CHANNELS ( MERIDIANS ) AND ZANG – FU ORGANS
By Ac Nik Fairuz Hakim, Registrar Dept of Acupuncture,
Faculty of Homeopathy Malaysia, Pasir Mas, Kelantan.
The Chinese medicine, everybody believes that life energy, with its components Yin and Yang, influence the whole of life and nature. Man as apart of the cosmos, is under influence from this force, which in turn influence life's executions and the functioning of the body and soul.
Body organs produce energy, which in turn is inherent to life itself. This energy is distributed through the body via the channels (meridians or pathways)
The channels are passages in the body where the vital energy 'qi' or 'chi' circulates. The acupuncture points are locations where the channels come to surface and are easily accessible to acupuncture points for needling, moxibustion, acupressure, reflexology, etc. These channels are joined together in a certain sequence so that the energy circulates and moves from one channel to another as closed and ordered systems.
Each vital organ supplies a certain share of the energy production and there is a transition from a channel to another channel, a strong or a weak organ disturbs the energetical relationship with the other. This causes reactions in the pathological symptoms.
There are 14 main channels running vertically up and down the surface of the body. Out of this, there are 12 organ channels in each half of the body (i.e. paired) and two midline (unpaired). These are connected by collaterals running horizontally and obliquely. In this network vital energy circulates in a definite time-sequence.
Organ Clock ( Midday -Midnight Law )
The twelve main channels are joined to the organ systems, each of which has a maximum activity and energy production during a period of two hours.
The time is called the maximum time meridians. Correspondingly exactly twelve hours of this high tide and low tide occurs in the energy activity. It is possible to read the sequence of the energy circulation in the channels or meridian from the organ clock.
The time factor is very important in Chinese medicine because it seems, that the sensibility in its greatest form. The maximum times have an important significance not olny for diagnostic purposes but also for therapeutic value.
For example , most of the acute asthma attack occur between 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. which is the time of optimum activity of the lung meridians.
The same time happen to the large intestine, where everybody are rushing to toilets at 5.00 am to 7.00 am. While the stomach has its maximal activity from 7.00 am to 9.00 am and the liver from 1.00 to 3.00 am.
This law may be used in diagnosis. A patient may have colicky pains which are worst at midnight. It is the period of maximal activity of the gall bladder or the period of minimal activity of the heart. It is assuming that the pain is most likely due to gall bladder problems or could possibly be the heart. This method of diagnosis, using time onset of symptoms must be very carefully observed, as any mistake in reading, might cause wrong diagnosis. To an expert acupuncturist, the law of midday and midnight are a good source to locate acupuncture points.
Meridian Polarity Time of optimum flow
Lung. Yin. 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Large intestine. Yang. 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Stomach. Yang. 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Spleen. Yin. 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Heart. Yin. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Small intestine. Yang. 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Urinary bladder. Yang. 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Kidney. Yin. 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Pericardium. Yin. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Triple warmer. Yang. 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Gall bladder. Yang. 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Liver. Yin. 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Chart showing cycle of Chi flow, polarity and time of optimum flow.
Zang Fu Theory
There are two categories of organs associated with the 12 organ channels: “Zang” or solid organs having assimilative and storage functions. These are the heart, lungs, spleen, liver and kidneys. “Fu” or hollow organs having secretion or eliminative functions. These are the stomach, large intestine, small intestine, urinary bladder and gall bladder. The 12 paired channels originate in these organs and are named after them. All channels originating from the Zang organs are Yin (negative) and those originating from the Fu organs are Yang (positive)
In the upper limbs there are three Yin channels starting from the chest and ending at the fingertips. They are the lung, pericardium and heart channels. And three Yang channel, the large intestine, triple warmer and small intestine, starting from the back of the fingers and ending on the face.
Three other Yang channels, the stomach, gall bladder and urinary bladder, start from the face, extend along the trunk, back and side of the leg to end at the toes. Three other Yin channels, the liver, spleen and kidney, start from the toes, run over the medial (inside) aspect of the leg and thigh and end on the chest.
Two mid-line meridians are the conception vessel meridian (Ren Mai) and the governing vessel meridian (Du Mai). The conception vessel runs from the mid-point of the perineum over the abdomen, navel and the chest and ends at the root of the tongue. The governing vessel starts from behind the anus, runs over the sacrum, spinal column, nape of the neck, passes over the head and front of the face, and ends in the mouth behind the upper lip.
The starting and end points of the meridians or channels on the fingers and toes are called Jing-well points. They are very useful pressure points in emergencies and fainting attacks since changes of energy polarity occur here.
Two more important acupressure points are GV 26 (renzhong) and K.1 ( yongquan)
Western medical science cannot explain why the pain of angina pectoris (heart pain) sometimes runs from the chest down the inner side of the left arm to the little finger, which is the path of the heart meridian of acupuncture. Similarly, since the heart and the small intestine are coupled organs, a patient having heart attack feels like passing a motion. That is why, the oriental medicine considered that the Zang-Fu theory is as an important diagnostic and therapeutic value.
"The means whereby man is created, The means whereby disease occurs,
The means whereby man is cured, The twelve channels are the basis of
all theory and treatment."
- Huang Ti Nei Jing Su Wen.