The  Meridians

The body is a sacred kingdom. Vital life force is carried throughout its landscape of valleys, mountains, cities, and farmlands by a network of rivers of energy. These pathways of Qi are called meridians.

Each meridian performs a specific function in fulfilling the divine purpose of the kingdom and caring for the health and happiness of the person.

These important functions of the meridians, such as protecting, planning, nourishing, and disposing of waste, are carried out by community members traditionally called Officials. Each Official has a personality, representing an aspect or archetype of the sovereign human being.

Like ministers of a royal court, the Officials work together in cooperative harmony to keep the entire kingdom flourishing, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous. They work in pairs, a Yin with a Yang.

Their various jobs fit together and support each other perfectly. If one team member loses the vision or is unable to perform its job in the community, the entire system is affected. The other Officials must then strain to absorb the stress or shoulder the extra burden.

The Officials carefully tend the kingdom and serve the heart of the reality within us. They are the essence of the elemental movement within our body, mind, and spirit.

We will explore the meridians on the pages that follow. As with the elements, we are just giving a brief glimpse, a condensed flavor of how they function in our body and emotions. We will learn to recognize and feel their unique role and activity in our daily moments.

We make friends with the meridians as aspects of our being. We experience and witness their expressions as the Officials of our royal court. We build an intimate relationship with the meridians. We want to know when one is out of balance and needs support, so that we can take care of it. Thus, our friendship with the meridians is paramount to the practice of the vibrational healing Art of AcuPresence.

The 12 Principal Meridians

The Heart Meridian

THE SUPREME CONTROLLER 

The heart holds the office of lord and sovereign. The radiance of the spirits stem from it. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Supreme Controller

MERIDIAN: Heart

ELEMENT: Fire

QUALITY: Yin

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Small Intestine

LOCATION: Armpit to baby finger

The Heart meridian is named the Supreme Controller. A Fire Element meridian, it runs from the armpit down the arm to the tip of the baby finger.

The Heart is the only Official attended by three other Officials: the Heart Protector, the Small Intestine, and the Triple Heater.

The Supreme Controller rules the sacred kingdom.

Like the Dalai Lama, the inner queen or emperor governs all the Officials with generous love and compassion, as they joyfully carry out their roles in the community.

The heart is the center of our essence. It recognizes our true self and initiates authentic action. In Chinese medicine, our intelligence is a process of the heart, not the mind. The heart is regarded as the root of life itself.

If the Supreme Controller is weak, suffering, out of control or over-controlling, the whole kingdom can be on shaky ground, feeling anxious and insecure or exhausted.

With the Supreme Controller in its full resonance, our life is full of joy, passion, and meaning. There is a deep sense of peace and calm.

 

The Small Intestine Meridian

THE OFFICIAL WHO SEPARATES PURE FROM IMPURE

The small intestine is responsible for receiving and making things thrive. Transformed substances stem from it.  

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official Who Separates Pure From Impure

MERIDIAN: Small Intestine

ELEMENT: Fire

QUALITY: Yang

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Heart

LOCATION: Little finger to ear

The Small Intestine is called the Official Who Separates Pure from Impure. The Heart’s paired Yang Official of the Fire Element, the Small Intestine runs from the little finger up the outer arm, to the neck, cheek, and ear.

The Separator of Pure from Impure allows only clean energy into the Heart, so that the whole kingdom remains in integrity and harmony.

The Official Who Sorts Pure from Impure separates what’s useful to take in from what is indigestible, whether it be food, thoughts, emotions, sound, information, or a relationship. It extracts and transforms the substances of nourishment into pure vital Qi energy, keeping only what is effective, and eliminating waste.

If the Small Intestine is weak, toxins can accumulate in the body, and the mind can become muddled, unable to understand and articulate information or distinguish what’s valuable from what is not.

In coherency, the Official Who Separates Pure from Impure burns away the mundane and empowers transformation in all aspects of being. It communicates the Heart essence into the world, and cultivates the virtues of listening and intuition. It can find the nutrients in processed foods and the positive lessons and gifts in even the worst experiences.

 

The Kidney Meridian

THE OFFICIAL WHO CONTROLS THE WATERWAYS

The kidneys are responsible for the creation of power. Skill and ability stem from them. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official Who Controls the Waterways

MERIDIAN: Kidney

ELEMENT: Water

QUALITY: Yin

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Bladder

LOCATION: Bottom of foot to clavicle

The Kidney meridian is named the Official Who Controls the Waterways. The Yin Official of the Water Element, it is paired with the Bladder, Yang of Water. The Kidney meridian runs from the little toe up the inside of the leg to the top of the chest.

The Official Who Controls the Waterways dispatches water and blood throughout the kingdom, nourishing every region with potent strength and stamina. Its creative power provides the driving energy to press forward, overcome obstacles, and accomplish goals.

The Kidney Official is the primary center of will, vitality, and determination. It empowers the flow of life’s purpose into the world, and lubricates the graceful unfolding of human destiny. The Kidney meridian contains the deep energy reserves inherited from our ancestors. Kidney Qi is called the Seed of Life; it stores our full potential.

A suffering Kidney Official is fearful, holds on, and has no will to do anything. It cannot cleanse the blood and body fluids. There may be bloating, swelling, or water retention. If water is lacking, there can be dehydration or dry skin. Many deaths happen due to failed kidneys because this organ is often the first to go.

In full resonance, the Kidney meridian reaches into the very heart of the spirit. It draws on the vital reserves of the person, re-establishing connection with the inner strength which they need when the spirit is low and the suffering has been long.

 

The Bladder Meridian

THE OFFICIAL WHO CONTROLS THE STORAGE OF WATER

The bladder is responsible for regions and cities. It stores the Jinye (Body Fluids). 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official Who Controls the Storage of Water

MERIDIAN: Bladder

ELEMENT: Water

QUALITY: Yang

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Kidney

LOCATION: Eye to baby toe

The Bladder meridian is named the Official Who Controls the Storage of Water. The Yang Official of the Water Element, it is paired with the Kidney Official, Yin of Water, and has the most acupoints of all the meridians. The Bladder meridian runs from the eye, over the head, down the neck, back, and leg, to the little toe.

The Official Who Controls the Storage of Water is in charge of the kingdom’s magnificent reservoir of vitality. It maintains the storage and utilization of life-giving waters, and supplies all the other Officials with the power and fluidity they need to function well. When properly irrigated, all are able to let creative, intelligent ideas flow. This constitutes the mental aspect of the will.

Out of balance or sick, the Bladder Official is unable to eliminate excess water and waste and may flood, or may run dry, with no reserves for times of need. There may be back pain, or a feeling of stuckness, stagnation, or depletion. We might worry and imagine the worst, or not care and squander our resources.

With the Bladder Official in balance, all cells are nourished with dynamic resources. Energy flows where it is needed, impurities are disposed of, and the kingdom flourishes.

 

The Heart Protector Meridian

CIRCULATION/SEX OFFICIAL

The heart protector has the charge of resident as well as envoy. Elation and joy stem from it. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: Circulation/Sex Official

MERIDIAN: Heart Protector

ELEMENT: Fire

QUALITY: Yin

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Triple Heater

LOCATION: Upper chest to middle finger

The Heart Protector is named the Circulation/Sex Official. A Yin Official of the Fire Element, it is paired with the Triple Heater, and runs from the upper chest down the center of the inner arm to the middle finger.

A functionary Official, not an organ, the Heart Protector is loosely associated with the Pericardium, a protective, lubricating muscle membrane around the Heart.

The Heart Protector is the bodyguard who stands in front of the Queen or King, shielding the Heart from shock, trauma, insult, or injury. It takes the blows and shoulders the burdens on behalf of the Supreme Controller.

A sick Circulation/Sex Official can become over-protective, joyless, intolerant, or desperately lonely, unable to trust or let any love and warmth in or out of the Heart. It can also be under-protective, leaving the Heart vulnerable to emotional or physical battery.

The Heart Protector is responsible for blood circulation and all sexual secretions. In balance, it provides the Fire Element qualities of joy and elation, generosity, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. The inner temple of spirit is calm and tranquil. Love flows freely.

 

The Triple Heater Meridian

THE OFFICIAL IN CHARGE OF THE THREE BURNING SPACES

The triple heater is responsible for the opening up of passages and irrigation. The regulation of the fluids stems from it. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official in Charge of the Three Burning Spaces

MERIDIAN: Triple Heater

ELEMENT: Fire

QUALITY: Yang

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Heart Protector

LOCATION: Temple to 3rd finger

The Triple Heater is called the Official In Charge of the Three Burning Spaces. A Yang Official of the Fire Element, it is paired with the Yin Heart Protector and runs from the temple to the 3rd finger. The Triple Heater meridian is the only solely functional meridian with no structural counterpart, no form. The Three Burning Spaces are inside the top, middle, and bottom of the body’s trunk area.

The Triple Heater is the outermost Official at the border of the kingdom. It decides who enters and who leaves, and gathers the environmental cues the Heart needs in order to govern.

The Official in Charge of the Three Burning Spaces is the internal thermostat, giving the Supreme Controller the exact temperature it needs, and making sure all the other Officials have the right warmth and love to stay balanced and in harmony.

The Triple Heater is responsible for the circulation of Qi (vital energy), blood, and all body fluids. It maintains homeostasis by keeping lines of communication open between all aspects of being, inner and outer.

When the Triple Heater is out of coherency, the body or emotions may be cold, sluggish, or indifferent, or too hot, overexcited, and moving too fast.

With the Triple Heater in full resonance, our thoughts, feelings, and body are cooked at just the right temperature. We are comfortable. We easily give warmth and understanding, and fluidly adjust to change.

 

The Liver Meridian

THE OFFICIAL OF PLANNING

The liver holds the office of general of the armed forces. Assessment of circumstances and conception of plans stem from it. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official of Planning

MERIDIAN: Liver

ELEMENT: Wood

QUALITY: Yin

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Gall Bladder

LOCATION: Big toe to mid ribcage

The Liver meridian is named the Official In Charge of Planning. The Yin meridian of the Wood element, it is paired with the Gallbladder. The Liver meridian runs from the big toe up the inside of the leg and the front trunk to the lower ribs.

The Official of Strategic Planning is the grand architect who draws up the master plans for the kingdom.

Like the general of the armed forces, it holds the vision and purpose, carefully assesses circumstances, plans the strategy for movement forward, and leads the troops into action.

The Master Planner rules “flowing and spreading,” keeping blood, energy, and emotions flowing freely and fluidly. It makes sure all the Officials work together for the benefit of the whole kingdom.

If the Liver Official is weakened, it may procrastinate and have trouble making decisions or getting anything accomplished. There can be over-planning or no planning at all. We may lose sight of where we’re going, and feel hopeless, stagnant, or resentful.

A strong, coherent Official of Planning moves with clear, deep purpose and the creative flexibility to keep going and growing gracefully until its goals are achieved. It is visionary, benevolent, and unstoppable.

 

The Gall Bladder Meridian

THE OFFICIAL OF DECISION MAKING AND JUDGMENT

The gallbladder is responsible for what is just and exact. Determination and decision stem from it. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official of Decision Making and Judgment

MERIDIAN: Gall Bladder

ELEMENT: Wood

QUALITY: Yang

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Liver

LOCATION: Temple to 4th toe

The Gall Bladder meridian is named the Official of Decision Making and Judgment. It’s the Yang Official of the Wood Element, paired with the Yin Liver. It runs from the temple along the side of the head, down the side of the trunk and outer side of the leg to the fourth toe.

The Official of Decision-Making and Judgment is like the contractor or foreman who carries out the Master Architect’s plans. Holding the grand vision for the future, the Gall Bladder Official makes the precise judgment calls and upright decisions to fulfill the Planner’s hopes and dreams for the kingdom.

When the Gall Bladder meridian is out of balance, we may have difficulty making decisions. We may become inflexible, hanging on to old feelings and beliefs or rigid attitudes. We can lose sight of our hopes for the future.

In coherency, the Wise Decision Maker vigorously directs all activity in the kingdom with the pure purpose to bring the Master Planner’s vision to fruition. Enthusiastic and courageous, it empowers decisiveness, growth, and big-picture as well as fine-detail perspective.

 

The Lung Meridian

THE OFFICIAL WHO RECEIVES PURE QI ENERGY FROM THE HEAVENS

The lungs hold the office of minister and chancellor. The regulation of the life-giving network stems from it. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official Who Receives Pure Qi Energy From the Heavens

MERIDIAN: Lung

ELEMENT: Metal

QUALITY: Yin

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Large Intestine

LOCATION: Upper Chest to thumb

The Lung meridian is called the Official Who Receives Pure Qi From the Heavens. It is the Yin Official of the Metal Element, paired with the Large Intestine. The Lung meridian runs from the chest down the inside of the arm to the thumb.

The Official Who Receives Pure Qi From the Heavens is the kingdom’s connection to Spirit, and is the source of true self worth. It draws inspiration and life energy into the body community with each breath. Vital oxygen transforms food and builds blood to nourish the entire body, while heavenly Qi brings vitality and inspiration to every Official in the kingdom.

If the Lung Official is out of balance, our ability to grieve appropriately is impaired. Our sorrow may be excessive or shut down. We may tightly control our emotions, close off our receptivity, and feel disconnected and alone. We may compensate for this sense of emptiness by being meticulously neat, maintaining rigid rules and routines, or collecting possessions and symbols of the value and worth we lack.

The healthy Official Who Receives Pure Heavenly Qi gathers refined life essence from the universe and eliminates impurities by exhaling. Benevolent and righteous, it provides guidance and authority, and balances our ability to give and receive, hold on and let go.

 

The Large Intestine Meridian

THE OFFICIAL OF DRAINAGE AND DREGS

The large intestine is responsible for transit. The residue from the transformation stems from it. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official of Drainage and Dregs

MERIDIAN: Large Intestine

ELEMENT: Metal

QUALITY: Yang

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Lung

LOCATION: 1st finger to nose

The Large Intestine or Colon meridian is called the Official of Drainage and Dregs. It’s the Yang Official of the Metal Element and is paired with the Lungs. It runs from the first finger up the outside of the arm to the shoulder, neck, face, and nose.

The Official of Drainage and Dregs is responsible for eliminating waste. It maintains a clear pathway for clearing rubbish, death, and decay. This action of garbage collection and transformation maintains and preserves life in the kingdom by releasing waste and making room for fresh, pure, valuable qualities. It clears space for the new by getting rid of the old.

If the Official of Drainage and Dregs is distressed or clogged, toxins build up in the kingdom. All the Officials become isolated, blocked, and stagnant. They struggle to make good decisions. Contaminated by rotting waste, with no room for inspiration to come in, we may feel like everything is crap. We may live in doubt and gloom, rigid and unyielding, stubbornly refusing to change, unable to distinguish and let go of what no longer serves us.

A healthy Large Intestine meridian empowers the ability to gather and retain pure essence by letting go of the mundane. It creates an open inner space for inspiration and self-worth. We can see new possibilities and move on.

 

The Spleen Meridian

THE OFFICIAL OF TRANSPORTATION AND DISTRIBUTION

The spleen and stomach are responsible for the storehouses and granaries. The five Wei (tastes) stem from them. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official of Transportation and Distribution

MERIDIAN: Spleen

ELEMENT: Earth

QUALITY: Yin

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Stomach

LOCATION: Big toe to side of chest

The Spleen meridian is called the Official of Transportation and Distribution. The Yin Official of the Earth Element is paired with the Stomach. It runs from the big toe up the inner leg and stomach to the chest.

The Official of Transportation and Distribution carries nourishment to wherever it is needed. It delivers to all the other Officials the vitality of the nutrients that have been harvested from our life and digested by its partner the Stomach. The Spleen distributes vital Qi to every corner of the kingdom, every cell of the body.

When the Spleen meridian is out of balance, the Stomach’s work of harvesting and ripening can’t go anywhere. We may feel stuck, over-concerned, out of balance, and unable to concentrate. We can feel isolated and depressed.

With the Spleen functioning well, thinking and concentration are clear and strong. Movement is powerful and abundance flows smoothly. We enjoy the bounty of the harvest and the richness of Mother Earth.

 

The Stomach Meridian

THE OFFICIAL OF ROTTING AND RIPENING FOOD AND DRINK

The spleen and stomach are responsible for the storehouses and granaries. The five Wei (tastes) stem from them. 

-Nei Jing Su When

NAME: The Official of Rotting and Ripening Food and Drink

MERIDIAN: Stomach

ELEMENT: Earth

QUALITY: Yang

PAIRED MERIDIAN: Speen

LOCATION: Below eye to 2nd toe

The Stomach meridian is called the Official In Charge of Rotting and Ripening. It’s the Yang meridian of the Earth Element, paired with the Spleen. It runs from under the eye down the face to the lip and down the chest, trunk, and outside of the leg to the second toe.

The Official In Charge of Rotting and Ripening is responsible for the ability to take things in. It collects and extracts nutrients and energy from food and from the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual environment, fueling all the other Officials to do their jobs. Without it, nothing could live or move.

If the Stomach Official is out of balance, our digestion doesn’t function properly. We lose our ability to receive and absorb nutrients and vital Qi. We have trouble nurturing ourselves and others. We may worry and feel insecure, anxious, tired, and weak. We feel lonely and disconnected from Mother Earth. We can’t perceive reality or assimilate information accurately, and don’t feel loved.

The Stomach in coherency feels full and satisfied with the fruits of abundant harvest. It empowers integration and integrity, and constantly replenishes nourishing Qi. It provides the stability of feeling held in the arms of the Great Mother.

 

The Extraordinary Meridians

We will look at two of the 8 extraordinary meridians in the body. These primordial meridians are considered the source and structure of life in the body, mind, and spirit. They appear in the embryo before the 12 principal meridians form.

The extraordinary meridians are thought of as oceans or seas of Qi, whereas the principal 12 are considered rivers or streams.

These oceans, with great life-giving and transformative powers, feed the energetic rivers and streams of the principal 12 meridians. If they’re not strong and flowing, the 12 elemental meridians suffer.

The Conception Vessel Meridian

The Conception Vessel is also called the Ren Mai Mer-idian and is the central axis of Yin energy in the body. It runs from the perineum up the front center of the body to the chin, just below the bottom lip.

The Conception Vessel is the Great Mother Sea who nourishes all life in the kingdom. It distributes deep, soft Yin Qi to all the 12 ordinary Officials, protecting them and whispering to each of them their sacred purpose.

The Conception Vessel gathers and delivers the potent, warm mother’s milk of Yin energy resources that enable us to grow and flourish. It is the rich, fertile source of our most intimate inner nature.

The Governor Vessel Meridian

The Governor Vessel is also called the Du Mai Meridian and is the central axis of Yang energy in the body. It runs from the tip of the coccyx up the spine and over the top of the head to the upper gum line.

The Governor Vessel is the mighty Official who supervises life in the kingdom. It directs the movement of all the waters as they flow along the rivers and passages that maintain life. The Governor Vessel gives strength and direction to all 12 ordinary Officials. It guides communication, unifies purpose, and empowers mastery of life.

In Chinese medicine, the spine is called the Stairway to Heaven. As pure, powerful, dynamic Yang Qi surges up the spine, the Du Meridian activates inner vitality and strengthens connection with our spirit.

The Governor Vessel is the ocean of guidance that directs the wisdom of the heart.