What are meridians

The Meridians

“What are Meridians?” is a question that is often asked. The meridians, or channels, are Qi (energy) pathways which form a network which interconnect all parts of the body at a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the body has twelve main meridians, each part of a pairing of Yin and Yang Organs. There are also various collateral and sub-collateral meridians throughout the body, as well as the Exceptional Vessels. The meridians can be thought of as rivers that carry the Qi around the system, while the Exceptional Vessels can be seen as reservoirs. Each meridian is also linked to the others by the collateral meridians.


The meridian pairings are: –

Heart Small Intestine
Heart Governor Triple Warmer
Spleen Stomach
Lung Large Intestine
Kidney Bladder
Liver Gall Bladder


It can, immediately, be seen from this that, anatomically, we do not have a “heart governor”, or a “triple warmer” organ. Even though the meridians are associated with the physical organs they are involved in a much wider role.


Meridian Functions

For example, the Spleen meridian has the following functions: –

  1. Governs Transformation and Transportation.
  2. Controls the blood, i.e. Keeping it within the blood vessels and making blood from food.
  3. Controls the muscles and the limbs.
  4. Controls the rising Qi (maintaining a balance with the Stomach meridian role in the controlling of descending Qi).
  5. Houses the thought (Yi): thinking, studying, and concentration.

As the function of the meridians is to transport Qi throughout the body system, it can be seen that any blockages within the meridians will cause problems. The ancient medical text Neijing states: “The function of the channel (meridian) is to transport the Qi and blood and circulate yin and yang to nourish the body.” Various blockages, dependant on the particular meridians and points will cause various ailments. This can mean that, where diagnosed, blockages can be treated before that illness becomes fully manifest. As stated, the Qi flow in the meridians affects us at a physiological, psychological, and spiritual (consciousness) level.

The most basic meridian theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine: “As long as Qi flows freely through the meridians and the Organs work in harmony, the body can avoid disease.”



Spleen meridian

What are meridians? Diadgram of the Spleen meridian