People talk about meridians and qi, yin, yang, what are they?

Meridians, qi, yin, and yang are all elements of TCM. You do not have to understand any of this to be able to benefit from the treatments.

Meridians: Imagine, if you will, rivers with specified paths circulating throughout the body. The paths of the rivers do not change. To be more specific, these are rivers of energy, as science has not been able to find these pathways on an autopsied body, yet, when using the right tools, you can measure higher levels of energy (frequency) coming out of designated pathways and acupuncture points.

Meridians function at their best when they have high quality force of energy circulating throughout and when there are no blockages.

Meridians are paired with a specific organ. If the organ is not functioning at its best, it can very likely cause a detrimental effect on the meridian. When the meridian is blocked, different things that can happen are pain, numbness, or tingling.

Qi: If you are familiar with Star Wars, qi can be likened to, “the force”. It is life in the body. Similarly, there are different kinds of qi. There is qi that is produced by the body from the air we breathe and the food we eat; there is the qi that comes from our genes (prenatal qi) it is why some people have a lot more energy naturally and others have less. That being said, it is quite possible to change the cards we have been dealt, meaning if you were born to have more strength than most people, you can ruin that by eating poorly, having too much stress, and intoxicating your body on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you were born more fragile than most people, with a little determination, hard work, right lifestyle, and right diet with time you can be as strong as the next person.

Each organ has its own specific qi that it produces. The heart has heart qi, the lungs have lung qi, the spleen has spleen qi and so on. The qi is specific to its function. Just as qi is energetic, a function depends on energy to drive it.

Without qi, there is no life. When qi is moving freely, everything is fine. If qi is weak or deficient, than the corresponding organ is not functioning at its best. For example, if you have weak lung qi, you may have a hard time breathing or you may get sick easily (the lungs are the first line of defense between us and airborne diseases); if you have weak spleen qi (spleen in TCM is paired with the stomach to guide our digestion) than your appetite may be poor, you may get full without eating too much, or you may be lethargic (because you are not getting the proper nutrients from your food).

Yin and yang: You can gain an understanding for one by learning about the other. Just as you can gain insight about light when it pierces through the darkness.

Yin and yang are represented by this symbol

You have the white- which is represented by yang, and the dark- which is represented by yin.

Certain things in nature are more yin, others are more yang. It’s important to understand that there is nothing that is absolute yang or absolute yin found in nature, which is why the yin yang symbol is always represented with an opposite colored dot within the yin and yang symbols.

Yin               Yang
Female        Male
Dark             Light
Moon           Sun
Heavy          Light
Substance   Energy
Form             Function

It’s important to remember that in nature, you don’t have one without the other. The sun doesn’t send out it’s light if it doesn’t have a body to create it. And even in physics, a rock has a vibration to it.

Lori Earley