Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture
Distribution of the Fourteen Meridians
The twelve regular meridians together with the Du and Ren Meridians are called "the fourteen meridians." The twelve regular meridians are distributed symmetrically at the left and right sides of the body. Both the Du and Ren Meridians emerge from the perineum, and ascend respectively along the midlines of the front and back of the body
Distribution in the limbs
The medial aspect of the limbs attributes to yin, the lateral to yang. Each limb is supplied by the three yin and three yang meridians. On the upper limbs, the anterior border of the medial aspect and the radial end of the thumb are supplied by the meridian of Hand-Taiyin; the middle of the medial aspect and the radial end of the middle finger by the meridian of Hand Jueyin; the posterior border of the medial aspect and the radial end of the small finger by the meridian of Hand-Shaoyin, while the meridian of Hand-Yangming goes from the radial end of the index finger to the anterior border of the lateral aspect; the meridian of Hand-Shaoyang from the ulnar end of the index finger to the middle of the lateral aspect, the meridian of Hand-Taiyang from the ulnar end of the small finger to the posterior border of the lateral aspect.
On the lower limbs, the anterior border of the lateral aspect and the lateral end of the second toe are supplied by the meridian of Foot-Yangming; the middle of the lateral side and the lateral end of the fourth toe by the meridian of Foot-Shaoyang; the posterior border of the lateral aspect and the lateral end of the little toe by the meridian of Foot-Taiyang, while the meridian of Foot-Taiyin runs from the medial end of the great toe to the middle of the medial aspect of the lower limb and further goes round to its anterior border; the meridian of Foot-Jueyin goes from the lateral end of the great toe to the anterior border of the medial aspect of the lower limb and further shifts to the middle; and the meridian of Foot-Shaoyin starts under the little toe, crosses the sole and further goes along the posterior border of the medial aspect of the lower limb.
Distribution in the body trunk
In the thoracic and abdominal regions, the Ren Meridian is situated on the midline. The first line lateral to it is the Kidney Meridian of Foot-Shaoyin, the second lateral line is the Stomach Meridian of Foot-Yangming, and the Lung Meridian of Hand-Taiyin and the Spleen Meridian of Foot-Taiyin correspond to the third line. The Gallbladder Meridian of Foot-Shaoyang is located at the lateral side of the hypochondrium and the lumbar region, while the Liver Meridian of Foot-Jueyin is in the region of the anterior external genitalia and hypochondrium. On the back, the Du Meridian stays in the middle, while both the first and second lines lateral to the Du Meridian are the Bladder Meridian of FootTaiyang.
Distribution in the head, face and neck
The Yangming Meridians of Hand and Foot run in the facial region; and the Shaoyang Meridian of Hand and Foot travel in the lateral aspect of the head. The Du Meridian goes along the midline of the neck and head, while the Bladder Meridian of Foot-Taiyang runs on both sides of the Du Meridian. Among the twelve regular meridians, the yin meridians pertaining to the zang organs communicate with the fu organs, while the yang meridians pertaining to the fu organs communicate with the zang organs, thus forming an exterior-interior relation between yin and yang, the zang and fu organs.
The zang organs (the lung, heart and pericardium) that are situated in the chest are connected with the yin meridians of the hand, while those (the spleen, liver and kidney) in the abdomen are linked with the yin meridians of the foot. The six fu organs, however, are related to yang meridians in accordance with their respective exterior-interior relations. All the three yang meridians of the hand and foot traverse the head and facial regions. In this way, between the twelve regular meridians and the head, face, chest and abdomen a specific relationship is established.
Chapter 38 of Miraculous Pivot states, "The three yin meridians of the hand go from the chest to the hand; the three yang meridians of the hand run from the hand to the head; the three yang meridians of the foot travel from the head to the foot; and the three yin meridians of the foot go from the foot to the abdomen." The meridians of the hand and foot are connected with each other, forming an interminable circulation of yin and yang.
Not only do the twelve regular meridians have their fixed courses, but also they cross at given places as follows: the yin meridians (the interior meridians) meet the yang meridians (the exterior meridians) in the four limbs; the yin meridians meet the yin meridians bearing the same name on the head and face; and the three yin meridians of the hand and the three yin meridians of the foot meet in the chest.
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