Points and meridians in acupuncture

The qi energy circulates through our body through a complex network of channels called meridians (a name of French origin, used in Western medicine but not Chinese) or meridians. The channels usually run along the body, parallel to the arms and legs (like meridians crossing the Earth). From them, they extract branches that connect acupuncture points on the body’s surface with specific organs.

Meridians in acupuncture

Meridians can be divided into two types. The main organs are connected to specific internal organs and their names are derived from them (e.g. the channel connecting to the heart is called the heart meridian, etc.). Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies the internal organs as Zang (full, which holds qi energy) and Fu (which produces qi). Major meridians appear on the right and left sides of the body like mirror images. There are twelve of them and they have two “parts”. The outer part has acupuncture points (9 to 67), while the inner part connects organs with others, forming branches and networks. This fact allows you to treat several organs by puncturing points on one canal.

However, speaking more figuratively. Thick fibers, with which the impulses travel faster, send sensory, tactile and thermal stimuli. Thin fibers are responsible for transmitting pain impulses. So when, for example, we pinch someone or hit and at the same time prick the appropriate acupuncture point, we cause a micro race between the pain impulses (pinching) and the sensory impulses caused by the puncture. The latter, transported by thicker fibers, reach the spinal cord faster. Taking priority, they block the respective core segments. A pain impulse that arrives later is thus ignored.

The eight accessory meridians do not connect directly to the internal organs, nor do they have acupuncture points except the mid-posterior and mid-anterior which connect with the main organs. Their task is to regulate the excess or deficiency of yin and yang energy in the main meridians. The other six meridians are of no practical use.

Chinese medicine speaks of 670 active acupuncture points (other names are Chinese or biologically active points). These points are the most important element on which the treatment is based. By stimulating them (they puncture, press or heat them), we are able to restore the disturbed qi circulation in the body.

The acupuncture point connects the inside of the body with the outside world. The diseased organ sends impulses to the outside through the acupuncture point, but we can also influence the organ by acting from the outside. Through the points, the organs also collect the energy necessary for their functioning from the outside.

Numerous studies in recent years confirm that the points have the same location in all people (with small individual deviations). They are usually between 2 and 5 millimeters in diameter, although they can expand as they pass through disease. The way to distinguish an acupuncture point from an ordinary piece of skin is a symptom called de qi, which is when you experience a puncture sensation that the patient only experiences when the point is stimulated.

Chinese medicine divides points into several types. The stimulating points increase the flow of qi energy, while the calming points reduce the flow. The source guards the harmonious flow of qi between stimulating and calming points. All three act on the entire meridian. Luo points balance the work of the two meridians yin and yang. Anterior compatibility points inform about the disease in a given organ (they then become enlarged and hurt). There are 12 posterior compatibility points, they are located on the back and lie over related organs. Therefore, special attention is paid to them during the disease of a specific organ.

Based on: H. Operacz, Acupuncture treatment.

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