By connecting and uniting different parts of our body, the meridians provide the transport service for the fundamental substances of energy, blood and body fluids.
The system of medicine in China has gradually evolved over a period of more than 5000 years, whereas that of the west as we know it today is no more than about 200 years old.
Difference between Western and Chinese Medicine
The major difference between Chinese and Western medicine is that the Chinese treats the patient as a whole rather than a single symptom or a disease. The Chinese assume that the body is a whole, each part of it is intimately connected and each organ has a mental as well as a physical function.
Chinese medicine is based on the Energy Meridian System used by the acupuncturist. It works by adjusting the flow of vital energy in these meridians and thus in the entire body. By increasing energy where it is too low or modifying energy where it is hyperactive, balance is restored.
Yin and Yang
Ying and Yang must be in balance.
An ancient Chinese concept, Yin and Yang Theory explains all phenomena in terms of two opposites:
YIN represents the female, negative, darkness, softness, moisture, night-time.
YANG represents the male, positive, brightness, hardness, dryness, day-time. Yin and Yang are continually in the state of flux and always looking for the BALANCE point. One moves, the other responds.
All functions of our body can be categorized into YIN and YANG:
When we inhale and extend our chest to fill our lungs, we are in the Yang phase.
When we exhale and empty our lungs we are in the Yin phase.
Food taken into the body is considered Yin compared to the Yang metabolic activity of transforming it into essence and energy.
The HOLLOW organs (Stomach, Large Intestine, Gallbladder, Bladder and Small Intestine), that perform the task of digestion and elimination, are considered YANG.
The SOLID organs that perform a storage function are considered YIN (Spleen, Lungs, Liver, Kidneys and Heart).
If YIN and YANG are properly balanced in the body we experience a state of well-being. In the course of the day the balance has to be constantly achieved by nurturing the Yin and expanding the Yang:
Through excessive work, excessive exercise, partying or other Yang activities, the Yin is depleted in the body, resulting in muscle, joint, bone, heart or kidney problems.
Other symptoms of Yin depletion are difficulties in falling asleep, hot palms and hot soles, or heat sensation in the face, especially in the afternoon.
Over focusing on nurturing Yin by sitting quietly, resting, reading for long periods of time without expanding Yang energy through exercise, can cause Yang lifelessness i.e. lethargy and muscle weakness.
Chinese philosophy regards the human organism as a miniature version of the universe.
Life processes are connected with the interplay of five creative elements of nature through the principle of Yin and Yang doctrine.
In nature as well as in the human body, there is a constant interaction between opposing and unifying forces – Yin and Yang.
Harmony in balancing of the two opposing forces is accomplished by a dynamic equilibrium in the whole organism. This harmony is acquired by obeying the law, by fitting man into the totality of nature.
The concept of Five Elements is an outcome of Yin and Yang interactions.
The Chinese believe that all things in nature, including human beings, are composed of five basic elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
Chinese medicine is based upon the belief that the body is divided into five Organ Networks, with each one corresponding to one element.
When all these five elements are working in harmony, illness can be prevented and health restored.
ELEMENT in Chinese also means MOVEMENT, CHANGEABLE and DEVELOPMENT. These elements have their YIN and YANG sides too. They are moving, waning, waxing and changing all the time. Just like Yin and Yang, the movements of the Five Elements are slow and stable when they are in balance. If they are out of balance the movements are unstable and unpredictable.
By balancing the five elements in the body, a state of balance of vital energies occurs which promotes a state of optimal health. In this way many of the negative influences of modern life can be overcome along with many of the symptoms of ill health often caused by aging.
These five elements, together with Yin and Yang, encompass all the phenomena of nature and interact in two cycles – the positive (generative life cycle) and the negative (suppressive death cycle).
Energy flows through the body via the meridians and their respective viscera in the productive (life) and controlling (death) cycles as interactions between the Five Elements. There are four directions, ascending and descending for transformation, entering and leaving for development. The original energy from the parents is stored in the Kidneys. The nutritional energy from nutrients is stored in the food. Atmospheric energy is extracted from the air by the Lungs.
The Main Meridians are:
1 The Lung Meridian
It influences ailments of the chest, lungs, throat and the upper limbs; also fever conditions.
2 The Large Intestine Meridian
It influences ailments of the head, face, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, throat and the upper limbs; also fever conditions.
3 The Stomach Meridian
It influences ailments of the head, face, mouth, teeth, throat, stomach, intestines and the lower limbs; also fever conditions and disruption in cooperation between senses.
4 The Spleen and Pancreas Meridian
It influences ailments of the stomach region, in digestive organs, urine and sex organs and the lower limbs; also conditions of low temperature.
5 The Heart Meridian
It influences ailments of the chest, heart, the upper limbs and disruption in cooperation between senses.
6 The Small Intestine Meridian
It influences ailments of the head, neck, eyes, ears, throat and the upper limbs; also fever conditions and mental disorders.
7 The Bladder Meridian
It influences ailments of the head, neck, eyes, back and the lower limbs, of the body bottom; also fever conditions and mental disorders.
8 The Kidney Meridian
It influences ailments of the lungs, throat, stomach, intestines, urine and sex organs, of the lower limbs; also fever conditions
9 The Pericardium Meridian
It influences ailments of the chest, heart, stomach, of the upper limbs; also disruption in cooperation between senses.
10 The Triple Heater Meridian
It influences ailments of the head sides, of the ears, throat, of the upper limbs; also fever conditions and mental disorders.
11 The Gall Bladder Meridian
It influences ailments of sides and top of the head, of the eyes, ears, of the rib area, of the stomach, mouth top area, of the lower limbs; also fever conditions.
12 The Liver Meridian
It influences ailments of the stomach, urine and sex organs, of the lower limbs; also mental disorders.
Healing Guide Diagram:
Healing Guide Examples: