Chinese Medicine – The Meridian Systems

The meridian systems are used in most Chinese medicine as points that will help to heal. They are most often used in acupuncture and massage that is practiced through professional practitioners of Chinese medicine. These particular points, when measured scientifically, are known to be like pressure points that affect other parts of the human system.

Currently, Western science does not recognize the existence of discrete “energy vessels” in the body that are analogous to blood vessels; but to the Chinese the meridians that carry Qi are actual anatomical structures that can be palpated and treated. The function of meridians is to transport Qi and Blood, connect the internal organs, and provide pathways between the inside and outside of the body.

The meridian system consists of twelve principal meridians which correspond to the five Yin and five Yang organs, plus the Pericardium (Yin) and Triple Burner (Yang). So there is a meridian for the Heart, Lungs, Liver, Spleen, and Kidneys (Zang), and for their paired organs, the Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Gall Bladder, Stomach, and Urinary Bladder (Fu). There are also eight “extraordinary” meridians, a system of tendino-muscular meridians close to the surface of the skin, a system of “divergent” meridians, and “luo” channels that connect paired Yin and Yang meridians.

Through the meridians, every part of the body is connected to the whole: the internal organs communicate between themselves and have access to the surface of the body; the skin, muscles, and extremities have networks of secondary meridians that circulate energy on the surface and also tap into deeper levels. Each principal meridian is associated with a group of symptoms that appear when the meridian is not functioning properly. For example, cough, dyspnea, asthma, sore throat, and a feeling of fullness in the chest are associated with Lung meridian dysfunction.

The meridian system is used in several ways in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Sometimes the problem is with the meridian itself, as in the case of simple tendonitis, muscle strain, or an atrophied area of tissue. These are generally viewed as local problems, and are treated locally to the injury. In other cases, the problem is an imbalance or disease of an internal organ, and the meridian system is utilized as an avenue to the seat of the problem. For example, a digestive problem would be treated by using acupuncture points along the Spleen and Stomach meridians, since these meridians connect directly to “their” organs.

Chinese medicinal herbs and foods are also tied into this system because they are classified by taste (Five Phase theory), property (Yin/Yang theory), and by which meridians they enter (and therefore which internal organs they affect).

By: Paul Hata

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Chinese Medicine – Checking Your Pulse For Diagnosis

Chinese medicine will always use natural observations in order to determine which parts of the body may be off in their energy. By observing the external functions of the body, they can make assessments on how this affects the internal structure. From here, they will be able to decide on how to change the energy flow.

One of the most important areas of observation for Chinese medicine diagnosis is the pulse. The different pulses of the body are so important to Chinese medicine, that they are considered an art by learning how to use them appropriately. Usually, only the most trained practitioners can find how to use the pulse properly.

The reason why the pulse is important to the observations is because Chinese medicine has found connections between the pulse and every area of the body. In Western medicine, there is an understanding that the pulse of the heart is located in the wrist and also the neck. In Chinese medicine, there are also pulses for the kidney, liver, and other body areas.

Not only do all of the internal organs have specific pulses in different areas of the body, but these also have different depths. This means that a reading of a pulse can be heard in layers in each position. Typically, each pulse will have three different depths that can be observed. These can be found in nine different areas when the diagnosis is being made from pulse.

If a practitioner is looking for a diagnosis for a pulse, they will look for several attributes. If you are in Chinese medicine, you will most likely know about twenty-eight different characteristics to look for. These may be related to how the pulse sounds, the rate it is beating at, and other factors such as this. The characteristics that are determined will also help to draw conclusions about which areas of the body are off of their regular energy flow.

If you are moving into Chinese medicine, expect your pulses to be checked. This is one of the main considerations in Chinese medicine, and is never over looked in the diagnosis. The art of checking the pulse in Chinese medicine is one of the main foundations for understanding how the internal Qi of someone is functioning.

By: Paul Hata

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