|This Series On The Chinese Meridians includes:|
Introduction | Meridian Definition | Meridian System Or Network Of Body Meridians | The 12 Meridians And Meridian Chart | Main Physical And Psychological Relationships For The 12 Meridians | Radiant Energy Field
Classifying The 12 Main Chinese Meridians | Yin And Yang Energy Meridians | Arm And Leg Meridians | The Chinese Meridian Clock
Relative Qualities Of The 12 Meridians (chart) | The Eight Extraordinary Vessels | Summary Of The Eight Extraordinary Vessels (Chart) | Chinese Transversal Lo Vessels
Meridian Tracing | Donna Eden’s Meridian Tracing Videos | ‘Naughty’ Meridian Videos Resource | Awesome Acupuncture And Meridian Charts | The Chinese Meridians Controversy
Now that you’re pleasantly relaxed after the Radiant Energy Field exercise at the end of part one, are you ready to dive back into the mysteries of the Chinese meridians? This second part of the series reveals how the primary 12 meridians are classified. Find out which ones carry yin or yang energy, and whether they travel in your arm or leg. It’s not always how you’d expect it to be. Then check out the awesome meridian clock. The fact that we have all these different types of energy channels is amazing enough, but to think that they work to a schedule is mind-blowing.
Classifying The 12 Main Chinese Meridians
Have you noticed how people like to classify and group things? Maybe it’s to make them easier to remember. Maybe it helps to understand the nature of the element they’re dealing with. Whatever the reason, the ancient Chinese were masters at this. Who else would be able to clock the rise and fall of subtle energies with such precision?
They sorted, grouped and labelled every tiny component of the meridian system that was so important to their concept of health and healing.
As you’ll see below, the 12 meridians are classified according to:
- the predominant energy or chi (qi) that they carry, making them either yin, or yang meridians.
- the limb that they travel through, making them either arm or leg meridians. It’s equally acceptable to call them hand or foot meridians, (as in the clock diagram further down the page). The hands and feet are transition zones, where the energy gradually changes from yin to yang, or yang to yin.
The combination of these factors creates
Four Groups of Chinese Meridians:
YIN ARM YIN LEG
YANG ARM YANG LEG
Yin And Yang Energy Meridians
YIN MERIDIANS. Yin energy flows up the front and medial, or inner, aspect of the body (this is assuming a posture with the arms raised above the head).
Yin organs, for example the liver and heart, are referred to as ‘solid’ organs.
* * * * *
YANG MERIDIANS. Yang energy flows down the back and lateral, or outer, aspect of the body, except the stomach channel which is on the front.
Yang organs, for example the stomach and intestines, are referred to as ‘hollow’ organs.
Arm And Leg Meridians
As you’ll see in the chart below, there are an equal number of meridians in the upper and lower limbs.
Traditional Chinese Medicine divides the six arm meridians into three yin, or upward flowing; and three yang, or downward flowing, energy channels.
Likewise, the six leg meridians are divided into three yin (upward flowing) and three yang (downward flowing) energy channels.
|Yin and Yang|
|In your fingers||In your toes|
|Yin Energy Flows||Up your arms to your fingers*||Up your legs to your torso|
|Yang Energy Flows||Down your arms to your chest*||Down your legs to your toes|
|Yin Meridians||The 3 YIN Arm Meridians that carry chi from your chest to your hand are the:||The 3 YIN Leg Meridians|
that carry chi from your foot to your chest are the:
|Yang Meridians||The 3 YANG Arm Meridians that carry chi from your hand to your face are the:||The 3 YANG Leg Meridians that that carry chi from your face to your foot are the:|
The Chinese Meridian Clock, Or Horary Cycle
This is where it gets a bit bizarre, to western ways of thinking. The main meridians are intricately linked by times of ebb and flow activity; whether they are vessels for yin energy or yang energy; and whether they flow through the arm or leg.
Chi Flow In The 12 Meridians
Chi ebbs and flows in the meridians following a specific sequence of activation every 24 hours, known as the Horary Cycle, or more commonly, the meridian clock. Horary simply means, relating to one or more hours, or hourly, from the Latin word horarius.
As strange as it seems, each of the energy channels operates at peak performance for 2 hours, and then the ‘work’ shifts to the next one for 2 hours, and so on around the clock, always in the same sequence and timing.
Imagine Gated Sections:
Have you ever been on a river boat that had to pass through a lock, at a weir or dam? It enters the gated section at one level, the gates are closed, and water is channeled in or out to bring the water to the same level as the next stretch of river.
Why do I bring this up? Well, it could be just an excuse to show a photo of the beautiful Rhone river in France, but that’s not the reason.
I had a bit of an ah-hah moment while I was creating the clock diagram below. Since the Chinese meridians have been compared to a giant river system of connecting channels, I thought that the concept of river locks might be a way of illustrating how the flow of chi could be regulated.
You have valves in your blood vessels to regulate the flow of blood around your body, so why not have something similar for the chi channels.
So… check out the clock diagram below and, if you like the idea, imagine that the ring of meridians is a circular canal or river, with 12 gated sections or ‘locks’.
It’s 3am and the gate to the lung section of the canal is opened, allowing water (think chi) to flow into the first lock and, because the gate at 5am is shut, the water level rises. After two hours, the 5am gate is raised allowing water to flow into the ‘large intestine lock’. When this level reaches its peak, the 7am gate is opened, and energy flows on into the ‘stomach lock’. This sequential energy rise in each of the sections continues on around the clock indefinitely.
Of course, this is just an illustration, (not an exact description) of how the energy flows from one channel to another.
Six Element Pairs – Adjacent Sections Of The Clock
There are three defining characteristics of the element pairs. Each one…
- Has A Single Chinese Element. Each of the 12 meridians is associated with one of the five Chinese elements of earth, fire, water, wood or metal. The Horary Cycle places two adjacent energy channels in the same element, thus creating element pairs. You’ll notice in the clock diagram above, that there is one pair for each of the elements except fire, which has two.
- Includes A Yang And A Yin Energy Meridian. For example, the wood element (the green one) is made up of the gall bladder (yang) and liver (yin) vessels.
- Has Either Arm Or Leg Meridians. These two groups do not mix in the element pairs. They are EITHER one or the other, but never both. For example, the wood element consists of two leg (foot) channels, but the metal element has two arm ones.
Please Note: There is a chart in part 3 that shows all of the characteristics of the 12 meridians, from the clock, in an easy to read table format.
Opposite Pairs – Across The Meridian Clock
There are four factors involved in these energy channel pairs that share the same time segment for morning and night.
- Level of Activation When one of the meridians is at peak activation, its opposite is at its least active. For example, looking at the 3 to 5 time slot – in the morning, when the lung channel is most energised; the bladder channel, (in the equivalent afternoon time slot), is least active, and vice versa.
- Yin and Yang Energy. The opposite pairs in the meridian clock always include one yin and one yang vessel. Using the earlier example, you’ll notice that the lung channel carries yin energy, and the bladder carries yang energy.
- Both Limbs Are Represented. The opposite pairs always include one arm and one leg meridian. From the same example, the lung channel travels to the hand and the bladder channel travels to the foot. In other words, when energy is flowing most strongly in one of the upper limb vessels, it is at its weakest in one of the lower limb ones, and vice versa.
- Different Chinese Elements. There are no opposite pairs that are from the same element. They are always different.
These factors remain consistent for every pair across the meridian clock. Each one always includes one arm and one leg channel; one yin energy and one yang energy channel; one meridian at peak activation, and one that is the least active of all the 12; and they never share the same element.
Four-Hourly Changes In The Meridian Clock
Three aspects of the clock change four-hourly, creating a continuous cycling of life force energy from upper to lower body, and back again; from yin to yang energy; and from one element to the next. This is summarised in the following table.
Chinese Meridian Clock – Four-hourly Relationships
|2 hour Time slots||Upper Body (Arm) Or|
Lower Body (Leg)
|Chinese Element||Yin or Yang|
|3am to 5am||Upper Body||Metal||Yin|
|5am to 7am||Upper Body||Metal||Yang|
|7am to 9am||Lower Body||Earth||Yang|
|9am to 11am||Lower Body||Earth||Yin|
|11am to 1pm||Upper Body||Fire||Yin|
|1pm to 3pm||Upper Body||Fire||Yang|
|3pm to 5pm||Lower Body||Water||Yang|
|5pm to 7pm||Lower Body||Water||Yin|
|7pm to 9pm||Upper Body||Fire||Yin|
|9pm to 11pm||Upper Body||Fire||Yang|
|11pm to 1am||Lower Body||Wood||Yang|
|1am to 3am||Lower Body||Wood||Yin|
The 12 meridians are classified according to: which energy they predominantly carry (yin or yang); and which limb they are associated with (arm or leg). This creates four separate groups.
The meridian clock idea cleverly reveals the timed relationships that exist between: yin energy and yang energy; arm and leg meridians; the most active and least active channels; and the five Chinese elements.
However, all of these categories, pairings and scheduling can be a bit confusing, and it’s a lot to take in.
Since it’s my goal to make this as clear as possible for you, as I mentioned before, I’ve created another chart to summarise ALL of the qualities discussed so far. You’ll find it in part 3.