Meridians: The Body’s Energy Pathways| Nadis| Energy Healing

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Meridians: The Body’s Energy Pathways| Nadis| Energy Healing

For centuries the ancient wisdom keepers and healers in several traditions had a keen understanding of the energetic body. The healing traditions from China, India, Japan and Tibet, as well as other countries all spoke of energy channels, meridians or nadis along which the vital energy flowed.

meridiansLife was considered to be a bio-electrical and vibrational energy phenomenon and so health revolved around balancing energy through various means. Life existed because of life force and energy running through and animating the body, ensuring we can move, breathe, digest food, think and even feel.

This vital life force or chi, is composed of two kinds of forces, yin and yang, and flows along a sophisticated network of energy pathways, or highways, circuiting the body. Over 2000 years ago ancient cultures knew of the existence of these energy channels. They were called ‘sen’ in Thailand, ‘nadis’ in India, ‘meridians’, ‘channels’ or ‘vessels’ in China and Japan, and ‘channels’ in Tibet. In India, where many eastern healing arts developed, there were said to be 72 000 nadis or energy pathways. Disease is believed to be a blockage in the energy flow of these channels. A range of healing traditions, including acupuncture, acupressure, massage and yoga, are founded on the principle of the existence of energy channels or pathways, known as meridians, or nadis, running around the body in an expansive network.

MERIDIANS are a major concept in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine practitioners help people to become healthy again, and to remain healthy, utilizing herbs and physical medicine, such as acupuncture, acupressure, and tuina.  Rather than relying on anatomy and physiology in the Western sense, Chinese medicine focuses on how the energy flows throughout the body.

Accidental discovery leads to a comprehensive approach to healing.

Thousands of years ago, they discovered that energy flows in an orderly manner through channels they called meridians. Moreover, the flow of energy could be influenced by putting pressure and/or heat on points along these channels.  They named these points acupoints.

Lore has it that some soldiers pierced by arrows during battle noticed that some of their old ailments disappeared.  Over time, these points were mapped, leading to the discovery of this network of energy pathways, the meridians.

The meridian system may be likened to the electric wiring in our homes and businesses.

A Western analogy might be the electrical wiring in our homes and businesses that carries electricity to wall outlets where we plug in our home, business, and recreation appliances, and to the light sockets where we screw in our light bulbs.  Only, the meridian system is much more sophisticated and versatile.

The meridians form a complicated circuit of energy pathways that move up and down the body near the surface, but also enter deep into the body to connect with each other and supply the organs, and other body structures, with energy.

Energy can flow smoothly and orderly, or it can get stuck in places, leaving some places oversupplied and others undersupplied.  Where we have too much energy, we experience heat, congestion, and pain or discomfort.  Where the energy is low, we feel tired, cold, and weak..

When stimulating the acupoints with needles (acupuncture), finger tips (acupressure), or heat & herbs (moxa), the energy starts flowing again and the entire system becomes energetically more balanced.  That’s the general idea behind acupuncture, or acupressure.

Western medicine acknowledges that acupuncture can be very helpful for pain management.  However, acupuncture can help with many conditions by helping to balance the flow of energy.

The meridians are a physical component of our bodies.

The meridians appear to be embedded in the connective tissue, which weaves through and envelops every cell, tissue, and organ, as well as body structures, such as blood and lymph vessels, nerves, and meridians.

Connective tissue (fascia, tendons, ligaments, etc) can vary from a gel like substance to hard as bone.  In fact, bone is considered a specialized form of connective tissue.  Connective tissue binds structures together, creates space (compartments) for all the structures, and moves (conducts) body fluids, nerve stimuli, and energy through it.

We cannot see meridians with our bare eyes, or feel their structures with our bare hands.  However, the meridians have been visualized  (Pierre de Vernejoul, 1985, University of Paris) by injecting a radioactive dye into the meridian points and observing the dye move along the paths that the Chinese Medicine practitioners had mapped out thousands of years ago.  Moreover, the experiment confirmed that the energy flows only in one direction within a meridian.

The meridians bring primal energy to every cell in our bodies.

Energy supports life.  Without it, nothing moves.  The body’s cells make their own energy every moment of life in their energy factories, called mitochondria.  However, they can not do so without being energized themselves by some form of primal energy source.  That is the mystery of life that we have not been able to solve yet.

Congested meridians can make the body vulnerable to many health conditions.

Some examples are fibromyalgia, allergies, asthma, lung disease, indigestion, constipation, cardiovascular disease, difficulty breathing, aches and pain, and many more.  It is therefore important to keep these energy channels free and clear.

Acupressure and acupuncture are the Chinese approach.  In the Western world, craniosacral therapy and energetic unwinding are very well suited to doing so by helping the body to release the restrictions in the connective tissue and thus help to fully open up the meridians.

The meridian system

There are 12 primary paired meridians and two single mid meridians, six yang and six yin. The yang meridians run down the body and the yin meridians flow up the body. Each meridian is also related to an element. Each meridian is most active at a certain time of the day or night and each meridian is influenced by an element or season.

The nature of meridians, in their elemental structure, and as vessels for the life force, show the intricacy and profound connection of our body at a cellular level, to the universe. We are intimately connected by the elements, energetic structure and flow of energy, to all life, at a cellular, physical level. Our earth is also said to have energetic pathways or ley lines, akin to meridians.

How are meridians related to health?

Our bodies need balance. A balanced flow or energy, not too much or too little, is conducive to good health. This is the same in the way we live our lives. Balance is paramount. Just enough food, water and a healthy balanced lifestyle. As the Buddha said: “middle way” or moderation in all things.

We can see this harmony and balance in life, as the balance between the energies of yin and yang – or more simplistically, masculine and feminine – the two opposing and catalyzing energies of the universe.

In our bodies we need balance, not too much or too little. Our health is vibrant if there is harmony and balance between these two forces in the body. If the balance is disturbed, and the flow of one of these forces becomes greater than the other, then illness arises. These forces or energies flow through very definite channels in the body, or meridians, and these are the body’s healing energy pathways.

In traditional Indian medicine, the meridians are expanded upon.There are nadis found within the physical body and these nadis make up the nervous system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system, the lymphatic systems, etc. Any blockages in these nadis can result in physical health conditions. Nadis can also be found in the subtle body where they carry thoughts, feelings, and nerve impulses. When these nadis are blocked, we lose our ability to feel, and connect deeply with others, the environment and ourselves. In the same way that veins and arteries are important for the body to function, nadis weave through our physical nerves and the matrix of consciousness that circuits the mind and self, supporting our physical expression from the otherworldly dimensions of existence.

Chi is made up of two kinds of forces, yin and yang. When the flow of energy is blocked, it causes low energy and illness. Practices like yoga, meditation and energy healing work on these subtle energy channels, supporting the flow of energy through the body. According to some ancient indian texts there are 350 000 nadis or energy pathways in the body. In traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the physical body, the subtle body and the causal body are said to flow through the nadis. Within this framework, the nadis are said to connect at special points of intensity called nadichakras.

ida pingala sushumnaThe three most important nadis are those running along the spine: ida, pingala and sushumna. The Sushumna is the central channel of energy in the human body and it runs from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and carries kundalini energy, which is the primal evolutionary force. Kundalini is awakened through yoga and meditation and is said to lie dormant at the base of the spine. Activation of the kundalini leads to higher consciousness states. The aim of yoga is to broaden the sushumna and to unite the pathways. Purifying all three nadis leads to overall health, and wellness of body and mind, as well as spiritual growth. Various Pranayama techniques aid in helping to keep these nadi channels open.

The three most important nadis are those running along the spine: ida, pingala and sushunma.

If you are sensitive to energy and have had energy treatments, such as energy healing, you may have felt streams of energy or a flow of cold or heat, for example, up the legs or arms. This is a freeing up of energy in the meridians and the flow of energy that is released when a blockage is removed.

There are many wonderful healing modalities based on the meridian system that support radiant health. By enhancing the flow of energy through the body, balance and health is achieved and we come in touch with our true selves. Acupuncture is a therapeutic modality used in China as early as the late stone age. It was used to treat all ailments affecting people. Acupuncture did not enter modern Western consciousness until the 1970’s when China ended a period of isolation and resumed foreign political and cultural contacts.

The range of applications for energy healilng has grown slowly in the West, possibly because of the belief that it has no scientific basis.  Perhaps now with the scientific proof of meridians, energy healing will become more widespread for all ailments, along with other great healing modalities based on the energetics of the body, supporting more people to have vibrant health and wellbeing.


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