Whether you’ve tried acupuncture yourself, or just seen it pictured in photographs or on TV as a practice where one lays on their stomach while someone covers their body in needles (ouch! Or so you think…) there is something to be said for this incredible, healing and ancient practice. This mysterious practice is actually a key component to alternative medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. To receive an acupuncture treatment for certain points, or meridians in your body will be stimulated with the slight penetration of a needle. Once the needle is in place in the proper meridian, or affected area the acupuncturist can apply heat and/or pressure. There are also several types of acupuncture; Electroacupuncture sends an electrical current through the needles to stimulate pressure points during acupuncture, Sonopuncture applies sound waves to the acupuncture points, Acupressure follows the same principle as acupuncture, but it uses pressure rather than needles, Moxibustion uses heat to stimulate acupoints and “Cupping,” which places heated jars or cups over the skin.
If you are able to look at a visual diagram or reference guide of the meridian points, you’ll notice the correlation between the physical body and where energy could pool and manifest. While we may not be able to see the energy, we all know what it FEELS like when it’s in our body. The “pit of your stomach,” or a “lump in your throat.” While our emotions are verbalized in these terms, they line up with meridian or chakra points in our bodies as well. Acupuncture has been seen as effective in everything from reducing stress, insomnia, and mental cravings to more serious issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and high blood pressure. Acupuncture has been known to treat a wide variety of ailments in various types of people and age ranges.
While there are certainly some doubts about acupuncture’s effectiveness, the Western view or mindset could accredit the positive impact by noting that acupuncture is actually stimulating the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. These chemicals dull pain, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions.
So What Are the Meridians and Where Are They?
A meridian is essentially a point in your body from which energy flows. In Chinese medicine this life force energy is called “qi.” Qi is the energy that connects all spirit, people and energy. It is the Universal energetic flow. About 5,000 years ago Chinese doctors mapped these meridian lines, with this understanding, acupuncture was developed to balance Chi. The “Qi” or energy circulates throughout the body and through specific meridians that intersect all the Chakra systems in your body. In various cultures this has been called different things; Prana, Shakti, Chi, Spirit, subtle energy, etc. Chakras, are typically related to Hindu practices and consist of seven centers in your body where pools of energy form and manifest.
The meridian network, or “Qi Channel,” is typically divided into 2 categories, the jingmai or meridian channels and the luomai or associated vessels (sometimes called “collaterals”). There are about 400 acupuncture points, most of which are situated along the major 20 pathways or the 12 primary & 8 extraordinary channels, above. The twelve principal meridians all have the Yin and the Yang. Each Yin meridian or organ, is associated with a Yang meridian or viscus. See below:
- Lung (Yin) – Large Intestine (Yang)
- Stomach (Yang) – Spleen (Yin)
- Heart (Yin) – Small Intestine (Yang)
- Bladder (Yang) – Kidney (Yin)
- Pericardium (Yin) – Triple Burner (Yang)
- Gall Bladder (Yang) – Liver (Yin)
There are also 8 extraordinary channels, also called extraordinary
meridians, two of which have their own sets of points. The extraordinary channels are considered to be storage vessels or reservoirs of energy. The Governing Vessel, located in the spine, corresponds to Sushumna the main channel through which flows Kundalini, a primary energy which evolves in the center of the spinal cord from the sacrum to the top of the head.
- Governing Vessel Du Mai (Yang)
- Conception Vessel Ren Mai (Yin)
Emotions and Your Meridians
Within each meridian, or organ, there’s also specific emotions that typically manifest in the specific organ or body part. Note that the physical organ often goes beyond that specific organ and into other areas, i.e. The lung also affects the skin, kidney’s affect the adrenals and the endocrine system and so on. Below is a look at what energy and feelings can arise in the individual meridians per EFT Master Eloisa Ramos:
Listed below are the twelve primary energy meridians, their time periods and the main emotions linked with them:
- LUNG MERIDIAN (3am – 5am); grief, intolerance
- LARGE INTESTINE MERIDIAN (5am – 7am); guilt
- STOMACH MERIDIAN (7am – 9am); disgust, greed
- SPLEEN MERIDIAN (9am – 11am); worry, anxiety about the future
- HEART MERIDIAN (11am – 1pm); joy, anger
- SMALL INTESTINE MERIDIAN (1pm – 3pm); insecurity, sadness
- BLADDER MERIDIAN (3pm – 5pm); fright, impatient, restless
- KIDNEY MERIDIAN (5pm – 7pm); fear, indecision
- PERICARDIUM/CIRCULATION-SEX (7pm – 9pm); hurt, extreme joy, jealousy, regret
- TRIPLE WARMER/THYROID MERIDIAN (9pm – 11pm); hopelessness, depression, despair
- GALL BLADDER MERIDIAN (11pm – 1am); rage, wrath
- LIVER MERIDIAN (1am – 3am); anger, unhappiness
As you can see, each emotion “lives” in a specific area of the body. Any of this sound or rather, “feel” familiar? The more in tune you become in your body through practices such as meditation, yoga and other alternative Chinese healing techniques, you are able to identify where the physical ailment is sprouting from in your energetic and emotional body.
Should I Try it?
While acupuncture is often used to aid in a physical ailment, nausea or reduce pain, there’s also the healing of emotional manifestations that can be treated. Some studies believe that the healing effects of acupuncture are related to a placebo effect, or reduction of pain due to the psychological impact of the ritual. Either way, if you’re healing, you’re healing! As Carolyn Myss said in her book Anatomy of Spirit, “biography equals biology.” The idea of East meeting West is a good one to embrace, the more you’re able to receive and surrender to a new experience that is calming,
So, if you’re struggling with an emotion related to sadness or rage, you may find that you’re feeling the physical sensations in the meridian points listed above. The longer these energetic centers are ignored, the more energy manifests there, the more likely you’ll be able to correlate the physical and emotional issue. If you’re looking for more research on Acupuncture, the best option for you is to meet with an acupuncturist, do the research online to find the best in your area, then be willing and open for a new experience.