What are Meridians?

An excerpt from the Health Preservation Series DVD
'Tai Chi for Heart, Lung & Intestine'

There are twelve meridians in the human body.  For each meridian there are numerous points located throughout the body.  The most important point of each meridian, the Chinese call 'Yuan-Xue' (original acupuncture point).  Most of the 'Yuan-Xue' points are located around the wrist and ankle.

Meridians are Channels for the Flow of Qi

Qi can be absorbed into the human body through portals of entry on the skin.  These portals are called  points, and they are stimulated with acupressure and acupuncture.  It helps to see them as doorways which open into a system called jingluo.  Jing means 'route' or 'to move through'; Luo means 'net'.  The jingluo - or meridians - are channels formed into a network along which Qi and blood flow.  The vital substances that flow through the meridian network provide life-giving and life-sustaing energy to every part of the human body.

The Meridian Network

The meridian network consists of twelve primary channels.  Each one hooks up internally with an organ, whose name it carries.  The Yin channels hook up to the Zang Yin organs and the Yang channels to the Fu Yang organs.  Therefore we have six primary Yin channels and six primary Yang channels.

There are also eight extra meridians.  Only two of these have points of their own - the governing vessel and the conception vessel.  The others all share points with the primary meridians which coincide along their pathway.