wei Mai)
  7. Yin Motility Vessel (Yin Qiao Mai)
  8. Yang Motility Vessel (Yang Qiao Mai)

Balanced functioning of the body’s meridians can contribute to an overall sense of vitality and well-being. This, in turn, may indirectly support physical strength by enhancing the body’s capacity to engage in day-to-day activities.

By addressing any blockages, imbalances, or deficiencies in the extraordinary meridians, TCM practitioners aim to restore the proper flow of Qi, which can have a positive impact on various aspects of health. This includes promoting better energy circulation, supporting organ function, improving emotional well-being, and enhancing the body’s ability to heal and adapt.

Healthy meridians play a crucial role in maintaining the smooth and balanced flow of Qi throughout the body, which is believed to contribute to overall well-being and optimal functioning. When the meridians are in good health, the uninterrupted flow of Qi supports the body’s various systems, organs, and tissues, promoting physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

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