Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a whole, unique system of medicine that was developed thousands of years ago. It has a very different perspective than what we know in Western culture, and these blog posts are meant to elucidate some of its theories.
It is generally believed that acupuncture started when people noticed a specific point on the body could cause a certain response. As more and more of these points were discovered, they realized that some had similarities to one another and were probably connected. These strings of points are now known as channels or meridians.
Another theory is that people discovered meridians first and then found specific points on them, which would be the same as reading the image to the left from bottom to top. Either way we're left with the same result: Your body is a system of meridians that acupuncturists use to influence your health.
You can think of your body as a web of meridians. There are fourteen that have named points that are used by acupuncturists. They vary in size, the shortest having only nine points and the longest having sixty-seven.
A common misconception is that meridians are actually blood vessels or nerves. Although acupuncture can have an effect on both the circulatory and nervous systems, the meridians are their own separate entities. However, meridians are similar to blood vessels in that they form a closed-circuit loop and are a transit system in which Qi and blood flow from your organs to the rest of your body (and back). When the meridians are blocked, everything gets thrown off balance, like when a traffic jam on a highway can cause congestion on others as everyone tries to find an alternate route. Balance is key to health, so keeping everything flowing smoothly through the meridians is of utmost importance. Work on yours at home with Qi Gong, yoga, and acupressure, but regularly schedule your acupuncture visits as well to give the body an even bigger push in the right direction!
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