In acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine the energy of the body or qi is thought to flow through channels in the body called meridians. When the meridian is blocked the flow of qi is disrupted and ill health results.
The basic theory behind acupuncture and acupressure is that applying pressure to specific points on the body will release the Qi and restore health. Therefore knowledge of acupuncture meridians is crucial to practicing both acupressure and acupuncture.
Types of Acupuncture Meridian
Each acupuncture meridian is believed to be related to a particular organ in the body. Pressing certain points on the body is supposed to relieve pressure and help with problems in the organ.
The main acupuncture meridians are related to the heart, lung, kidney, gallbladder, spleen, small intestine, stomach, large intestine, urinary bladder and two organs found only in Chinese medicine. The two organs found only in traditional Chinese medicine are the san jiao or three heater and the pericardium or heart protector.
The standard teaching is that there are 12 such meridians in the body. These make up a network that takes Qi or energy to every point in the body. There are also eight extraordinary channels, each of which is a special acupuncture meridian that services as a reservoir of qi. The eight extraordinary channels are considered to have a strong relationship to the kidneys.
The standard theory of acupuncture in traditional Chinese Medicine postulates that there are 400 acupuncture points. The points are places where properly asserted pressure can affect the flow of Qi in the body.
Each point is supposed to affect a different acupuncture meridian and a different organ or part of the body. Asserting different amounts of pressure upon the points is supposed to affect the body in different ways. The standard usage of acupuncture points is to prevent pain.
Standard acupuncture charts show both the meridians and the points. Many modern acupuncture practitioners use a variety of electronic devices to locate the points and put pressure upon them. These devices include acusensors and scanning devices.
Science and Acupuncture
Many doctors and other modern medical professionals have embraced acupuncture in the form of medical acupuncture. The standard belief in medical acupuncture is that putting pressure on different points in the body causes the relief of chemicals that affect the nervous system.
Medical acupuncture generally does not accept the idea of acupuncture meridians but it does accept acupuncture points. The reason that acupuncture meridians are not accepted in medical acupuncture is that medical acupuncture does not accept the idea of Qi.
In medical acupuncture putting pressure on certain points in the body is believed to release certain chemicals that have a certain affect on the body. Generally these chemicals are believed to relieve certain sensations such as pain.
The general use of medical acupuncture is the relief pain and symptoms of disease. In some cases acupuncture is used to make a person undergoing a treatment such as chemotherapy more comfortable.
Some medical acupuncture practitioners will tolerate the ideas of qi and meridians as long as they do not harm patients.
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