Dating back to ancient Eastern medicine, meridians are thought to be a system of channels in which energy travels through the body, to muscles and organs. These energy highways, so to speak, provide a roadmap for acupuncturists to stimulate areas that need healing and improvement, combining ancient wisdom with modern perspectives. Understanding the meridians in the body is essential to the efficacy of acupuncture treatments and, in this framework, maintaining them is essential for strength, health and overall well-being.
What Are Meridians in The Body?
As defined by the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture is the process of manipulating and healing the meridians to help draw energy where it’s needed in the body. This is done by using small needles inserted into the body at critical points along the meridians. Acupuncturists may then manipulate the needles gently to make sure that the energy flows in the correct direction. Acupuncture is an effective way to manage a variety of pains and aches and can be used to treat the symptoms of chemotherapy, as well. Many people also report feeling energized after an acupuncture session. This would ostensibly be due to the energy, or qi, flowing properly along their meridians to deliver energy and prevent blockages that can lead to pain or illness. Meridians in the body are also thought to become blocked by stress, nutritional deficiencies or other issues that might impact both mind and body.
How Did It Start?
The theory of meridians was discovered more than 3000 years ago, according to a blog post from Seattle acupuncturist Dr. Derek Kirham, though no one is sure about the exact origin of the science. The flows, blockages, and disruptions of the Qi were discovered around this time, and people became eager to manipulate them to restore their desired flow for health. This led to the development of acupuncture. The practice of acupuncture has changed quite a bit over the centuries, but the fundamental theory—assisting the proper movement of energies through the meridians to achieve better overall health—remains the same.
What Does Science Say?
As with many things in the divide between Eastern and Western medicine, the West has lagged behind, but, according to the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, has recently begun accepting and finding a scientific basis for meridians related to the central and peripheral nervous system. The current scientific perspective is that the meridians are closely tied to the functioning of the central nervous system and that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system in beneficial and healing ways. Whether you subscribe to the Eastern or Western perspective, as Johns Hopkins Medicine points out, they both agree that acupuncture positively affects both the body and mind. Whether you believe that it works through manipulating qi and the meridians or through stimulating the nervous system and drawing nutrients and blood to the desired areas, evidence shows it works and provides relief to those who are suffering from various ailments.
Maintaining Meridians at Home
Although acupuncture was explicitly developed to use the meridians system or achieve specific outcomes, there are things you can do to help channel and maintain energy flow along your meridians at home, too. According to a wellandgood.com piece from Rachel Lapidos, one of the most effective ways to maintain your meridians at home is with yin yoga. This style of yoga involves moving more slowly and holding positions rather than moving quickly through them. It’s a great way to open up the body and, in turn, the meridians. This is a more accessible form of yoga than what you may experience at your local fitness center, but it’s still extremely effective and has a number of positive effects. Caring.com says good food and frequent exercise is another way to keep your qi as healthy as possible and ensure your energy is flowing well. Try to eat healthy organic food, and make sure to avoid an excess of raw vegetables as cooked ones contribute more qi to your body. Ensure you’re getting frequent exercise at a solid pace to build up your body’s natural reserves of energy.
- Have you tried acupuncture before?
- No way, I’m scared of needles.
- What’s your opinion of acupuncture therapy?
- It works wonders.
- It hasn’t worked for me
- Not sure