Thursday, July 18, 2024

Channels in Acupuncture

There are 14 main channels (meridian) running vertically up and down the surface of the body. Out of this, there are 12 organ channels in each half of the body (i.e. paired) and two midline (unpaired). These are connected by collaterals running horizontally and obliquely. In this net work vital energy circulates in a definite time-sequence.  

There are two categories of organs associated with the 12 organ channels. 

'Zang' or solid organs having assimilative and storage functions. These are the heart, lungs, spleen, liver and kidneys. 

'Fu' or hollow organs having eliminative functions. These are the stomach, large intestine, small intestine, Urinary bladder and gall bladder. 

The 12 paired channels originate in these organs and are named after them. All channels originating from the Zang organs are YIN (negative) and those originating from the Fu organs are Yang (positive).

Chart showing cycle of CHI flow, Polarity and time of optimum flow.



Time of Optimum Flow



3a.m to 5.a.m

Large Intestine


5a.m to 7 a.m.



7a.m to 9a.m



9a.m to 11a.m



11a.m to 1p.m

Small Intestine


1p.m to 3p.m

Urinary bladder


3p.m to 5p.m



5p.m to 7p.m



7p.m to 9p.m

Triple Warmer


9p.m to 11p.m

Gall Bladder


11p.m to 1a.m



1a.m to 3a.m

In the upper limbs there are three YIN channels starting from the chest and ending at the finger tips. They are the lung, pericardium and heart channels and three Yang channels, namely the large intestine, triple warmer and small intestine starting from the back of the fingers and ending on the face.

Three other Yang Channels, the stomach, gall bladder and urinary bladder, start from the face, extended along the trunk, back and sides of the leg to end at the toes. Three other Yin channels, the liver, spleen and kidney start from the toes, run over the medial (inside) aspect of the leg and thigh and end at the chest. 

Two mid line meridians are the 'Conception vessel meridian' (Ren Mai) and the 'Governing vessel meridian' (Du mai). The conception vessel runs from the mid point of the perineum over the abdomen, navel and the chest and ends at the root of the tongue. The governing vessel starts from behind the anus, runs over the Sacrum, spinal column, nape of the neck passes over the head and front of the face, and ends in the mouth behind the upper lip.

The starting and end points of the meridians or channels on the fingers and toes are called 'Jing-Well points'. They are very useful pressure points in the emergencies and fainting attacks since changes of energy polarity occur here.

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