In the twelfth chapter of the ‘Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic’ of medicine the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) asks his advisor "When doctors treat conditions, even though they may be illnesses of the same nature, they use different methods and techniques. But they all succeed. Why is this?"
His advisor, Qi Bo, goes on to relate all the different interventions used by Chinese Medicine at that time (<241 BCE) and why they were developed. Each style of medicine (acupuncture, burning of herbs over acupoints, etc.) was developed to help deal with the specific environment and diet of people in the different geographic areas of ancient China. In the central region, Qi Bo – the ancient physician – says that people benefit most from “Dao-Yin, An-Qiao” – or guiding exercise and massage.
This chapter follows an earlier statement that in ancient times, people could cure themselves simply by praying and working with their subtle energy, but now they have to utilize all kinds of medicine because they are out of touch with the Way of Nature. The art of prayer and mobilizing energy is what has come to be called Medical Qigong therapy, where one works solely with moving the spirit and the subtle qi in order to effect a healing. This type of prayer and qi therapy has long been a part of Daoist yogic practice, but so has the tradition of therapeutic movement and massage.
In a way, we need to touch the meridians and stretch them – because we are corporeal beings. We are spirits who are living in bodies – very often, in my own clinical experience, a simple spiritual answer will not do the trick, one has to do some kind of work on the palpable level of the physical body in order to anchor the transformation that is trying to take place into the material plane. In this way, the spirit can be balanced on every level of the person’s being for true health – which is wholeness.
As we shall see during this course, the physical body is the expression of the deeper forces of the psyche that underlie it. The body is made up of tendencies of energy – if these tendencies are healthy, then we will have a healthy body. If, however, these tendencies are unhealthy, then the health of the body declines as well.
Fortunately, we can also utilize this effect in reverse – by learning to place the body in specific postures, we can alter the thinking and the emotions that are taking place. By pressing or stimulating specific areas and points, we can re-route the energy into pathways more conducive to health and happiness. The ancient Tibetans referred to their practices of physical yoga as “Trulkor” – which means a “machine”. We can think of the body as a machine in a very important way – if you know how to operate it properly, it can drive you where you want to go. The study of the meridians of acupuncture is a study in the operation of the physical-spiritual-energetic matrix that you inhabit. In this course we will undertake to study it in a number of ways:
Qigong: These exercises will center both on the inner sensation of subtle energy, as well as learning to sense the energy field of another with the palms and the intuition.
Acupressure: We will learn by palpation the locations of the meridians of the body and how to regulate them through touch.
Dao Yin Yoga: We will also learn how to stretch, move, and massage the various energy pathways in order to bring more life, love, integration, and health into them.
How this course is different
This course on “Qigong Acupressure” is different than most other courses you might take to learn the Chinese Medical meridians. Most are based in either points for needling, or points for pressure therapy. In this class, the first thing we’ll be doing is learning how to experience the meridians from within. Each one has a specific energetic frequency (the Indian yogic traditions might say that each has a particular rasa or taste), and learning to sense it in oneself allows one to have a deeper understanding of the subtle forces of the mind and body. This understanding then leads to intuitive diagnostic ability for Qigong practitioners – the ability to sense the energy of a particular meridian in order to better help bring a student or therapy client into balanced health.
The other difference in this course is that we will focus on learning how to move the meridian channels. This is an essential piece of knowledge if one is to understand how Qigong postures and exercises function. Most of Chinese Qigong therapy is based on the 12 meridian model, so knowing the points from the inside out helps you to more deeply experience your qi during exercise practice.
The final way that this course is different than many acupressure courses you might take is that the intention is to give you a repertoire of therapeutic exercises that can be offered to your students and clients like a prescription for various ailments.
The words we saw above – Dao Yin, and An-Qiao – have very ancient meanings. Dao Yin means to pull or stretch (Yin 引) and guide along (Dao 導) and it means using stretching or movement to guide the Qi (subtle life-force) through the body in a balanced way. An-Qiao means to press and lift, and refers to massaging the body as a way to guide the qi.
The three most ancient healing practices that exist are herbalism, yoga, and massage. How can we know that they are ancient – because even our animal predecessors practice them.
Massaging the body is instinctual when there is illness, and it is very likely that the acupuncture points and meridians were first found by pressing the body. If you grab any part of your body and start squeezing and pressing around, you’ll find that your fingers and thumbs naturally fall into little holes and grooves – these are the meridians and points of qigong and acupressure. We don’t have to come up with a more complicated theory for the origins of Chinese Medicine than this. Humans naturally touch, and they especially touch to comfort another who is sick or injured. If one touches others enough, he or she finds that some points are always sore when a certain illness is present. Other points are always weak or flaccid. If you kept at it long enough, you could discover a whole map of the body based on your findings through touch.
The ancient Daoist Yogis also found that if you stretch the body and massage it, you can mobilize the energy in a way that enhances your spiritual practice. This has come down as various “self-massage” routines that are popular in Qigong exercise systems.
The concept of “meridians” in Chinese Medicine can be a little foreign to Western trained minds. The translation “meridian” itself is a little problematic, because that word tends to mean fixed lines, like the “Prime Meridian” on the globe. The meridians in the body are in fact very dynamic things. Accidents, scars, changes in emotions or thought, posture, and disease patterns can all affect how and where they manifest on a given individual in a given time.
It can be valuable to remember that Chinese Medicine is much more about relationships than it is about substances. Western Medicine tends to like solid things that you can look at under a microscope - and this is very valuable in the treatment of certain types of disease. Chinese medicine, on the other hand tends to look a bit more at how the various parts of the body and mind inter-relate. The meridians are the pathways of this inter-relation.
The Chinese word for Meridian is “JingLuo” 經络which is actually two words that can be translated as “watercourse network” or, more commonly - network vessels. These are the paths through which the Qi flows in the body, and through which we can influence the Qi. The Jing-Luo are not just straight lines that someone has drawn on the body – as it might appear in any standard acupuncture textbook. Instead, these are dynamic pathways of feeling and energy that exist on the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual planes. Acupuncture works with these meridians on their most dense level – by needling areas of nerve sensitivity and electromagnetic activity (see Becker – ‘The Body Electric’, Oschman ‘Energy Medicine’, the Scientific Basis, and new research on the “C” nerve fibers affected by needling therapy). Because of this, the points are looked at as somewhat fixed and unchanging.
Qigong doctors and practitioners of energetic massage, on the other hand, can tell you that meridians can be vastly different depending on the person and what they are experiencing. The energies of these meridians don’t stay contained in convenient and tiny lines, but instead cover large areas (similar to the “tendino-muscular channels”) and can even migrate into another meridian’s territory. Perhaps most amazing of all is that a skilled practitioner can learn to “speak” to the meridians on the emotional and spiritual levels in order to discern the deeper meaning behind certain disease patterns.
The body’s meridians could be said to be symbolic representations of how our physical, spiritual, and emotional energy move – as we will see throughout this test. The Stomach meridian, for example, embodies the energies of desire and hunger – this is shown by its position on the front of the body, with an energetic capacity to carry one forward toward the object of fulfillment.
Each meridian in the body is made up of Acupoints or Xue 穴. The Chinese character for an acupressure point depicts a cave with a character for a roof on top of it. Interestingly, this word in Chinese was not always applied to the physical body. The word “Xue” was first used by the ancient practitioners of Feng Shui (geomancy) when describing areas of powerful earth energy. Outwardly, these masters would give advice to families about where to bury their parents, as the ancient Chinese culture felt that how the body of an ancestor was treated would have effects upon the descendants. In the inner tradition, these masters were skilled at finding the most potent energetic places to practice meditation.
It is an extremely ancient practice amongst yogis of India, Tibet, and China to practice deep meditation in retreat in a cave. Many of the caves on sacred Daoist mountains are held to be very sacred due to the accumulated Qi of the masters who practiced there in the past. It was thought by ancient (and modern) Daoist Yogis that certain parts of the earth have very powerful energy, and that practicing qigong or meditation in those places could give a practitioner a big boost in their progress.
As time progressed, individuals began to feel that the body was a kind of sacred landscape, and just as there were potent areas in the earth, there were potent areas of the body where the Qi could be tapped and put into powerful circulation. It is from this association that the word “xue” began to be used for the acupoints.
If you look at the character for cave, you will notice that there is no closure at the bottom – the two sides just branch out as if to continue on. This represents an important aspect of an acupressure point – that it is a sort of gateway into the energy of the whole body. We shouldn’t think of the points as ending below our fingers, but we should recognize that if we train ourselves, we can feel through an acupoint into the deepest levels of a person’s Being.
Methods Of Discovery
When learning to track our own channel network, there are many ways to go about discovering it. Of course, the most common is to simply grab a book, or attend a lecture in which they describe the meridian’s locations and classical associations and then leave you to memorize these locations and associations.
Memorization is definitely an important part of learning Chinese Qigong medicine, but a lot of students eventually come to wonder if there is anything more they can do to relate this study directly to their own life’s experience. Many modern students of Chinese Medicine and Qigong haven’t ever thought about meridians before, and therefore have a hard time relating to them except through rote memorization. This is largely because we have not been taught how to see the influence of the meridians in our daily lives. Acupuncturist and author Bob Flaws compares the different ways that we can look at the body to the different kind of maps we could use to explore a geographic area. You can have a topographical map, a population map, a precipitation map – and all of them will look a little bit different. It is just the same with the body. Most of us have only ever received a map of the densest parts of the physical body, and haven’t learned to think of the body as a matrix of subtle forces.
When we start to learn some of the associations of the meridians, we can begin to see how they are the stuff of every moment of our lives. We must do that by exploring many different styles of relating to the channels.
Qigong Meridian Massage
One of the best ways to get to know your meridians is to learn this simple qigong exercise to awaken you to the channels in the body. In my classes I often ask a trick question: “how many meridians are there?” Some of the students with a little education will say 12, others will say 14, some might even say that there are 12 regular and 8 extraordinary meridians. All of these answers are correct, but the answer that I’m looking for is that there is ONE meridian!
The reason I say this is because each of the meridians in the body is an expression of your whole being. There is no Lung meridian existing all on its own, only one that is part of a complex harmony that is your energetic body.
This can be seen in the classical locations of the meridians – in every case, one meridian begins right where the last one ends, all the way through the body in a big circle. The channels pass their energy on to each other in a set symbolic sequence, but the main point is to recognize that they are all just aspects of a unified whole.
To begin the meridian massage practice, start with the Qi awakening exercises to bring lots of energy to the hands:
First, open the hands and close them rapidly 10 times
Next, rub the palms together for a 10 count
Finally, shake the hands vigorously to a count of 10 Then open and close the hands like playing an accordion – see if you can feel any kind of tingling, heat, coldness, or pressure in your palms – a sign that you’ve stimulated the Qi energy.
Now that your hands are energized, you are ready to practice feeling the channels – we’ll practice feeling them in their Yin/Yang pairs:
Lung and Large Intestine Meridians: Start at the corner of the chest, where the shoulder meets the body and trace down the inner arm to end at the thumb – this is the Lung Meridian.
Then start on the index finger and trace up the outer arm, over the shoulder, and to the side of your nostril – this is the Large Intestine meridian.
[Note: in general, the Yang meridians are on the more tanned side of the body (the outside, or back), and the Yin meridians are on the less tan part (the inside or front)]
*After you complete the first arm, do the practice on the second
Stomach and Spleen Meridians: The Stomach channel begins near the end of the Large Intestine. Start at the base of the eye, just below the eyeball and trace down to the jaw – then trace back up to the hairline like a big smile. Next come down through the front of the neck, the front of the chest and abdomen, and finally the outside/front of the thighs and legs – heading to the pinky side of the 2nd toe.
The Spleen channel starts on the medial side of the big toe and comes up through the flesh of the leg, the inside front of the thigh, up through the sides of the abdomen to end on the side ribs about a hand width down from the arm-pit.
[Note: the Stomach is the only Yang channel that deviates from the rule of running primarily on the outside and back of the body]
Heart and Small Intestine Meridians: The Heart meridian starts right where the Spleen ends – at the arm-pit. It then traces down the deepest part of the inner arm and heads to the pinky finger (on the thumb side).
The Small Intestine picks up on the other side of the pinky (medial side) and heads up the back of the arm, through the shoulder and up to the face, ending just in front of the ear.
Urinary Bladder and Kidney Meridians: The Urinary Bladder channel picks up from the energy of the Small Intestine and starts at the inner corner of the eye. From there it travels over the top of the head and down the neck and back like a big waterfall. Continue all the way through the thighs and calves and down to the pinky toe.
The Kidney meridian starts on the center of the sole of the foot and comes up the inner back of the leg, then through the front of the pubic bone and up the inner abdomen and chest to end just beneath the two collar bones.
Pericardium and Triple Warmer Meridians: The Pericardium begins at the side of the chest next to the nipple. It comes down through the inner arm heading to end at the tip of the middle finger.
The Triple Warmer picks up on the pinky side of the ring finger and travels up the outer arm, over the top of the shoulder, around the ear, to end next to outer corner of the eyebrow.
Gall Bladder and Liver Meridians: The Gall Bladder meridian picks up next to the Triple warmer at the outer corner of the eye, then it streams back through a complicated zig-zag along the side of the head. For this practice you can just run the hands back like smoothing out your hair. It then goes down through the shoulders, down the sides of the body, and through the sides of the thigh and leg to end on the pinky side of the fourth toe.
The Liver channel starts on the pinky side of the big toe and runs up just behind the shin, through the center of the thigh, through the groin, and up to the ribcage just below the breast.
Practice tracing through all 12 meridians in sequence twice with your hands touching the body, then try it again, but let your hands hover just above the body’s surface and try to contact the Qi of the meridian channels.
Another very powerful way to get in touch with the channels of the inner body is to practice massaging them with the mind. The Qi, subtle energy, flows where your mind goes, and so tracing through the meridians with intention will help you not only to memorize and become familiar with meridian location, but gives you a full body Qi massage!
If you practice the above two methods, you will find out a few things. First, you will notice that each channel begins right where another one ends (some of them are a little easier to see than others, and to fully grasp it, you have to know the internal pathways). Second, you may get the feeling that just running light pressure or intention along these meridians can have profound healing effects. Finally, if you practice consistently, you will develop sensitivity by which you will learn to distinguish if a meridian is in balance, deficient in energy, or excess.
To understand the implications of these various pathways locations and functions, we must look to the next method of experiencing them, called the biorhythm clock.
Meridian Energies and the Biorhythm Clock
The meridians in the body are said to flow in a certain sequence of activation at certain times during the day – following the cycle that we just massaged them in. Knowing these times can be very valuable for our clinical practice, because this can give us some clues as to which meridians are out of balance by the time of day that symptoms manifest.
This clock cycle is also looked at symbolically by some theorists as showing a template of the development of a being. Shizuto Masunaga, the developer of the Zen Shiatsu system, described these phases as the “life cycle of a one celled organism”. The meridians cycling through the body from beginning to end can show how consciousness develops and grows more complex. When we understand the phase that a meridian or meridian pair represents, we have some understanding of what its functions will be in the living person.
In this section we will explore how each channel pair shows up energetically. By discovering how the location of each channel relates to its “phase of development” we can begin to experience these channels as the parts of our lives that they represent in a major way.
Phase 1, Forming a Boundary – Lung and Large Intestine
Metal Element Meridians Energetic Exercise – Lung Meridian – Keywords “Intake of Energy”
To experience the energy of the Lung meridian, imagine that you have hiked up to the top of a hill with a beautiful vista, you feel inspired by the beauty and take a deep breath and stretch. Notice how the arms will often reach out and up stretching open the chest and the thumb side of the arm.
A similar action will happen any time we yawn and stretch – this dramatic drawing in of fresh Qi causes us to mobilize the chest and the arms – usually right along the Lung channel.
In order for a one-celled organism to come into being, a cell has to be created - this means forming a boundary between one’s self and everything else. This is the energy of the first phase of the meridian cycle - embodied by the Lung and Large Intestine channels. The placement of these meridians is on the edge of the arm and this location also symbolizes this boundary formation. This meridian is associated with the “Metal phase” of Chinese Medicine, and through this has many associations to protective parts of the body like the skin, body hair, and defensive energy. The attributions to forming a boundary are the same here.
The Lungs, being the Yin side of this Metal energy are responsible for taking in the precious qi from the outside. The Large Intestine - on the Yang end of the spectrum is responsible for expelling waste from the body.
These functions are both physical and energetic. The Lung channel has as much to do with our feeling of physical vitality, as it has to do with our emotional feeling of self worth or self-esteem. Metal, in Chinese Medicine is associated with preciousness or value. The air and the Qi from outside are considered very precious, but the ability to value ones self is also ruled by the Lung channel.
In the energetic exercise above, we felt how when we feel inspired, we’ll often take a deep breath in, and also how we can do the same if we need more physical vitality. This can help us to remember that proper breathing is a source of energetic nourishment, which can keep us functioning at the highest levels in our physical and spiritual bodies.
In a newly born human, this phase represents the first breath that sets all the energy in the body in motion. Until this breath, you are still a part of your mother. After this breath, you are an individual being. It is not until the first gasp of breath that your own 12 meridians start to function. This is part of how the Lung meridian is responsible for the circulation of qi for the entire body.
When the Lung meridian is out of balance, we can feel fatigued and sad. We often will not be able to take a deep breath and snap ourselves out of a morose state, and so cannot fill up on new life force.
Physically, this meridian helps to boost the immune system, vitality, and treat cough and asthma.
Energetic Exercise – Large Intestine Meridian – Keyword “Elimination”
Now imagine that you came home to a big mess that someone made. If you were not in control of your emotions, you might turn your nose up in distaste – this is the upper part of the Large Intestine meridian that ends on the nostril. You might also point your finger while you said “clean this up right NOW!”
For people in less extreme situations, or more control of their emotions, you’ll recognize the Large Intestine channel activating anytime you are giving direction – whether you literally point with your index finger or not.
The physical large intestine helps to expel any form of toxicity from the body. The Large Intestine meridian does the same thing energetically. This can be physical toxicity or emotional. In Chinese medicine, the Lung and Large Intestine are very influential in the grieving process, because the Large Intestine’s job is to help us “let go” (so the Lung can bring in new energy of value to our world). People who are “pack-rats” on a physical, emotional, or spiritual level may have some stagnation in the energy of this Large Intestine meridian.
The Large Intestine channel represents a stronger version of boundary making than the Lung in the sense that its job is to push things out, rather than draw them in.
If the Large Intestine is out of balance, people erect too strong a boundary and can’t let others in, and overly obsessed with neatness or order, or, on the other side, can’t seem to make appropriate boundaries at all. On the physical level, this can result in constipation or diarrhea.
The meridian can be used to treat shoulder pain, nasal congestion, toothache, headache, and bowel issues.
Phase 2 Seeking Nourishment and Digestion – Stomach and Spleen
Energetic Exercise – Stomach Meridian –Keywords “Taking in Nourishment”
To feel the energy of the Stomach channel, imagine that you are very hungry. You are walking through a store with many kinds of good food. Notice the way the front of your body lights up with this sensation of desire. Then imagine that you spy something you want. Feel how the energy starts to pull from the eyes, then the mouth, and the whole front of the body to go get it. Finally feel how the energy of the mouth brings that food down into the body along the path that the Stomach channel follows through the abdomen.
As we saw above, the Lungs energetic starts the entire meridian cycle going. The next thing that a newborn will do is starting to suckle. This is because as soon as one becomes a separate entity, he or she begins to have needs. The stomach meridian with its placement on the front of the body embodies the energy of moving forward to meet these needs. The Stomach represents the Yang energy of the Chinese medical “Earth Element” which has to do with nourishment. As it is the Yang side, the Stomach is responsible for desire, because this nourishment can be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Anytime you feel that pull toward something, your Stomach meridian is acting to guide you toward what you want.
When the Stomach Meridian is out of balance, there is an excess of craving, one cannot seem to stop the desire. This may be for food, it may be an addictive behavior, or it may be obsession with information or even television – as these are all kinds of taking in nourishment.
The meridian can help with digestion, stomach pain, strengthening the legs, toothache, and headache.
Energetic Exercise – Spleen Meridian – Keyword “Digestion”
To feel the Spleen meridian, all you have to do is remember the last time you had a really good hug! Feel that sense of being enveloped and enveloping that takes place when embracing another with love.
It may not be easy to feel the area of the Spleen meridian in the legs that lights up when you do this, but I assure you that it happens. Another way to feel the energy of this channel is to imagine being totally content, perhaps after a fulfilling work-day, and a delicious meal. There is a sense of warmth that comes about in the belly, which is the activation of the Spleen channel.
Because it is the Yin side of the Earth element energy of nourishment, the Spleen channel is responsible, not for going out and getting nourishment, but absorbing it and making it a part of oneself. The anatomical organ that is more associated with this is the Pancreas, which produces enzymes that help us to absorb the nutrients from food.
In any case, the Spleen meridian’s location on the body is representative of the energies of nourishment we’ve brought in from outside becoming part of ourselves
If the Spleen channel is out of balance, we will lack the feeling of grounded trust that comes from feeling well nourished. We may feel like we are overstuffed, but not really fulfilled. The mind will worry and obsess because it is not able to find that Yin Earth of grounding.
This meridian can help with digestive problems, low energy, weight problems, and prolapse of the inner organs.
Phase 3 Forming a Core – Heart and Small Intestine Meridians Experiential Exercise – Heart Meridian – Keyword “Core”
To feel the Heart meridian, imagine that you are sequestered deep in a mountain temple somewhere, on retreat. You are in a beautiful, but empty room and a single candle is burning. Imagine that you are about to go into meditation and you bring your palms together into a prayer position and bow with deep silence and devotion.
In this posture, the energy moves to the center of the subtle body. You may also feel it drawing in from the Heart meridian on the pinky side of the arm.
Another way to experience this meridian is to imagine that you are at a rock concert, or a very spiritual moment in church. That point when your heart opens and everyone’s arms rise up is stretching through the Heart channel.
In Masunaga’s system, the next phase is called forming a core. Now you have a boundary, and you can get your needs met, but who are you really? This is related to the Fire element and the concept of the Shen or Spirit of Chinese Medicine. This also relates to the time in a young child’s life when he or she grows from an oceanic state of identification with everything to realizing that some things are different than him or herself (for example, when a child bites the blanket and it doesn’t hurt, but bites his finger and it does) - this is the very beginning of the process of developing an individual personality. If this process is continued and deepened over time, one comes to realize who one really is - which is that Shen we mentioned earlier, or the Original Spirit. It is interesting, though, that this Spirit can only exist in relationship to other things. As some Buddhist traditions would have it “the mind is never without an object” - or something that it’s aware of. This makes sense out of why the forming of the core self can only come after taking in nourishment and information. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist before - but that it is conditioned and created with each new stimulus.
The Heart is the Yin side of this dynamic, and represents the core of ones being (the French word for Heart “Cour” is representative of this, as is the Spanish corazon). As such, the Heart is the passive sense of who you really are – you know, “deep down in your heart”
If the Heart’s energy is out of balance, one will be in a state of “existential crisis”. There can be a questioning of “who am I?” that goes on too long and actually just creates more suffering. Anxiety and depression can be symptoms of a Heart meridian imbalance.
This meridian treats heart issues, unconsciousness, shock, angina pectoris, and spiritual crisis.
Experiential Exercise – Small Intestine – Keyword “assimilation”
The Small Intestine’s location on the outside of the arm going to the pinky represents its capacity to “sort the pure from the impure”. Imagine that you have a table in front of you with all kind of items to be sorted – pretend that, using the pinky side of your arm, you push some away, and gather some toward you – sorting what you want from what you don’t.
Life Cycle The Small Intestine is the Yang aspect of the Fire element. The Yin of the Heart was the passive sense of who you are. The Yang of the Small Intestine then sorts from among the things which are “not me” to see which things should be kept, and which things should be let go of.
I often see a Small Intestine meridian out of balance in university students who are cramming for mid-terms. The meridian is trying its hardest to sort all the information and try to extract that which is most important. Anytime you feel that you are unable to discriminate and integrate the information around you, you can look to optimizing the Small Intestine channel’s function.
This meridian treats shoulder pain, ear problems, arm pain and wrist problems.
Phase 4 Impulsion
When Masunaga describes the next phase, he speaks of it in a way of our little organism having the ability to move itself away from danger - symbolized by the Bladder and Kidney meridian’s placement on the back of the body and their association with Fear. This phase also relates to reproduction, and you can see the same motion occur in cell division - when two halves of a cell pull away from each other.
Just as the Stomach and Spleen on the front embody the energy of desire and the forward pull toward various forms of nourishment, the Kidney and Bladder on the back embody the energy of feeling pushed or impelled.
This relates to the association of the Water Phase with ones genetic inheritance and destiny - which can both feel like a push from behind. It also relates to sexual desire - which can feel as if ones loins are being “impelled” forward of their own accord.
Phase 5 Protection and Circulation
This phase is related to more complicated social interactions. This is interesting, because these are also Fire Phase meridians. At first, we saw a very simple expression of the fire phase with the Heart and Small intestine. Now that we know who we are, and we can move forward to fill our desires, or be moved from behind to fill our destiny, or get away from things we fear, we can begin to have more complicated interactions.
The Pericardium and Triple Warmer have to do with circulation of energy both within and without the body. The Pericardium is thought of as a protector of the heart, and the Triple Warmer as the active aspect of the Kidney’s energy.
Energetically these meridians deal a lot with what energies we welcome in to our personal sphere, and what energies we push away.
Phase 6 Planning and Deciding
This is the final phase in the development of a being for a particular cycle. Through the previous phases, one has acquired all the energetic abilities one needs, and now is a “whole” entity. The Liver and Gall Bladder channel on the sides of the body represent the ability to turn one way or the other and look at all the options.
This is associated with the Wood Phase’s sense of Vision, and things like flexibility and the tendons.
The Liver is the Yin side of this phase and relates to the Hun’s capacity to envision and plan and see the future (literally or figuratively). The Gall Bladder is the
Yang aspect and refers to the capacity to carry out the visions that one has received.
Once this phase is begun, the cycle starts all over again, because with each decision one carries out, one becomes a new being - with new needs, new drives, a new core. This is the same in the daily cycle of meridian circulation where the cycle starts over every morning.
Interestingly, it is well known in some spiritual systems that when one receives a new vision, one should be prepared for his or her world to be shaken up. This is symbolized in this cycle by the Liver/Gallbladder time being followed directly by the Lung and Large Intestine again. What is occurring is that in order to carry out this new vision, one needs to get rid of all the things in one’s life that are not consistent with it. The Lung and Large Intestine are the channels that form the new boundaries, expel wastes and that which no longer serves, and gather new vitality for the journey. From there, we begin anew. This cycle repeats throughout our lives, every time we grow and change or begin or end a new project. At the end of our lives, according to classical spiritual medicine, the Liver and Gall Bladder channel will be the expressions of the ethereal Soul (Hun) leaving the body to journey to different spheres.