In order for the universal energy to flow around the body evenly to each organ and part of the body it travels along energy lines called meridians. The energy flows through the meridians according to the time of day and each one is associated with a specific organ of the body. If the energy flow through the meridians is disturbed the associated organ will then manifest certain mental and physical disorders.
There are 12 major meridians, two for each of the five elements, one yin and one yang. For the mathematicians you can see that this should make ten meridians. In actual fact the fire element is formed by two types of fire- of the sun and of the hearth. (Heaven and Earth).

Body Clock
The energy flows through each meridian and its associated organ on a daily basis and in a set sequence. As there are 12 meridians and 24 hours in a day it can be seen that each organ is associated with a 2 hour span. This forms a body clock of the daily cycle. The energy flows along the meridians in a set pattern, from one element pair to the next. The yin and yang meridians also follow their own rules;

  1. The meridians to the yin nurturing organs are generally found deep inside
    the body while the meridians to the yang excreting organs are those that are
    generally closer to the surface.
  2. Each organ has one end of its meridian on the hands or feet. The other ends of the
    yin meridians are on the upper torso and the other ends of the yang meridians are on
    the face.
  3. The flow of energy to or from the digits in the yin meridians is along the inside of the
    arms or legs and that of the yang meridians along the outside.

Acupuncture Points
Acupuncture has been practised in the east with other traditional Chinese medicines for over 5,000 years but it is only recently that scientists have been able to offer an explanation. They discovered that there were points on the skin where the electrical potential changes and that these coincide with the known acupuncture points. It is these points that are used to re-balance the energy flow along the meridians and if painful, can also indicate that there is a problem somewhere along the meridian or its related organ.
These points are usually activated with needles but they can also be stimulated with pressure, heat, laser torches, electricity or magnets. They can also be energetically activated with quartz crystals or by directing reiki energy into them
Not all meridians have the same number of points along them. The heart meridian on the arm has only 9 points whereas the urinary bladder meridian on the head, back and legs has 68.

Other Therapies
Many acupuncture points are worked unconsciously during a massage or reflexology treatment. With more knowledge they can be worked with conscious intent, which will enhance the therapy.
It can also help to explain pain on the hands or feet during a reflexology session which does not seem to relate to the reflexology reflex. And in the same way, painful areas on the back or face during a massage.

You can find a useful chart of some of these points on the Indian head massage Chart

Exercise such as Tai Chi works on energising the 'bubbling spring', which is the first point on the kidney meridian. It is so important that it is the only acupunture point found on the soles of the feet, where it can bo energised frequently. Tai Chi and yoga can also stretch the meridians.

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