This is the first of a series of articles looking at key acupuncture concepts – the channels. The channels (or meridians) can be thought of as a surface network of lines covering the body through which Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) and blood circulate.
This network behaves much like the road traffic system around any major city. When everything is flowing well there is peace and harmony, but should anything happen to interrupt this flow peace changes to frustration and discomfort. The human body behaves in much the same way – if the channels become blocked for any reason we feel pain or discomfort, develop symptoms or just feel under the weather. The channels can become blocked by stress, posture, cold weather, poor diet, insufficient sleep or a whole host of other factors. The key to restoring this circulation is to insert acupuncture needles into the body, which has an effect similar to traffic police getting vehicles moving.
These ideas go back a long way. One of the earliest descriptions of the meridians exist in documents discovered in the Ma-Wang-Dui tomb in China, which was sealed in 198 BCE. Subsequent developments led to the system still in use today by acupuncture practitioners. Each channel is connected to an internal organ such as the lungs, kidneys or liver and thus by treating on the outside we can influence internal organ function.
Linda for example complained about a shoulder problem, which was discovered to be located along a part of the large intestine channel. Upon questioning she revealed that she suffered from long term problems with bowel function. Needles were placed at key points along her large intestine channel. Within a few days both shoulder and bowel problems started to improve, and after several treatments she made a full recovery.