Meridian therapy techniques were developed to restore energy flow through the 12 body meridians. For thousands of years, acupuncture was a mainstay for healing and energy balancing in the East. Martial arts such as tai chi and chi gong evolved as practices and energy exercises that move chi through the meridians and the body's energy system.
In recent years, these meridian therapies have gained some acceptance in
the West. Acupuncture is even allowed under some insurance policies.
With that acceptance came knowledge and the development of new techniques. Newer methods relying primarily on touch or movement are easier to learn and use by practitioners and lay people. Examples are Touch for Health, Brain Gym and meridian tapping techniques such as EFT.
Meridian therapy works in a variety of ways to release blockages and restore balance in mind and body. Restored energy flow benefits physical and mental health in many ways, including pain relief and improved learning abilities.
The 12 Body Meridians
If you are going to use meridian therapy techniques, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the 12 main body meridians and how they work.
According to TCM, meridian energy travels in pathways through the body. This chi flows continuously from one channel to another. When the flow gets compromised in some way, vitality diminishes. Corresponding tissues or organs may not function properly.
Energy pathways travel along the arms and legs and/or through the body. They are the lung, pericardium, triple warmer,large intestine, bladder,
stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, kidney, gall bladder, and
liver meridians. Their names correspond to their biological functions, not necessarily physical organs themselves. This can be a bit confusing.
Eight extra meridians function as energy storage vessels. Two that are commonly known are the central and governing meridians. The central meridian runs up the front of the body to the lower lip. The governing vessel runs up the back of the body and over the head to the upper lip.
This chart illustrating nine body meridians is from the book Touch For Health: The Complete Edition by John Thie. The
little triangles show the starting points.
5 Meridian Therapy Energy Exercises
Do the following meridian therapy techniques for yourself or someone
else. Practiced regularly, they will help keep your energetic flow in
Trace your meridians according to
the natural direction of flow to give yourself a little "energy
massage". To do this energy exercise, use your hand to trace from the
the way to the end of the line. If you can't reach a spot, that's okay.
See it in
your imagination. Switch hands when you need to. You may go over your
clothes or an inch or so above your skin. Lightly
smooth your skin in a long stroke along each line. You may feel a
tingling or pressure in your hand. Your body may feel tingly or
energized. Always trace in the direction that
strengthens flow. Going in the opposite direction is weakening. Follow
along with the video and use the chart above.
Energy flow techniques sometimes referred to as meridian tapping or emotional acupressure techniques, these energy exercises help release blockages in the channels caused by trapped emotions. Several minutes of tapping sometimes leaves your body buzzing with energy.
Zip Up. This popular energy exercise from Donna Eden's Energy Medicine book strengthens the central meridian. The zip up helps protect you from negativity and gives you a nice little "pick-me-up" when feeling tired and foggy. First, rest one hand below your navel and with the other tap or rub under your collarbone a few inches from the center of your chest (the K-27points). Switch hands and repeat on the other side.
Then, place your hand at your pubic bone directly in the center of the front of your body. Take a deep breath and bring one hand up to the cleft of your chin and touch your lower lip. On the next in-breath, repeat with the other hand. Repeat three times. This can also be done with the hands an inch or so off the body. You may have seen martial artists swipe downward in front of their opponent's body to weaken the central meridian. You can experiment with this yourself if you know how to muscle test. A downward swipe should get a weak response and an upward swipe a positive one. Just be sure to zip up when you are finished playing.
Try these two Brain Gym exercises. As a bonus, both of these meridian energy exercises are said to improve reading skills.
Space buttons - One hand rests above the upper lip while the other lays on the lower backbone. This activates the brain for relaxation and concentration, eye contact in communication and may improve motivation and interest. Take a few deep breaths while holding the pose. You can also move your eyes from a near to far focus and back again. Reverse hands and repeat.
Earth buttons - Place the fingers of one hand right below the lower lip and the other hand on the pubic bone. Take a few deep breaths and move the eyes slowly all the way down and up and back again. This exercise gives the sensation of a better connection between the upper and lower parts of the body, helping you feel more stable and centered. Reverse hands and repeat.
For specific health issues, try acupressure or acupuncture in addition to these general body meridian therapy exercises. Click here for more tips for working with this system and a chart showing the relationships between meridians and disease.