Chi (Qi) is the energy of life. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chi is accepted as the force that animates and informs everything. It flows through the meridians, invisible energy pathways, in the human body. There are twelve meridians distributed in the body and chi flows through this network. Each one of the meridians are related to a specific organ system. Meridian networks connect the meridians to each other as well connecting all body parts to each other. In addition to this belief, meridians also connect the inside to outside and upper part of the body to the lower part. Meridians are the way that the organs communicate with each other. That’s why it’s necessary and very important to keep these meridians clean. People can become sensitive to feel the flow of chi with appropriate training.
Meridians create a strong information system in each organ in addition to their own information systems. They transfer chi to the organ systems while maintaining the information transfer within these systems. It’s interesting that the meridians are sensitive to time and place. They reflect the changing energy due to change of seasons, night-day and climate and they adapt accordingly. As long as the meridian system functions well, the soul and the feelings are healthy and balanced with the body.
Chi, which is defined in the West as the energy of life, actually, has a deeper meaning. Chi has two meanings. One meaning is the power or force while the other one is knowledge and consciousness. Each organ system has its own chi. According to Western medicine, organ systems can achieve physical functions with chi, while according to TCM, they can achieve energetic functions. This energetic function also includes the relationship of an organ system with other organs.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, blood and chi are a whole. Blood is the ‘mother’ of chi. It carries chi in addition to providing all the necessary nutritients for its movement. On the other hand, chi is the ‘commander’ of the blood. Thus, chi causes blood to circulate in the body and the information to direct the blood where it’s needed. Blood and chi influence each other and they have a dynamic that transfers several characteristics in between. For instance, when a woman gives birth, she can have a fever. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, fever can happen due to blood loss, not due to an infection. Massive blood loss generally leads to lack of chi. When there is lack of chi, the body doesn’t function appropriately and results in fever.
The Meridian Theory in TCM
In an ancient medical record Nei Jing, it says : “the role of the meridians is to feed the body by maintaining the circulation of chi, blood and Yin-Yang.” In addition to transmission of information, meridians can also transmit stimulus and respond to these stimuli. Therefore, they have the capability of bringing healing energy to the parts of the body whether far or near. This stiuation causes physiological and other changes to happen during the circulation of chi which is the reason why acupuncture and acupressure approaches are effective. The flow of chi can be increased or changed by the pressure applied by needles, fingers or hands in certain points along the meridian. Qigong is another practice of energy which affects the chi flow by using postures and movements.
The energy pathways and the related organ systems form the frame for TCM to diagnose and treat health problems. Meridians work by adjusting the body’s energy functions and keeping them in harmony. Whenever there is a malfunction, acupuncture or other therapies can stimulate the related meridian and rebalance the problematic organ.
If chi stays still in a meridian for a long time, there can be blockage which can lead to physical problems in time.
Remember, ‘as long as the chi flows freely and continuously and the meridians work in harmony with the organs, the body will be disease-free”.