What Are Life Force Energy Meridians?

Published: Jul 2, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

TCM- Acupuncture Meridians

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There’s a common conception — called Vitalism — in a broad range of traditional healing systems that there’s a mysterious and omnipresent Life Force Energy (or Life Energy) that creates, animates, and sustains all living and non-living phenomena in the universe. It’s thought that this Life Energy enters the human body through the consumption of food, sunlight, breathing, and barefoot contact with the Earth.

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Notably in Eastern traditional medicine systems, there’s a persistent idea that this Life Energy (called Prana, Qi, Chi, Ki, Lom Pran, among other terms) is distributed across the body through Life Force Energy Meridians. These Meridians are also called Life Force Channels, Canals, or Pathways.

For instance, in India’s Yoga and Ayurveda the Life Energy Pathways in the body are called Nadis, in Thailand they’re known as the Sen Energy Lines, in China as the Meridians or Vessels (Jīngluò or Mai), and in Tibet they’re called rTsa or Tsa.

Nevertheless, these Life Energy Channels or Pathways are not visible to the human eye, neither can they be discerned with technical equipment or otherwise. Today — in our more rationalized, technical-scientific world — many have tried to explain the Life Force Meridians as an ancient way of describing part of the human anatomy, stating that the Channels probably referred to the nervous system, blood vessels, lymphatic system, and/or myofascial network.

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Practitioners of Eastern traditional medicine systems refute this notion and insist that those are the gross aspects (material aspects) of a more subtle body (etheric aspects), the latter consisting of Life Force Energy and the Meridians it’s distributed through. Moreover, this Life Force Energy — as stated in the first paragraph of this article — creates, animates, and sustains the gross body and precedes it.

Hence, Life Energy is indispensable for life processes and through its large number of primary and minor Channels reaches each and every cell in the body. An important idea here is that Channels can get broken, injured, and/or blocked, which results in insufficient Life Energy supply in certain parts of the body, which subsequently causes discomforts or illnesses. Therefore, keeping the Life Force Pathways open and healthy is a primary goal of aforementioned traditional medicine systems.

In addition, it’s thought that one finds special locations in the Life Force Network that distribute or transform Life Energy. For instance, in Yoga these locations are known as Chakras and in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) as Dantian. There are also numerous smaller Energy Centers, commonly known as Acupressure Points, which — like the Channels — can get obstructed i.e. dysfunctional. In fact, all these energy locations have special functions, geared towards certain parts of our body, emotional, and mental system.

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To maintain, manipulate, and treat the Energy Channels and Acupressure Points a great variety of methods and techniques have been developed, which include practices like massage, Yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, dietary prescriptions, herbal solutions, lifestyle systems, exercises, postures and poses, breathwork, mantras, visualizations, and meditation, to name some of the important ones.

At any rate, each distinct traditional healing systems has developed their own preferred treatments, alongside their own interpretations of the Life Force Energy Channels, that is, their total number, the number of primary and minor Channels and their specific functions, and the types and number of Energy Centers and Acupressure Points. And although all these systems have many aspects in common, it merits to study them all to get a more in-depth idea of this fascinating domain.

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