The 12 standard Meridians, also called Principal, Main or Primary Meridians, are the most important meridians of the body. They are the main pathways that transport qi (Energy) throughout the body.
All the twelve meridians run through the limbs, with certain meridians and their corresponding organs creating an interior and exterior relationship. For example, the LU (Lung Channel – Shou Tai Yin) and the LI (Large Intestine Channel – Shou Yang Ming) are paired based on their pathways, both are linked to Metal Element (金 jīn), and clinically they are closely related; problems in the lung or its meridian can also be treated by using various points on the LI (Large Intestine Channel – Shou Yang Ming). Furthermore, the arm and leg meridians of the same yin/yang names are also related. For example, problems in the lung or its meridian (LU (Lung Channel – Shou Tai Yin)) can be treated by using various points on its communication partner the SP (Spleen Channel – Zu Tai Yin), besides the ones on the LU (Lung Channel – Shou Tai Yin).
They are distributed symmetrically in both sides of the body and are paired with their correspondent internal organs. They are divided into Yin and Yang groups.
Each limb has 6 of them (3 Yin and 3 Yang):
- Arm Meridians:
- Yin: they are HT (Heart Channel – Shou Shao Yin), PC (Pericardium Channel – Shou Jue Yin), LU (Lung Channel – Shou Tai Yin); each starts from the chest and end in a finger of the hand.
- Yang: they are LI (Large Intestine Channel – Shou Yang Ming), TH (Triple Heater Channel – Shou Shao Yang), SI (Small Intestine Channel – Shou Tai Yang); each starts from a finger of the hand and ends in the head.
- Leg Meridians:
- Yang: they are ST (Stomach Channel – Zu Yang Ming), GB (Gallbladder Meridian – Zu Shao Yang), BL (Bladder Channel – Zu Tai Yang); each starts in the head and ends in a finger of the foot.
- Yin: they are KI (Kidney Channel – Zu Shao Yin), LR (Liver Channel – Zu Jue Yin), SP (Spleen Channel – Zu Tai Yin); they start from the foot (SP and LR from the big toe and KI from the centre of the sole) and end in the chest.
Yang meridians run in the Yang surface of the body: head, back, external aspect of arms and legs.
Yin meridians run in the Yin surface of the body: abdomen, chest (front) and internal, medial aspect of the limbs.