The meridian system is a central concept for most kinesiology systems. Meridians were first identified by Chinese practitioners thousands of years ago. They are seen as forming a subtle energy grid that supports and integrates the different aspects of each individual: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. The meridian energy system distributes Chi energy or life force to the body and this energy carries with it (or possibly even is) information to allow all the parts to function harmoniously. Imbalances in this system can lead to acute or chronic ill health, as the life force energy is not fed correctly to the tissues and cells of the physical body.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) a meridian is a pathway through which the life-energy flows. This energy is called Qi. Often in Kinesiology we refer to the 14 Meridians, but actually in TCM there are many more defined pathways. In TCM, the meridian network is made of:
- 12 principal meridians,
- 12 tendon-muscular meridians,
- 12 divergent meridians,
- 15 luo meridians,
- 8 extraordinary meridians.
In kinesiology we use fourteen major meridian lines. There are two meridian lines on the midline of the body (2 of the extraordinary meridians): the Governing Vessel running up the back of the torso, and the Central or Conception Vessel running up the front of the torso. The other twelve meridians all run bilaterally on the surface of the body. These meridians are named after specific organs (e.g. the liver meridian, the small intestine meridian), but are not necessarily on or near the named organ. For example, the lung meridian runs down the inner arm to the thumb, one meridian on each arm. The 14 meridians are:
- CV (Conception Vessel – Ren Mai)
- GV (Governing Vessel – Du Mai)
- ST (Stomach Channel – Zu Yang Ming)
- SP (Spleen Channel – Zu Tai Yin)
- HT (Heart Channel – Shou Shao Yin)
- SI (Small Intestine Channel – Shou Tai Yang)
- BL (Bladder Channel – Zu Tai Yang)
- KI (Kidney Channel – Zu Shao Yin)
- PC (Pericardium Channel – Shou Jue Yin) (sometimes named Circulation-Sex Meridian in Kinesiology)
- TH (Triple Heater Channel – Shou Shao Yang)
- GB (Gallbladder Meridian – Zu Shao Yang)
- LR (Liver Channel – Zu Jue Yin)
- LU (Lung Channel – Shou Tai Yin)
- LI (Large Intestine Channel – Shou Yang Ming)
The acupuncture meridians may relate directly to the health of the internal organ associated with it, although it is possible for the meridian to be out of balance and yet the related organ to be healthy. However if a meridian is continually out of balance it is likely that the organ itself will eventually be affected.
There are various points along each of the acupuncture meridians, and skilled practitioners can ‘feel’ the location of these points. These points have also been mapped electronically. They are the points that are needled in an acupuncture session. The points are numbered starting with number 1. So, the central meridian runs up the midline of the torso from point 1 (known as CV 01 (Meeting of the Yin)) at the perineum to CV 24 (Container of Fluids) just below the lower lip on the midline. The number of points on each meridian can vary, although where the meridians are bilateral, the meridians are mirror images of each other. So, in the case of the lung meridian, point 1 (LU 01 (Central Residence)) is on the upper front of the chest close to the top of the arm and LU 11 (Lesser Shang) is on the thumb. The left side meridian starts with LU 01 (Central Residence) on the left side and ends with LU 11 (Lesser Shang) on the left thumb; the right-sided meridian starts with LU 01 (Central Residence) on the right side and ends with LU 11 (Lesser Shang) on the right thumb.
Most of the Acupuncture Points recognized for their use in managing pain and facilitating healing are found within the 14 meridian pathways that we access in Kinesiology work but some Extra-meridian points exist as well.
Acupuncturists insert fine needles into these points, whereas kinesiologists use other methods, including touching or tapping. Whatever technique is used, the aim is the same: to balance the flow of energy within the meridians.
For a long time the power of acupuncture was dismissed by Western medicine, because acupuncture theory did not fit with the medical understanding of how the body functions. However, gradually some doctors began to find that acupuncture could work for pain relief. As the body of evidence for the success of acupuncture with adults, babies and animals mounted, medical researchers began to consider the possibility of these subtle energy concepts more carefully, although many feel acupuncture works through the nervous system in some way. In fact, the reality of meridians and acupuncture points is becoming more evident in the availability of electrical devices which are used to locate acupuncture points. The electrical resistance of acupuncture points seems to be lower than that of the surrounding skin area. This suggests a real physical presence for acupuncture points.