The System of Meridians

The Chinese, in the 3rd millennium B.C., posited the existence of a vital energy which they called Chi (life force, life energy)All matter, animate and inanimate, is composed of and pervaded with this universal energy.

Same as we need blood to flow freely through our body’s circulatory system we also need Chi to flow freely through our system of meridians. Simplified one can say that the meridians are the equivalent of our blood vessels but instead of transporting blood this system transports Chi or life energy. Sickness can occur when there is a blockage in the meridians and the Chi no longer can flow freely or when the yin and yang balance of the Chi is disturbed.

12 primary meridians
There are two systems of channels or meridians, namely primary and secondary meridians. Primary meridians pass through internal organs but secondary do not. There are 12 pairs of primary meridians with Chi flowing in continuous circulation through the following organs: lungs, colon, stomach, spleen, heart, intestines, urinary bladder, kidneys, pericardium, triple warmer, gall bladder and liver. The primary meridians are named by the organ they are connected to i.e. lung meridian, heart meridian etc.

Almost all points used in acupuncture and acupressure are situated along the primary meridians. Please note that just because the meridians are named according to the organs they pass through it does not mean that they only correspond to these organs and their functions. The meridians also consist of complex interrelated systems for the circulation of Chi.

Yin and Yang
This Chi contains two polar forces, the yin and the yang. When the yin and yang are balanced, the living system exhibits physical health; when they are unbalanced, a diseased state results. Overly powerful yang results in excessive organic activity. Predominate yin makes for insufficient functioning. Either imbalance results in physical illness. The ancient art of acupuncture and acupressure focuses on balancing the yin and the yang.

Reiki and the meridians
A Reiki treatment will balance the yin and yang and facilitate a smooth flow of Chi through the meridian system. Blockages in meridians can be dissolved by Reiki and help restore the body’s healthy flow of Chi.

Daoyin: 導引 ~ Chinese healing exercises

Chinese healing exercises are traditionally called Daoyin: 導引. Dao (Tao) means to regulate qi or vital energy by guiding its flow in the body. Yin means to limber up the body and limbs through physical movement.

The term dao essentially means “to guide” or “to direct,” and appears originally in a political and cultural context in the sense of “leading” the people in a certain direction. The character consists of two parts, the word Dao for “Way, ” which is often also used in the sense of “to guide,” and the word cun for “inch,” which indicates a small distance. Guiding the qi in a concrete, physical way means thus that one makes a conscious effort to establish harmony with the Dao in the body, realizing the inherent polarity of yin and yang and aligning oneself with the cosmos.

~Livia Kohn, “Chinese Healing Exercises,” p. 11

The doctrine of Daoyin: “If the energy circulates from the center to the extremities one will remain in perfect health. If one furthermore stretches and twists, this will keep the body trim.” ~Hua Tuo

“Daoyin” is the original term for health enhancing exercises now more usually referred to as “Qi Gong” (“Chi Kung”). In essence it refers to the ancient body-mind exercises which formed the physical element of “Yang Sheng”providing health care and physical and spiritual purification leading to longevity

Their exact historical origins are uncertain, but they are certainly some thousands of years old.

The first historical reference about it appears in Zhuangzi, a Taoist text written between the 4th and 2nd century BC:

Breathing in and out, exhaling and inhaling, they get rid of the old to absorb the new. They swing like bears and stretch like birds – all this they do in order to have long life. They are Daoyin disciples, people who nourish their form seeking for longevity like Pengzu.”

Many different interpretations were given to the word “daoyin” during the ages. The following two are the most reliable:

daoqi yinti – guide the qi and stretch the body
daoqi yinliao – guide the qi to obtain a healing effect

Both interpretations describe important aspects of the exercise, and do not contradict each other. The first describes the technique while the second refers to one goal of the exercise. Actually with daoyin we guide the qi and move our body in order to obtain a beneficial effect to our health.