Meridians: General Introduction

The theory of the meridians (jingluo) concerns the system of vessels that sustains the entire human body, providing the means of linking all parts of the body. “Meridians” is the general term, encompassing both jing and luo. The jing are the main meridians (or simply, meridians), which are the pathways linking the upper and lower body, the viscera (interior) and the skin, sinews, bones and other tissues (exterior). The luo are the smaller collateral branches of the main meridians; they subdivide into smaller and smaller branches, and these in turn form a network of vessels that reaches every part of the body. In the interior the meridians are intimately related to the visceral organs. In the exterior they are intimately related to the limbs and joints. Being the conduits between the interior and the exterior of the body they integrate all the organs and tissues into an organic whole. The meridian system provides the pathways for the movement of Qi and blood, for the regulation of Yin—Yang, and for the various organs to influence one another under both physiologic and pathologic conditions. The application of acupuncture and moxibustion also relies upon the meridian system.

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