I was at a literary festival the other day – and went, for my own amusement, to a talk by one of the most bigoted ‘experts’ out there. He did his best to trash complementary therapies of all kinds – with sweeping statements on a variety of topics – all very one sided and not backed up by any evidence at all. How nothing out of China, for example, could be trusted. It was apparently all ‘bogus’. All 5,000 years of it. Not one of the 3,000 or more scientific studies that back up the effects of Chinese medicine was in his opinion valid. Really? Not a single one? He didn’t sound a very balanced professor to me. Perhaps in need of a session or two of acupuncture to sort his Ying and Yang….
Inspired by his vehemence, however, I thought I would briefly outline the basics of meridian healing in an attempt to at least get some sort of fact out there.
East, West, which way is best?
Western medicine focuses principally on the state of your physical body, treating the symptoms of disease rather than their underlying causes. Conventional medical tools include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and a vast pharmacopeia of pharmaceutical options. Symptoms are looked at separately, by different specialists, and in general treated separately too.
Eastern medicine looks at you as a whole person, analysing all of your health issues and the overall state of your body systems, looking for strength and weakness. Physical health and well-being is seen as a direct result of balance in these systems and the key to perfect balance is to make sure that your body energy flows smoothly throughout every part of you.
The ancient Chinese developed the concept of the meridian system more than 5,000 years ago, outlining a complex network of invisible (to the human eye) channels through which your life force, or chi, flows. It was only recently that, via the recent advances in scanning technologies, Western medicine could clearly see for the first time that everything the ancients had talked about in their literature for thousands of years was in fact exactly that – fact.
Chinese traditional medicine states that problems with the flow of this energy cause blockages that weaken your immune system, leading to imbalance and eventually, disease. Blockages can be caused by disruption and stress in any area of your life – childhood trauma, nutrition, relationships, emotional events, electromagnetic stress or chemical pollution. They prevent your life force moving as it should, and weaken the areas and organs where the blockage occurs. And their belief is that only when these blockages and stresses are released and your energy system is re-balanced can your body overcome both physical and psychological disease.
What are meridians?
The meridian system is what acupuncturists are working with when they stimulate specific points, with needles or with pressure, to re-balance and re-energise the body. There are 12 major meridians - energy lines that run bilaterally in mirror image on both sides of the body, carrying vital life force to every part of your body. In the same way that arteries carry blood, the meridians carry energy, releasing it into your tissues and ensuring that sufficient energy reaches every organ in your body.
The 12 Main Meridians
The meridians run vertically, the yang meridians from the top downwards on the right side of the body; and the yin meridians run from bottom upwards on the left side.
1 The Lung Meridian – relates to any problems in the chest, lungs, throat and the upper limbs
2 The Large Intestine Meridian – relates to issues with the head, face, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, throat and the upper limbs.
3 The Stomach Meridian - relates to ailments of the head, face, mouth, teeth, throat, stomach, intestines and the lower limbs
4 The Spleen and Pancreas Meridian – relates to problems in the stomach area, in the digestive, urinary and sex organs
5 The Heart Meridian – affects the chest, the heart, the upper limbs and can trigger problems in the sense organs.
6 The Small Intestine Meridian – relates to problems with the head, neck, eyes, ears, throat and the upper limbs; it can also affect your mind and be linked to memory issues, depression and anxiety.
7 The Bladder Meridian - affects the head, neck, eyes, back and the lower limbs
8 The Kidney Meridian – works on problems with the lungs, throat, stomach, intestines, urine and sex organs.
9 The Pericardium Meridian – relates to the chest, heart, stomach, and the upper limbs; also may be linked to problems with the senses.
10 The Triple Heater Meridian – relates to the sides of the head, the ears, throat, and the upper limbs; also fever conditions and mental disorders.
11 The Gall Bladder Meridian – works on problems relating to the sides and top of the head, the eyes, ears, the ribs, the stomach, the top of the mouth, the lower limbs.
12 The Liver Meridian - affects the stomach, urine and sex organs, the lower limbs and various mental disorders.
Miniscule in size but packs a powerful health punch
Each meridian flows through and serves at least one organ or physiological system, from whom that meridian will take its name – Lung meridian, or Liver meridian - and that organ’s function. The function of the kidney meridian is for instance, like the function of the kidneys themselves, purification, flushing and filtering the body’s energy, leaving it clear and vital.
The width of a meridian is about the same size as the diameter of a single cell and yet together they affect every organ and every physiological system in the human body, including your immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular and lymphatic systems. They flood you with vitality and energy, adjusting your metabolism and determining the speed and form of cellular change at every level.
Along the routes of these meridian channels are approximately 400 different named points, used by therapists to stimulate and unblock the life force flow, each one relating to a specific function in the body.
If you have a specific ailment, consider which meridian might be being affected and visit a therapist to rebalance it. Where your meridian energy is disrupted, you are more than likely to find corresponding health problems. Acupuncture, Kinesiology and EFT all use the meridian system to access the invisible energy field that surrounds your body to heal whatever is going on and are my go-to solutions for most issues. Try one and see.
You will usually sort the problem in a session or two. I think you will be impressed.
Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health.
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