Meridians agus pointí acupuncture

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Meridians agus pointí acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) names JingLuo the complex network that Qi takes to circulate in the human body. The term Jing evokes the idea of ​​paths, what we call the Meridians, while Luo evokes the multiple ramifications and crossings deriving from the main branches of the Meridians. The whole forms the “Meridian-Systems” which feed or connect the different parts of the body, and which establish connections between the viscera, buried in the organism, and the acupuncture points, on the surface of the body.

The Energy that circulates in the Meridians is called JingQi. It is made up of the different Qi which irrigate, maintain and ensure the proper functioning of the skin, muscles, tendons, bones and organs. The Meridians can thus be the mirror of the quality of the Qi which circulate in them, as well as of the balance of the multiple structures of the body to which they are connected. This is what gives them an important diagnostic power: they provide perceptible signs that reveal internal imbalances, hence the importance of observation and palpation when examining the patient.

For example, the fact that red eyes can suggest an imbalance in the level of Liver Energy is explained by the connection of the Liver Meridian with the eyes (see Headache). The notion of conductivity of the Meridians explains not only that an affection can come from a distant factor (the redness of the eyes caused by the liver), but also that the manipulation of a distant acupuncture point (which one calls distal ) manages to act on this affection: for example, a point located on the top of the foot, but belonging to the Meridian of the Liver.

Two large networks: the eight curious meridians and the 12 systems-meridians

The Eight Curious Meridians or Marvelous Vessels

The curious meridians are the main basic axes from which our incarnation comes. They manage the shaping of the human body at the time of conception and then ensure its development from childhood to adulthood. They are also called Marvelous Vessels, because they refer to something extraordinary and grandiose. In place long before the 12 Meridian-Systems, they are dependent on MingMen, the keeper of the Essences.

Curious meridians are divided into two groups: those of the trunk and those of the feet.

The four curious meridians of the trunk

These four curious meridians, also called Vessels, come from MingMen and are related to the curious entrails: reproductive organs, Marrow and Brain (see Viscera). They regulate the general circulation of Qi and Blood, the distribution of nourishing energy and defensive energy.

  • The Carrefour Vessel, ChongMai (Mai means channel), brings together Yin and Yang and ensures the transformation and equitable distribution of Qi and Blood. He is considered the mother of all Meridians. Its membership in the Earth Movement (see Five Elements) allows it to be used for the treatment of digestive problems.
  • The Conception Vessel, RenMai, intimately maintains and controls the Yin energy, which gives it, along with the Carrefour Vessel, an important role in reproduction and in the growth cycle. It is frequently used in the treatment of gynecological disorders.
  • The Governing Vessel, DuMai, controls the Yang and the Qi, hence its role of governing psychic functions and its therapeutic influence on the Yang Meridians which are found in particular in the region of the neck, in the dorsal region and in the the posterior portion of the lower limbs.
  • The Vessel Belt, DaiMai, has the function of retaining all the Meridians in their center, like a belt at the waist. It thus ensures the balance between the top and the bottom. It is used in the treatment of the abdomen and lower back, where it comes from, and also for joint problems of the extremities.
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The curious meridians of the feet

Also four in number, they come in two pairs. They extend bilaterally from the feet to the head through the trunk. The two QiaoMai Vessels, one Yin, the other Yang, govern the motor aspect of the lower limbs and control the radiance of the eyes and the opening-closing of the eyelids. The two WeiMai Vessels, also Yin and Yang, make the link between the six major energy axes of the 12 Meridian-Systems.

In clinical practice, Curious Meridians are used as a supplement to regular Meridians, or when the treatment requires drawing from the deep reservoirs of the body.

The 12 Meridian-Systems

These Meridian-Systems group together all the regular Meridians, called JingMai. They form a complex organization ensuring the circulation of the three Yin energies and the three Yang energies present in the organism. Each of the Meridian-Systems is associated not only with a specific Yin or Yang energy, but also either with the lower limbs (the Zu Meridians), or with the upper limbs (the Shou Meridians), and with specific viscera.

The Energy circulates in a loop in the Meridians, from the center to the ends, and back to the center. The circulation is done according to the energetic tides, that is to say according to a 24 hour schedule during which the Qi is in continuous circulation, irrigating one of the 12 Meridians every two hours. Each Meridian is also linked to one of the 12 Viscera, and the period when the Qi is at its peak in the Meridian bears the name of the Viscera in question. So, “Liver hour”, for example, is 1 am to 3 am.

It is also interesting to draw a parallel between the energetic tides and the recent observations of Western medicine. Lung time, for example, is when asthma attacks are most likely to occur. Just as it has been observed in Western physiology that the activation of the intestinal transit takes place between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., that is to say at the time of the Large Intestine. For the acupuncturist, the recurrence of a symptom at fixed times suggests an imbalance of the Organ associated with this period. For example, insomnia that invariably occurs at 3 a.m., transition between the liver and the lung, reveals a lack of fluidity of the qi and makes it possible to suspect that the liver is in stagnation.


Energy tides

Uair Responsible viscera Meridian Name
Tá 3 go dtí 5 pm Lung (P) Shou Tai Yin
Tá 5 go dtí 7 pm Large Intestine (GI) Shou Yang Ming
Tá 7 go dtí 9 pm Stomach (E) Zu Yang Ming
Tá 9 go dtí 11 pm Spleen / Pancreas (Rt) Zu Tai Yin
Tá 11 go dtí 13 pm Heart (C) Shou Shao Yin
Tá 13 go dtí 15 pm Small intestine (GI) Shou Tai Yang
Tá 15 go dtí 17 pm Bladder (V) Zu Tai Yang
Tá 17 go dtí 19 pm Reins (R) Zu Shao Yin
Tá 19 go dtí 21 pm Heart Envelope (EC) Shou Jue Yin
Tá 21 go dtí 23 pm Triple Heater (TR) Shou Shao Yang
Tá 23 go dtí 1 pm Gallbladder (BV) Zu Shao Yang
Tá 1 go dtí 3 pm Foie (F) Zu Jue Yin


The components of a Meridian System

Each Meridian-System is made up of five components: the skin zone, the tendino-muscular meridian, the main meridian, the secondary vessel and the distinct meridian.

In order to allow you to better understand the whole of a Meridian System, we have illustrated that of Gan, the Liver – which is called Zu Jue Yin – by detailing each of its five components.

The skin area (PiBu) is the most superficial. Constituting the energy barrier of the body, it is especially sensitive to external climatic factors. 
The tendino-muscular meridian (JingJin) is also part of the surface layer of the body, but is more particularly related to the skin, muscles and tendons. Consequently, it is mainly used in the case of musculoskeletal disorders.
The Secondary Vessel (LuoMai) has much the same role as the Primary Meridian, but provides easier access to certain Organs, Sensory Openings or areas of the body. 
It is through the Main Meridian (JingZheng) that the JingQi, the main Energy of the Organ circulates. There are the acupuncture points on which the acupuncturist will focus his interventions. 
The Distinct Meridian (JingBie) provides the Yin Yang coupling between the Organs and their corresponding Entrails (in this case, between the Liver and the Gallbladder). 
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Do Meridians Really Exist?

We must emphasize here that the Theory of Meridians was developed according to empirical knowledge. It is a complex and integrative system that has no equivalent in Western medicine, although some of its aspects occasionally seem to correspond with the circulatory, lymphatic, nervous or muscular systems with which we are familiar.

Should the Meridians be considered as a simple mnemonic tool which makes it possible to synthesize observations relating to the different physiological systems of the organism, or do they constitute a very real distinct system which still escapes the knowledge of current science? The question remains open, but acupuncturists can affirm from their daily practice that Meridian Theory provides remarkable clinical efficacy. In addition, patients regularly testify to the existence of something that precisely corresponds to the Meridians, either by the descriptions they make of the pain paths, or even when they describe the sensations caused by the placement of needles on the points. acupuncture.


Acupuncture points, energy or physiology?

The acupuncture points are the gateway to access the Energy of the Meridians. It is by the stimulation of the points – with the needle and in various other ways (see Tools) – that the acupuncturist acts on the circulation of Energy and takes care to strengthen it where it is lacking, or on the contrary to disperse it when it is in excess. (See Five Elements.)

There are 361 points distributed over the Meridians, of which 309 are bilateral. They have both a name in yin pin (writing in Chinese with our alphabet) and a number associated with a letter. This designates the Meridian on which the point is located, and the number relates to the position of the point on the Meridian, respecting the direction of the energy circulation. For example, Zu San Li is also named 36E, because it is the 36th point on the Meridian of the Stomach. This numbering system was created to facilitate the use of points, since formerly only their names were listed. The meaning of the names of the points relates to their location, to their function, or evokes a poetic image; thus, the point “fish belly” (YuJi) received this name, because it is on a prominence of the palm at the base of the thumb (the thenar eminence), often of bluish color.

The accumulated empirical experience of the great masters and more recently the cultural revolution of the 1950s allowed the discovery of approximately 400 points located outside the paths of the Meridians. These points are usually designated by their name in yin pin which most often designate specific functions, such as DingChuan whose meaning literally means “stops asthma” and which is used specifically to treat asthma attacks.

Scientists have long been intrigued by the question of the precise location of acupuncture points and their possible anatomical reality. They would like to understand why, for example, the stimulation of a point on the little toe – listed in classical Chinese writings as having an impact on vision – does indeed activate the occipital visual area of ​​the cortex, as has been said. demonstrated recent experiments using digital imaging devices. Because, if TCM explains the action of acupuncture in an essentially energetic way, it seems that there are particular anatomical characteristics and unique to acupuncture points.

One of the first scientists to explore this avenue was Yoshio Nakatani who, in 1950 in Japan, discovered that the electrical conductivity of acupuncture points was higher than that of surrounding tissues. Subsequent research, including that of Pruna Ionescu-Tirgoviste, in 1990, confirmed this hypothesis in addition to discovering other electrical phenomena specific to acupuncture points1.

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Another researcher, Serge Marchand, demonstrated the analgesic effect of electrostimulation of distal points, reinforcing the idea of ​​a link between the nervous system and the location of the points2. Finally, very recently, Hélène Langevin observed that the density of the interstitial connective tissue of the dermis and the muscles is higher at the acupuncture points3. There would therefore be physiological foundations that would allow us to explain the mechanisms behind the observations and empirical deductions that the Chinese had started to make 5 years ago.

Point families

In addition to their classification according to the Meridian to which they belong, the points are divided into families defining their energetic nature and their specific functions. It is however important to keep in mind that, although a point may have precise indications, it will always be used according to its synergistic action with other points. Prescribing points is not a universal recipe; it takes into account both the condition treated and its chronicity, the patient’s energy state and external climatic factors. The number of points, the type of association between them, the tools to be used, the operations to be carried out, and the application times will be deduced from this.

The points can be distinguished according to their local or distal action. A local point is usually used to treat a condition in the area of ​​the point, such as when treating inflammation of the bladder with points in the lower abdomen. A distal point offers the possibility of treating a pathology “at a distance”. This technique is used among others for cases of acute pain where it is impossible to directly treat the affected area. The distal points are also an integral part of a so-called “balanced” acupuncture session, where both points of the head, trunk and limbs are solicited. Seasonal allergy prevention treatment, for example, will include local spots on the head (the affected area), as well as distal spots on the ankles and forearms.

Another family is that of the “Shu” and “Mu” points (see Palper). They make it possible to effectively treat the affections of the viscera without having to use the meridians of the entrails or of the organs concerned. The Shu points, all located on the first chain of the Meridian of the Bladder, which irrigates the back, are used to balance the Yang, therefore the functions of the Organs.

The Mu points (see opposite), by their location on the Yin side of the body, i.e. the abdomen and the thorax, give access to the structural aspect of an Organ and will be used to nourish the Yin of this one. .

Some points have been identified because of… modesty. At the time of the Han (206 BC – 220 AD), when it was forbidden to undress completely in front of your doctor, a system of distal points was developed, the Jing points, still widely used today. They constitute control points for the five Movements (Wood, Fire, Metal, Water and Earth) on each of the Meridians (see Five Elements). Each Viscera having its Meridian, so they alone allow the regulation of the Organs, in accordance with the Theory of the five Elements. For example, on the Liver Meridian, one can stimulate the Fire point to relieve symptoms associated with an Excess “Fire” in this Organ.

To these families are added several other types of points, each offering therapeutic particularities. Here are the main ones: the Luo points, located on the Main Meridian (LuoMai) of each Organ, allow precise anatomical zones to be reached; Yuan points make it possible to regulate the use of the original Energy of each Meridian and of the functions and Organs associated with it; Xi points, called emergency points, are used to treat an organ in acute crisis.

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