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What are meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?


          Meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine are channels for the Qi to flow through, permitting the needed energy to be transported from one part of the body to another (Shen-Nong, n.d.). The major 12 meridians pass through the limbs and head, with yin and yang properties, and are connected to specific organs (Acupuncture and Massage College (AMC), 2017). Meridians are referred to as “Jing Luo;” as a combination of the two concepts of “Jing” and “Luo.” “Jing” meridians facilitate throughout the vertical channels of the body. On the other hand, “Luo” works horizontally. The two concepts work together to provide a network channel for the Qi to flow through (Tong Jim Chew PTE, LTD, 2017). 

What is the meridian System?


          The meridian system works similarly to the circulatory system in Western medicine. Both the circulatory system and the meridian system transport necessary substances throughout the human body. However, the similarities between these two systems end here. The meridian system focuses on transporting the Qi and ensuring its smooth flow. On the other hand, the circulatory system transports by using blood vessels. Therefore, the meridian system is known more commonly as the network that transports energy to the body parts. With the transporting functions, the meridian system is also known as the “energy highway” (Tong Jum Chew PTE LTD, 2017).

What are the 12 major meridians?


          There are twelve major meridians. The ancient Chinese named the 12 meridians after body organs, Yin or Yang, and arms or legs where they pass through. These organs are interconnected and correspond to one another with signals to ensure balance within the human body and the smooth flow of the Qi. 

          Six yin-meridians are located in the inner regions of the arms, legs, chest, and torso, and the other six yang-meridians are located in the outer areas of the arms, legs, head, and torso (AMC, 2017). The three yin-meridians are the Heart, Lung, and Pericardium in the arms. There are also three yin-meridians of the legs: Liver, Kidney, and Spleen. The three yang-meridians of the arms are the Small Intestine, Large Intestine, and Triple Burner (San Jiao). Besides, the three-yang meridians of the legs are the Urinary Bladder, Gallbladder, and Stomach (AMC, 2017). 

          There is a specific time flow and sequence to the meridian system known as the Meridian Flow Wheel. The wheel starts at 3 a.m. and restarts at that time as well (The Family Healing Spot, LLC, 2012). 

3:00 AM - 5:00 AM: Lung (Yin) 

The Lung governs the Qi and respiration. It regulates water content in the body, such as pores and sweat. 

5:00 AM - 7:00 AM: Large Intestine (Yang)

The Large Intestine converts impure food and water that the body receives into wastes.

7:00 AM - 9:00 AM: Stomach (Yang)

The Stomach digests food and water and sends the nutritional food into the Small Intestines. 

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM: Spleen (Yin)

The Spleen receives the food and transfers the nutrients to the blood. It controls the blood flow in the vessels, muscles, and limbs, and increases the Qi flow.

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Heart (Yin)

The Heart deals with blood, blood vessels, and blood circulation.

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Small Intestine (Yang)

The Small Intestines receive food and send wastes to the Large Intestine.

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Bladder (Yang)

The Bladder stores waste in body fluids. 

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Kidney (Yin)

The Kidney governs birth, growth, development, and reproduction. It makes bone marrow, sends energy to the brain to create memories, helps with concentration and thinking; increases physical and mental health

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Pericardium (Yin)

The Pericardium governs the blood and protects the Heart. 

9:00 PM - 11:00 PM: Triple Burner (Sanjiao) (Yang)

The Triple Burner or San Jiao is similar to the lymphatic system, which helps eliminate the toxins and wastes in the body.

11:00 PM - 1:00 AM: Gallbladder (Yang)

The Gallbladder stores the bile in the digestive system.

1:00 AM - 3:00 AM: Liver (Yin)

The Liver regulates the bile and blood flow.

What are the functions of the meridian system?


          The meridian system builds a connection between the organs, sending signals to one another. For example, it can send alerts for the body to raise its temperature, regulate emotions, release excess water, and other indicators. The meridian system is also a way for the organs to communicate with one another and balance their functions. This energy channel system also ensures the proper flow of the Qi without blockages (Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, n.d.). These functions of the meridian system guarantee a person’s overall health, from body, mind, and spirit.

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Acupuncture and Massage College, (2017, September 17). Meridians in traditional Chinese medicine? |AMC-Miami, Florida.

Shen-Nong, (n.d). What is the meridian system?

The Family Healing Spot, LLC, (2012, December 29). The 12 main meridians.


Tong Jum Chew PTE LTD, (2017). What is the meridian system in traditional Chinese medicine?


Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, (n.d.). Meridian connection.

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