Understanding the Meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine

by Dawn Moeller, LAc

The meridian system is an intricate web of interconnecting energy lines. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine there are 12 regular meridians and 8 extraordinary vessels. A meridian is a channel or pathway that runs along the body. We have a vital life force called Qi (pronounced “chee”), that flows through these meridians along with our blood. Acupuncture points are located along these meridians. The extraordinary vessels are where the Qi and blood are stored for the twelve meridians.

When the Qi and blood are not flowing freely, it is described as stagnation. This in turn translates to pain and imbalances throughout our bodies. There are many factors that can cause our Qi and blood not to flow properly; physical injuries (sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents), emotional imbalances (anxiety, depression, anger, irritability), processed foods, and caffeine are just a few of the major culprits.

Acupuncture can help restore balance through these meridians. After completing a thorough intake, your acupuncturist will determine which channels and meridians need be addressed and then determine which acupuncture points are needed to help get the Qi and blood flowing again to reduce any pain or imbalances.

  • The 12 meridians are:
  • Lung
  • Large Intestine
  • Spleen
  • Stomach
  • Heart
  • Small Intestine
  • Kidney
  • Bladder
  • Pericardium
  • Triple Burner
  • Conception Vessel
  • Governing Vessel

The 8 extraordinary vessels:

  • Yin Wei Mai/ Chong Mai
  • Yang Wei Mai/ Dai Mai
  • Yin Qiao Mai/ Ren Mai
  • Yang Qiao Mai/ Du Mai