Picture a road map: a profusion of points woven into a web by lines of travel. Now imagine this system 3-D in your body: a vast network of invisible energy pathways connecting to each other and to every atom, cell, tendon, bone, organ, each centimeter of skin—everything in your body! They link the upper portion with the lower and the surface with the interior, so that nothing is truly separate.
Now add other dimensions to this 3-D interconnected body “map”: your mind, your emotions, and spirit—everything conscious and unconscious within you. These amazing pathways are the meridians, and they form your body and all invisible aspects of your being into an intercommunicating whole.
There are twelve major meridians that run on each side of the body, one side mirroring the other. Each meridian corresponds to an internal organ. And each organ, with its own physiological and invisible energy functions, is not only dependent on the other organ systems but also on the greater meridian network.
Energy and blood flow continuously through the meridians, yet they also transmit information to and among your organs. What kind of information? Instantaneously they send signals to raise or lower your body temperature, signs that your body needs to release water, signals to regulate emotion, among countless others. Are you aware that your body is constantly communicating with itself through innumerable messages flowing through your meridians? These life-giving energy pathways help coordinate the work of the organs and keep your body balanced by regulating its functions.
According to TCM, as long as Qi flows freely through your meridians and your organs work in harmony, your body can remain healthy. This means that when your body’s meridian system functions well, you are well. Yet due to a number of causes—like excess stress—your body’s meridians can become clogged or even blocked. This affects the function of the corresponding organ and ultimately the whole body-mind-spirit.
Meridians are incredibly sensitive. They can carry the effects of stimulation in the form of healing energy throughout your entire being. It is this special quality that allows the various TCM treatment modalities to work. By using food, herbs, Qigong, acupuncture, or acupressure, the flow of energy in the meridians can be stimulated, restoring balance and health.