Courses, Connections, Distributions, Exterior-lnterior Relations and Flowing Order of the Twelve Meridians|
1. The Coursing and Connecting Law of the Twelve Meridians
The coursing and connecting law of the twelve meridians is: the three yin meridians of the hand travel from the chest to the end of the fingers where they connect with the three yang meridians of the hand; the three yang meridians of the hand go up from the end of the fingers to the head on which they connect with the three yang meridians of the foot; the three yang meridians of the foot descend from the head to the the end of toes where they join the three yin meridians of the foot; the three yin meridians of the foot ascend from the toes to the abdomen and chest in which they meet the three yin meridians of the hand. Thus, the twelve meridians are connected with each other, forming a circle like pathway along which yin and yang smoothly circulate without terminus. See the following diagram.
Fig. 5 Flowing direction and Connecting Law of the Twelve Meridians 表5.十二正经循行方向及交接规律
It is clearly seen from fig. 5 that the three yang meridians of the hand terminate at the head from which the three yang meridians of the foot start. The three yang meridians of the hand and the foot meet at the head So, TCM says:"The head is the junction of all yang meridians"
2. Distributions and Exterior-Interior Relations of the Twelve Regular Meridians1) Distributions 2.十二正经的分布和表里关系
The twelve meridians are distributed symmetrically on the left and right sides of the body and run along their fixed courses. Distribution in the limbs: The medial aspect of the limbs attributes to yin, the lateral to yang. Each limb is distributed by Taiyin and Yangming meridians are on the anterior border, Shaoyin and Taiyang meridians are on the posterior border, and Jueyin and Shaoyang meridians are on the midline.
Distribution on the head and face: Yangming meridians run through the face and forehead, Taiyang meridians run through the cheek, vertex and occiput of the head and Shaoyang meridians run through both sides of the head.
Distribution in the body trunk: The three yang meridians of hand run through the scapular part. Among the three yang meridians of foot, Yangming meridians run in the front of the trunk (thoracico-abdominal aspect), Taiyang meridians along the back (the dorsal aspect) , and Shaoyang meridians along the sides. All the three yin meridians of the hand come out of the axillae without exception, all the three yin meridians of foot run along the ventral aspect. The meridians running through the ventral aspect from the medial to the lateral are, in turn, termed Foot-Shaoyin, Foot-yangming, Foot-Taiyin and Foot-Jueyin(note: as regards the medial sides of the two lower limbs, at 8cun (24cm) above the medial malleoli, Jueyin is located in theanterior, Taiyin in the middle and Shaoyin in the posterior part.)
The Exterion-Interior Relations between the Twelve Meridians
The twelve regular meridians, connected with each other by the divergent meridians and divergent collaterals, form six pairs of exterior-interior relationships. Their exterior-interior relationships are as follows: the Large Intestine Meridian of Hand-yangming and the Lung Meridian of Hand-Taiyin; the Tri-energizer Meridian of Hand-Shaoyang and the Pericardium Meridian of Hand-Jueyin; the Small intestine Meridian of Hand-Taiyang and the Heart Meridian of Hand-Shaoyin; the Stomach Meridian of Foot-yangming and the spleen Meridian of Foot-Taiyin; the Gallbladder Meridian of foot-Shaoyang and the Liver Meridian of Foot-Jueyin; and the Urinary Bladder Meridian of Foot-Taiyang and the Kidney meridian of Foot-Shaoyin. The Taiyang meridianand Shaoyin meridian of foot are exteriorly-interiorly related, and so are the Shaoyang meridian and the Jueyin meridian of foot,and the Yangming meridian and Taiyin meridian of foot. These are called the"yin and yang of foot"; while the Taiyang meridian and the Shaoyin meridian of hand are exteriorly-interiorly related, and so are the Shaoyang and the Jueyin meridians, and the Yangming and the Taiyin meridians of hand. These are called the"yin and yang of hand".
The exterior-interior relationship of the twelve meridians not only strengthen the connection between each specific pair of meridians with exterion-interior relationship, but also promote each pair of zang-fu with the exterior-interior relationship to coordinate each other physiologically and influence each other pathologically. In treatment, acupoints of the two meridians with the exterior-interior relationship may be alternatively used.
3) The Flowing Order of the Twelve Meridians
The circulation of qi and blood inside the Twelve meridians is like the circular movement endlessly. Their circulation starts from the lung meridian of Hand-Taiyin, runs to the liver meridian.