By Hayley Stobbs R.Ac.
What Are Acupuncture Meridians?
Meridians are networks of channels that can be metaphorically visualized in a variety of ways, for ex. a system of roots, trunks, branches, and stems.
The functional mapping of meridians is similar to patterns of the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems. Anatomically they are found along fascial planes throughout the entire body.
Meridians are conduits of your body's electromagnetic field and acupuncture works to regulate this energy. The meridian energy flow and balance is crucial as it influences the functioning of cells, organs, blood and lymph circulation, and nervous system conductivity.
How Acupuncturists Assess Meridian Pathways
You may wonder why your acupuncturist palpates (feels) pathways along your limbs, or asks you to point to areas of pain or discomfort. Here we are applying meridian theory based on classical principles in ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) texts. When there is illness, physical injury, and/or mental-emotional stress, the natural flow of qi is impeded within the meridian system. We can often feel disharmony along pathways that are imbalanced, via knots, tight tissue, sunken areas, and other characteristics. Feedback of painful palpated points (ah shi points) further guides treatment.
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