Basically, meridians are a circulatory system of energy, much like the circulatory system of blood.

The difference is that instead of blood, meridians allow the flow of a vital energy called QI (pronounced ‘chee’).

It is at once simple and very complex. There are a number of concepts connected to the whole system, and we’re going to dive into what it all means.

For example, to describe the direction of the flow of energy, the Meridian System incorporates the Yin and Yang duality. The Yin energy radiates outward, while the Yang energy returns to the core.

The Meridian System also follows the Five Elements theory, in which different qualities, both physical and symbolic, are grouped within five categories. This theory separates the organs into “hollow” and “solid” categories. The hollow organs are the stomach, bladder, gallbladder, and the large and small intestines. The solid organs are the heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, and lungs. Each element has a range of qualities that are used to diagnose disease and dysfunction

Evidence shows it can help relieve discomfort and is used for a wide range of other conditions. (R)

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It remains uncertain how scientifically the acupuncture functions. Many people believe that it works by balancing vital energy while others say that it has a neurological effect.

Acupuncture appears to be controversial among Western doctors and scientists.

What Is Acupuncture?

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an art of healing which may have originated in ancient China. Records documenting the practice date back to the first century BCE. Although others suggest that historical evidence points to a much earlier origin: as early as 8,000 years ago.

Acupuncture medical theory relies on the Qi-energy principle (pronounced “chee”). Qi is said to pass through the energy pathways of the body which are known as meridians. Meridians refer to other organs or classes of organs. Unlike Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine suggests that the disease is caused by an imbalance in the distribution of this energy through the meridians.

In an attempt to unblock or otherwise guide the energy flow, acupuncturists shallowly inject very thin needles in the skin tissue to particular locations. Such points are known as acupoints. There are various ways to count the acupoints but most systems list between 350-400 points such points. Medical acupuncture, among other therapies, is also used for pain relief, and is now provided by many insurance policies.

I want to help you make the best possible decisions about yourself and your family’s health. To that end, read on to find out how acupuncture is meant to work, seek relief from common illnesses acupuncturists, and much more.

Why Acupuncture Works So Well?

Why Acupuncture Works So Well

Acupuncture is no longer an uncommon experiment for the millions of people who live with pain. It’s widely known and accepted within the scientific community now. And it is also pretty common among patients. A new study showed about 3.5 million Americans in the previous year claimed they had acupuncture.

“In our clinic, we have been in existence for like 22 years,” says Ka-Kit Hui, MD, founder and director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. 

Acupuncture in which needles, fire, pressure, and other treatments are applied to certain areas on the skin has come a long way from 1971.

1996 is the year FDA gave acupuncture the first US stamp of approval to acupuncture needles as medical devices. Study after study 20 years after that shows that acupuncture can work, indeed.

“There’s nothing magical about acupuncture,” Hui says. “Many of these [alternative] techniques, including acupuncture, they all work by activating the body’s own self-healing [mechanism].”

And that’s the main goal of acupuncture: self-healing.

“Our bodies can do it,” says Paul Magarelli, MD, a clinical professor at California’s Yo San University. “We are not animals who are dependent on drugs.”

Is there any science behind acupuncture ?

It’s not completely understood how acupuncture works. But, there are a few ways by which acupuncture is thought to work for back pain:

  • Stimulates nervous system. Trigger points stimulated by acupuncture could release chemicals from the spinal cord, muscles, and brain. Some of these could be naturally pain-relieving.
  • Releases opioid-like chemicals produced in the body. Along the same lines as the theory above, acupuncture may release pain-relieving chemicals. These naturally occur in the body and have similar properties to opioid pain relievers. (Hydrocodone or morphine are examples.)
  • Releases neurotransmitters. These are hormones that send messages regulating the on/off mechanisms of various nerve endings. Acupuncture may stimulate some that shut off pain.
  • Triggers electromagnetic impulses in the body. These impulses can help speed the body’s way of handling pain, including the release of endorphins.

Regardless of how it works, trials on acupuncture improves back pain and lower back functions to have very great results with very little risk of side effects.

Some 2012 researchTrusted Source involved reviewing almost 20,000 people with chronic pain. They were given authentic acupuncture treatments, fake treatments, or no acupuncture at all. Those who received real acupuncture experienced 50 percent improvement in their chronic pain issues.

Uses of Acupuncture

Researchers who compared various reports concluded

Lower Back Pain

The lower back is where one of the most frequent causes of chronic pain is felt. or several, Lower Back Pain (LBP) treatment involves, physical therapy, medications or surgery in the worst cases. The data collected from several clinical trials investigating conventional LBP needling is contradictory.

The different findings of 16 studies may rely on whether the patient suffers from acute or chronic LBP. “Acute” refers to pain that comes and goes, and stops after an injury has healed, while “chronic” refers to constant pain that does not go away after an injury has healed. Researchers who compared the different reports concluded that acupuncture improves back pain and lower back function. However, patients with acute LBP replied around the same, whether their acupuncture treatment was done correctly or deliberately for testing purposes inaccurately. (R)

Tension and Migraine Headaches

Headaches for many people are a common frustration. Some research indicates that careful needlework can provide reliable, temporary relief for headaches with chronic tension. Studies have found when it comes to migraine headaches, that needle treatments can be effective in treating these disorders even if they are not put in the proper acupoints, and also display a potentially stronger effect than traditional drug treatment with fewer side effects. (R)

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a common form of chronic pain that causes discomfort and tenderness in the body. In women, it occurs about four times as much as in men. At least 20 percent of fibromyalgia patients will seek needling as a cure for their condition. Does it work?

One recent study analyzed nine trials to attempt to address the question. The researchers also concluded that proof of the efficacy of needling is low to moderate in the treatment of fibromyalgia pain and stiffness. This also concluded that the procedure is secure and that greater research on the basis of the available evidence is needed.

Improving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) often feel discomfort and numbness in their index finger and middle finger. The disease also weakens the wrist. CTS is caused by a pinched nerve of the hand.

So, is acupuncture going to strengthen the CTS? According to the US National Institute of Health, research remains inconclusive. The NIH found that certain people benefit from the need, but the exact efficacy is not scientifically proven.

 

Relief from Nausea

Evidence for acupuncture treatment for nausea was mixed. The American College of Chest Physicians has concluded that acupuncture trials for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting have been poorly controlled and thus do not recommend their use.

Nonetheless, the effects of these treatments have been identified as “promising” by the US National Institute of Health. Nonetheless, no reports have demonstrated continuing nausea relief for delayed nausea occurring within 1-8 days of chemotherapy. (R)

 

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Does Acupuncture Hurt

You may experience a slight sting, itch, ache, or discomfort when the acupuncture needle is inserted. Some acupuncturists control the acupuncture needle after it has been inserted in the body by twirling or spinning the needle, moving it up and down, or using a slight electrical pulse or current machine.

Some acupuncturists find the accompanying tingling, numbness, extreme pain, or ache (known as de qi) to be helpful in achieving a therapeutic effect.

If you experience pain, numbness, or irritation during care, you should alert your acupuncturist immediately.

Meridians in Acupuncture

Meridians are invisible pathways or channels, as mentioned of energy which run through the body. Our essential life energy, or “qi,” is thought to flow through these meridians and it is said that anything that interferes with the smooth flow of chi causes illness. The Chinese term for meridian is “jing luo.

Many of the acupuncture and acupressure points lie on a meridian and are thought to help correct and rebalance the flow of energy by using acupuncture needles, acupressure, moxibustion, or tuina. The meridian network contains over 300 acupuncture points.

Meridian Pathways

There are twelve great meridians flowing on each side of the body, one side mirroring the other. Each meridian matches an internal organ. And each organ, with its own physiological and invisible energy functions, relies not only on the other organ systems but also on the wider network of meridians.

The Liver Meridian ( LI )

The Liver Meridian is a yin meridian combined with the Gallbladder meridian.

It is responsible for the filtration, detoxification, nourishment, replenishment and preservation of blood.

It controls the amount of blood flowing, removing, storing while resting or sleeping and releasing it during exercise.

This connects with the lower abdomen to the conception vessel and joins both the liver and gallbladder farther up.

One meridian branch circles the mouth, and another branch enters the lungs from inside the liver, which then restarts the Qi process (Chi)

The Liver Meridian starts inside the big toenail, crosses the foot top, passes in front of the ankle inside and up the leg’s inner part.

It goes upwards, crosses the hip, proceeds to the groin and pubic area along the inner thigh, where it circulates the external genitals.

The meridian then dives into the rib cage, runs up through the throat, opening to the eye, and finishes at the head’s crown where it interacts with the vessel in charge.

Element: Wood
Direction: East
Season: Spring
Climate: Windy
Cultivation: Germinate
Sense Organ: Eyes
Sense: Sight
Tissue: Tendons
Positive Emotion: Kindness
Negative Emotion: Anger
Flavor: Sour
Color: Deep Green
Sound: Shouting
Smell: Scorched
Time: 1 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Opposite: Small Intestine
Yin/Yang: Yin
Flow Direction: Up
Origin/Ending: Foot to Chest
Number of Acupoints: 14

The Gallbladder Meridian ( GB )

The Gallbladder Meridian is most active between 11 p.m. And on 1 a.m. The liver meridian is most active between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. About 1 am the liver meridian is most active. And 3:00 a.m.  Consistently waking during these hours is an sign of out of balance between the gallbladder or the liver.

Among other things, this Meridian’s Qi (energy flow) is responsible for decision-making and good judgments, as well as for providing courage and initiative.

Physical imbalances: sleeplessness-waking up unexpectedly, very early in the morning and unable to fall asleep again, tendons, hair, fingers, eye disorders, glaucoma and night blindness, stiff neck, ringing in the ears, dizziness.

This meridian starts just outside the eye’s outer corner, moves down to the ear and then back to the front just above the hair line, then down to the skull’s corner behind the ear.

It then returns to the forehead above the eye core, and travels down the head to the skull’s edge.

It goes down to the shoulder down the spine, down the body’s side along the ribs, down to the waist and pelvic. It continues down to the ankle on the outside of the hip, stopping at the outside of the 4th foot.

Element: Wood
Direction: East
Season: Spring
Climate: Windy
Cultivation: Germinate
Sense Organ: Eyes
Sense: Sight
Tissue: Tendons
Positive Emotion: Kindness
Negative Emotion: Anger
Flavor: Sour
Color: Yellow Green
Sound: Shouting
Smell: Scorched
Time: 11 p.m. -1 a.m.
Opposite: Heart
Yin/Yang: Yang
Flow Direction: Down
Origin/Ending: Face to Foot
Number of Acupoints: 44

The Triple Warmer Meridian ( TW )

The Triple Warmer Meridian (also known as Sanjiao / Triple Burner / Heater / Energizer) is a yang meridian and is combined with the Meridian Pericardium.

The Triple Warmer Meridian starts from the tip of the ring finger, moves on to the wrist from the outside corner of the thumb, between the fourth and fifth knuckles.

Through here it ascends to the shoulder between the two forearm bones (radius and ulna), through the tip of the elbow, and up the back of the arm.

To communicate with the pericardium, upper burner, abdomen and middle and lower burners it moves forward into the chest. Re-emerging at the collarbone from the throat, the meridian ascends to the neck side and across the back of the head.

This meridian is responsible for the movement and transformation within the system of different solids and fluids, as well as for the development and distribution of nourishing and protective energy.

It is a functional energy system that controls the operation of other organs, consisting of three parts, known as’ burners,’ located in thorax, abdomen, and pelvis.

The triple-warmer’s meridian begins at the tip of the ring finger. It runs up the back of the arm and crosses the trapezius, ending at the collarbone.

Element: Fire
Direction: South
Season: Summer
Climate: Heat
Cultivation: Growth
Sense Organ: Tongue
Sense: Touch
Tissue: Vessels
Positive Emotion: Joy
Negative Emotion: Arrogance
Flavor: Bitter
Color: Orange Red
Sound: Laughter
Smell: Scorched
Time: 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Opposite: Spleen
Yin/Yang: Yang
Flow Direction: Down
Origin/Ending: Hand to Face
Number of Acupoints: 23

The Pericardium Meridian ( PC )

This meridian starts at the pericardium, in the middle of the chest. A branch descends to the higher, middle, and lower burners internally via the diaphragm-the Triple Warmer.

A branch of the main channel crosses the chest from the starting point, to emerge just outside the nipple.

It then ascends around the front of the armpit on the surface and flows down the arm, through the muscle of biceps.

This moves only to the inside of the biceps tendon at the elbow crease, then down to the center of the forearm neck, between the channels of the heart and the lung to the wrist.

The pericardium provides physical protection for the heart, its strength also protects the heart from harm and destruction caused by excessive emotional energies produced by the other organs, such as liver rage, fear from the kidneys, and lung grief.

Severe or long-lasting Seven Emotions outbursts interrupt the energy balance, which may be a cause of disease. Without the pericardium to shield it, the heart will experience harm from the powerful changes in energy induced by the day’s emotional ups and downs.

Pericardium begins in the middle of the chest and descends to the diaphragm. It also branches out from the chest and runs along the interior of the arm, ending at the tip of the middle fingernail.

Element: Fire
Direction: South
Season: Summer
Climate: Heat
Cultivation: Growth
Sense Organ: Tongue
Sense: Touch
Tissue: Vessels
Positive Emotion: Joy
Negative Emotion: Arrogance
Flavor: Bitter
Color: Purple Red
Sound: Laughter
Smell: Scorched
Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Opposite: Stomach
Yin/Yang: Yin
Flow Direction: Up
Origin/Ending: Chest to Hand
Number of Acupoints: 9

The Kidney Meridian ( KI )

The kidney meridian is a Yin meridian (flows upward), regulating bone development and growth, and nourishing the marrow, which is the source of red and white blood cells in the body. It is paired with the Yang Bladder meridians

Consequently, a damaged kidney is a prime cause of anemia and immune deficiency.

Spinal cord and brain are forms of marrow in traditional Chinese medicine, and thus poor memory, inability to think clearly, and backache are all seen as signs of impaired kidney function and inadequate kidney capacity.

The vitality of the Kidney meridian is externally reflected by the state of head and body hair, and is correlated with the ears ‘ entry point.

And tinnitus (ringing ears) is a symptom of dysfunction in the kidneys.

The kidneys are the center of bravery and determination, and any kidney meridian disorder results in terror and anxiety.

The kidneys is responsible for collecting and transferring waste metabolites from the blood to the bladder for urinary excretion.

The kidneys, along with the large intestine, regulate the fluid balance within the body.

Additionally, they control the acid-alkaline balance (pH) of the body by selectively filtering out different minerals or retaining them.

The kidney meridian starts at the sole of the foot and runs along the inner edge before looping around the ankle. It ascends the inner leg and runs up the central torso before ending at the inner collarbone.

Element: Water
Direction: North
Season: Winter
Climate: Cold
Cultivation: Hibernate
Sense Organ: Ears
Sense: Hearing
Tissue: Bones
Positive Emotion: Gentleness
Negative Emotion: Fear
Flavor: Salty
Color: Black
Sound: Groaning
Smell: Putrid
Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Opposite: Large Intestine
Yin/Yang: Yin
Flow Direction: Up
Origin/Ending: Foot to Chest
Number of Acupoints: 27

The Small Intestine Meridian ( SI )

The small intestine meridian is a Yang meridian, which is paired with the heart Yin meridian.

It absorbs and transforms food by separating the Pure from the Impure, with the Pure becoming body fluids and the Impure becoming urine-this process also functions on the physical, mental and spiritual levels.

The meridian is responsible for digestion, water absorption, bowel functions and nutrient absorption.

Starting at the tip of the little finger, the small intestine meridian runs up the lower back of the arm. It zig-zags at the back of the shoulder before ascending up the side of the neck. At the cheek it moves outward ending at the front of the ear.

Element: Fire
Direction: South
Season: Summer
Climate: Heat
Cultivation: Growth
Sense Organ: Tongue
Sense: Touch
Tissue: Vessels
Positive Emotion: Joy
Negative Emotion: Arrogance
Flavor: Bitter
Color: Pink Red
Sound: Laughter
Smell: Scorched
Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Opposite: Liver
Yin/Yang: Yang
Flow Direction: Down
Origin/Ending: Hand to Face
Number of Acupoints: 19

The Spleen Meridian ( SP )

This meridian is a Yin meridian and is paired with the Yang stomach meridian. The meridian spleen begins at the tip of the big toe.

From there it runs in the junction of red and white skin along the medial part of the foot.

This moves through the diaphragm, up the inner leg, through the abdomen, the stomach. It connects with the stomach and heart meridians.

Direction: Center
Season: Late Summer
Climate: Damp
Cultivation: Transforming
Sense Organ: Mouth
Sense: Taste
Tissue: Muscles
Positive Emotion: Compassion
Negative Emotion: Anxiety
Flavor: Sweet
Color: Yellow
Sound: Singing
Smell: Fragrant
Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Opposite: Triple Warmer
Yin/Yang: Yin
Flow Direction: Up
Origin/Ending: Foot to Chest
Number of Acupoints: 21

The Stomach Meridian ( ST )

The stomach meridian is a Yang meridian, which is paired with the Spleen Yin meridian.

It works with Spleen Meridian through digestion and absorption in the assimilation of Qi from food.

The stomach meridian begins under the eye, next to the nose. It descends before following the jawline up to the skull. It then drops and flows down the throat, chest, and abdomen. Continuing, it runs down the front of the legs and feet before ending at the big toe’s outside edge.

Element: Earth
Direction: Center
Season: Late Summer
Climate: Damp
Cultivation: Transforming
Sense Organ: Mouth
Sense: Taste
Tissue: Muscles
Positive Emotion: Compassion
Negative Emotion: Anxiety
Flavor: Sweet
Color: Yellow
Sound: Singing
Smell: Fragrant
Time: 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Opposite: Pericardium
Yin/Yang: Yang
Flow Direction: Down
Origin/Ending: Face to Foot
Number of Acupoints: 45

The Heart Meridian ( H )

The heart meridian is a Yin meridian and is paired with the Yang Small Intestine meridian.

This shows itself in the eyes through the light, regulates Fire and Heat, rules the blood and its vessels, and directs circulation.

This originates from the nucleus, emerges and spreads through the cardiac system, passes through the diaphragm to communicate with the small intestine.

It rules blood, tongue, throat, sweat, facial teint, adrenals, thyroid, prostate, and hypophyseal gland.

It opens up into the tongue and control speech.

The heart meridian begins near the armpit and runs down the lower inner arm before ending at the tip of the little finger.

Element: Fire
Direction: South
Season: Summer
Climate: Heat
Cultivation: Growth
Sense Organ: Tongue
Sense: Touch
Tissue: Vessels
Positive Emotion: Joy
Negative Emotion: Arrogance
Flavor: Bitter
Color: Red
Sound: Laughter
Smell: Scorched
Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Opposite: Gall Bladder
Yin/Yang: Yin
Flow Direction: Up
Origin/Ending: Chest to Hand
Number of Acupoints: 9

The Lung Meridian ( LU )

The Lung Meridian is a Yin meridian which regulates energy which breath. It is paired with the Yang Large Intestines Meridian.

This helps with the blood circulation along with the Heart Meridian. Hence breathing forms a bridge between mind and body.

This meridian begins deep in the area of the solar plexus (middle burner), and goes down to touch the large intestine.

Winding through the heart, it bursts through the diaphragm, splits, and enters the lungs.

It then re-unites, crosses the windpipe core to the throat and separates again, surfacing in the hollow area near the shoulder front(LU-1).

From here it moves over the shoulder and down the forehead of the arm along the biceps muscle’s outer edge.

It continues down the forearm to the wrist just above the thumb base (LU-9). The channel traverses the thumb muscle height to end at the thumbnail corner.

The lung meridian begins at the front of the shoulder. It notches up before running down the top of the inner arm and ending at the corner of the thumbnail.

Element: Metal
Direction: West
Season: Autumn
Climate: Dry
Cultivation: Reaping
Sense Organ: Nose
Sense: Smell
Tissue: Skin and Hair
Positive Emotion: Courage
Negative Emotion: Grief
Flavor: Pungent (Umami)
Color: White
Sound: Crying
Smell: Rotten
Time: 3 a.m. – 5 a.m.
Opposite: Bladder
Yin/Yang: Yin
Flow Direction: Up
Origin/Ending: Chest to Hand
Number of Acupoints: 11

The Bladder Meridian ( BL )

The Bladder Meridian is a Yang meridian and is paired with the Yin Kidney Meridian. The longest and most complex meridian is the meridian.

It starts at the inner eyelid portion and passes through the front of the head to the back of the head.

The bladder meridian then forms two branches, passing along the spine down the back to the sacrum. This then runs to the bottom of the butt, and then to the back of the leg.

The two branches then cross behind the hip, and move to the outside of the foot between the calf along the Achilles tendon.

The bladder meridian begins at the inner eye and runs up the skull where is works outwards before running down the back. The meridian then follows the hip and sacral nerves before running down the back of the leg and ends outside of the baby toe.

Element: Water
Direction: North
Season: Winter
Climate: Cold
Cultivation: Hibernate
Sense Organ: Ears
Sense: Hearing
Tissue: Bones
Positive Emotion: Gentleness
Negative Emotion: Fear
Flavor: Salty
Color: Deep Black
Sound: Groaning
Smell: Putrid
Time: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Opposite: Lung
Yin/Yang: Yang
Flow Direction: Down
Origin/Ending: Face to Foot
Number of Acupoints: 67

The Large Intestine Meridian ( LI )

The Large Intestine Meridian is a meridian of yang and is paired with the yin Lung Meridian.

This manages the transition of digestive waste from liquid to solid, and moves the solids outward through the rectum for excretion.

This plays a major role in body fluid equilibrium and purity, and helps the lungs regulate pores and suddenness of the skin.

This meridian starts at the index fingernail’s exterior corner.

It runs along the bottom of the finger, between the two thumb tendons at the wrist joint, and travel up to the elbow along the outer edge of the arm, and ends just below the nose.

Element: Metal
Direction: West
Season: Autumn
Climate: Dry
Cultivation: Reaping
Sense Organ: Nose
Sense: Smell
Tissue: Skin and Hair
Positive Emotion: Courage
Negative Emotion: Grief
Flavor: Pungent (Umami)
Color: Off-White
Sound: Crying
Smell: Rotten
Time: 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.
Opposite: Kidney
Yin/Yang: Yang
Flow Direction: Down
Origin/Ending: Hand to Face
Number of Acupoints: 20

The eight extraordinary vessels 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 Heel Vessel (Yin Qiao Mai)
  8. Yang Heel Vessel (Yang Qiao Mai)