Meridians of the body affect every organ and physiological system inside of us. They are invisible to the human eye, yet without them we could not sustain life. In the same way that arteries carry blood, meridians carry energy, often referred to as chi, qi or prana. Meridians are our body’s “energy bloodstream”: they bring vitality and balance, remove energy blockages, stagnations and imbalances, adjust metabolism and determine the speed and form of cellular change. Their flow is as critical as the flow of blood; your life and health depend on both.
Meridians of the body affect all major systems including: immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular and the lymphatic system. If a meridian’s energy is obstructed or unregulated, the system it feeds on is jeopardized, and disease results.
There are 12 major meridians in the body:
• Lung meridian
• Large intestine meridian
• Spleen meridian
• Stomach meridian
• Heart meridian
• Small intestine meridian
• Bladder meridian
• Kidney meridian
• Pericardium (Circulation/Sex) meridian
• Triple Warmer meridian
• Liver meridian
• Gallbladder meridian
These major meridians of the body are responsible for nourishing their corresponding organ and the other organs around them, fueling and feeding them with energy. Each meridian plays a specific and integral role in their organs health. Deficient meridian energy and excess meridian energy are both problematic and can cause damage to that meridian’s organ system.
The lungs govern respiration and the intake of energy. An imbalance of energy in the lung meridian leaves the body susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, abnormal sweating and inflammation in the upper part of the body, problems with the nose and sense of smell, and skin irritations, eruptions and other conditions.
Large intestine meridian
The large intestine processes waste material in the body and extracts water from it before excreting it. All abdominal pains are associated with an imbalance of energy in the large intestine meridian. Difficulties with holding on or letting go in life are also linked to the large intestine meridian.
The spleen regulates digestion, helps to control the flow of blood within the blood vessels, and affects muscle and limb tone, as it is responsible for distributing nutrients (containing energy) around the body. An energetic imbalance in the spleen meridian can result in: general fatigue, abdominal problems (such as diarrhea, distention or bloating, pain and/or an uncomfortable feeling of fullness), lack of appetite, prolapsed internal organs and weak or flabby muscles. Energy imbalances in the spleen meridian can also cause a “fuzzy” feeling or the sense of feeling scatterbrained.
The stomach digests food, extracting energy from it and passing that energy on to the spleen and intestines; all digestive issues can be traced back to the stomach. An imbalance of energy in the stomach meridian can lead to feelings of worry, nervousness and acceptance.
The heart pumps blood to all the other organ systems in the body. An imbalance of energy in the heart meridian can show up in several ways: heart palpations, short and shallow breathing, chest pains, problems with temperature regulation (hot flashes/cold sweats), dizziness, irritability and insomnia. On a metaphysical level a healthy heart meridian allows for feelings of joy and bliss, and an imbalance can lead to psychological problems.
Small intestine meridian
The small intestine extracts nutrients and energy from digested food and distributes it throughout the body. An imbalance of energy in the small intestine meridian can cause abdominal distention and poor digestion, nerve pain, acne, swollen lymph glands, sore or stiff shoulders, poor circulation or weakness in the legs, and constantly feeling cold.
The bladder is responsible for excreting liquid waste from the body. An imbalance of energy in the bladder meridian causes all urinary diseases, back pains, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and headaches. On an emotional level, an imbalance of bladder meridian energy can cause feelings of anger and an inability to express emotions.
The kidneys control the production of both bone marrow and blood. They also store sexual energy and therefore regulate the growth and development of the reproductive organs. An imbalance in kidney meridian energy causes backaches, genital-urinary disorders, asthma and a ringing in the ears. Emotionally, the kidney meridian regulates willpower, determination and the ability to cope in life.
Pericardium (Circulation/Sex) meridian
The pericardium surrounds, lubricates and protects the heart. The pericardium meridian is responsible for removing excess energy from around the heart, dispersing it throughout the body, and then dissolving it out through the hand. This prevents the heart from becoming over-energized, as well as fueling other meridians and organ systems throughout the body.
Triple Warmer meridian
Rather than controlling a particular organ or organ system, the triple warmer meridian is responsible for the body’s metabolism, heat/moisture balance and body temperature. The triple warmer is responsible for the body as a whole; and because of this an imbalance of energy in the triple warmer meridian is associated with a wide range of disorders. Hearing problems, fatigue, breathing disorders and urinary problems are just some of the major issues resulting from an imbalance of triple warmer energy. More accurately, an issue with any organ in the body is in some way related to an imbalance of triple warmer energy.
The liver is a major organ for storing energy and regulating its flow throughout the body. The liver meridian also governs menstruation and the female sexual cycle and the flexibility of the ligaments and tendons. An imbalance of energy in the liver meridian causes PMS and other menstrual disorders, jaundice, dry skin, stiff joints, vertigo, dry eyes and blurred vision and headaches. Emotionally, an imbalance of energy in the liver meridian results in depression, anger and irritability, and a lack of control and emotional flexibility.
The gallbladder stores and excretes bile produced by the liver. An imbalance of energy in the gallbladder meridian causes liver pains, bloating and a yellow tinge on the tongue, skin and urine.
There are certain places along the meridians where energy pools, making the chi, qi or prana more accessible there than elsewhere. These “energy hotspots” are more familiarly referred to as acupuncture points and at these specific points energy can be manipulated – either increasing or decreasing the flow.
When energy flowing through the meridians becomes blocked or stagnant, or, when too much energy is overwhelming a meridian these acupuncture points can be accessed to clear blockages and remove unwanted excess or stagnant energy. Often times acupuncture and acupressure techniques are used to relieve energetic imbalances in the meridians; the ancient Chinese practice of Qi Gong is often employed as well.
Acupuncture and acupressure both use the same meridians and points in their healing, the difference is that acupuncture uses needles while acupressure uses both soft and firm touches on the points to generate the flow of energy. Qi Gong is somewhat different. Similar to acupuncture and acupressure, qi gong is also a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, qi gong uses breathwork, gentle movement and meditation to cleanse and strengthen the meridians and the energy running through them.
All three techniques of cleansing and balancing the energy flow through the meridians are forms of preventative medicine. This does not mean acupuncture, acupressure and qi gong cannot be used as treatments, in fact this is quite the contrary. These are the traditional techniques used in Chinese Medicine to cure people suffering from all types of diseases and many westerners have begun turning to these treatments as well.
This is Eastern medicine. Medicine that has been around for thousands of years. I’m not denying that sometimes it is necessary to go the Western route, and that surgery and antibiotics have saved millions of lives. But, living a joyful, healthy existence is at the core of every human being; it is part of our birthright. Why suffer through emotional and physical pain when a life of joy and health is as easy as balancing your meridians and refocusing your energy?