Each of us contains within our bodies several systems including the circulatory, endocrine, digestive, nervous, and muscular amongst another more subtle energy transportation system of meridians. What is amazing is that the meridians match the ancient descriptions thousands of years ago. Radioactive isotopes injected into the acupuncture points have proved the existence of a system of fine ductlike tubules that follow the ancient description and diagrams of the meridian pathways. Various cultures have emphasized some of the energy systems like the chakra system of India that predates acupuncture. The aura has often been depicted as a halo in traditional religious systems and the strange flows, well known in the East, as well as various shamanic descriptions of energy systems of the Scandinavian countries and Native American tribes.
The meridians are similar to the circulatory system in that they are pathways that carry energy into, through and out of the body. These meridians connect hundreds of tiny reservoirs of more subtle energy along the surface of the skin known as acupuncture points, that when stimulated by pressure or needles release or redistribute energy. The acupuncture points are on the skin's surface but the meridians they open up travel deep inside the body and through each organ and muscle group. The meridian's fluctuate and flow is constant like a river and can be detected by mechanical instruments as well as sensitive individuals.
Each of the 12 meridians is really a single energy pathway that runs throughout the body, resurfacing 12 times and appearing as 12 segments. Each segment is named after the major organ or system that that it services. In addition, there are another 2 energy pathways called the central and governing meridians that are included in the meridian system. Because they share properties with the strange flows, they are also considered strange flows. The other 12 meridians form a chain with one meridian linked to the next. The central meridian and governing meridian open more directly to the environment from which the energies surrounding you can enter and exit.
Each physical system of your body including the immune system, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular and lymphatic systems is fed by at least one meridian in the same way that arteries carry blood. The meridians affect every single organ and bring vitality and balance and cellular change. If a meridians energy is obstructed or unregulated, the system falls into jeopardy.
If you think of the meridians in terms of an energy transportation system, you have a good model of how the meridian energy interacts. If a highway becomes congested with traffic, it becomes necessary to divert some of the traffic to another road. Sometimes bottle necks occur and the resources needed to support the body are blocked. It then becomes difficult to provide food and remove waste products. If a natural disaster occurs where the road is damaged, even critical support services that form the immune system cannot function properly. The body is under various forms of stress 24 hours a day because we cannot just decide to turn it off, we are subjected to continual "natural disasters" and the pathways need regular maintenance and repair as well as renovation.
A map of the meridian paths is provided at http://theamt.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=211
The Central Meridian starts at the pubic bone and goes straight up the front of the body to the bottom lip.
Governing Meridian starts at the tailbone and goes straight up the spine, over the head to the top lip.
Spleen Meridian starts at the outside corners of each big toe and goes straight up the inside of the legs, flares out at the hip up the side of the rib cage and down to the bottom of the rib cage.
The Heart Meridian starts in the arm pit and goes down the inside of the arm to the tip of the little finger.
Small Intestine Meridian starts on the back of the hand on the tip of the little finger, straight up the outside of the arm to the shoulder, dropping back to the scapula over to the cheekbone and back to the opening of the ear.
Bladder Meridian starts between the eyebrows, over the crown of the head and down the back of the neck of the head and neck and down the spine to below the waist, jogs in and up towards the waist the in and around the gluteus maximus. The meridian branches up to the shoulder, going straight down to the back of the knees, in at the knees down to the floor and off the little toe.
Kidney Meridian starts at the ball of each foot and up the inside, circling behind the inside of each ankle bone and straight up the front of the body to a point called the K-27 points beneath the clavicle at the top of the sternum.
The Circulation-Sex Meridian starts at the outside of each nipple, up and over the shoulder and down the inside of the arm and ends at the tip of the middle finger.
Triple Warmer Meridian starts on the back side of the hand at the tip of the ring finger straight up the arm to beneath the ear, following the fold of the ear around and behind to end at the temple.
Gall Bladder Meridian starts at the outside of the eyebrows, dropping to the opening of the ears, then goes straight up about 2 inches, circles forward and then dropping back behind the ears, going forward again over to the forehead, back over the cvrown and around the shoulders down to the sides of the rib cage going forward to the rib cage back to the waist, forward to the hips and straight down the sides of the legs and off the fourth toes.
Liver Meridian starts at the inside of the big toes going in a line straight up the inside of the legs, flaring out at the hips, up the sides of the rib cage and back underneath the ribs in line with the nipple.
Lung Meridian starts above the nipple up over the shoulder straight down the arm and off the thumb.
Large Intestine Meridian at the tip of the pointer finger straight up the arm to the shoulder, cross the neck to beneath the nose and out to the flare of the nostril.
Stomach Meridian starts underneath your eyes dropping down the jawbone then circling up the outside of the face to the forehead. Then it goes down through the eyes to the collarbone, out from there over the breasts and in at the waist, out at the hips and straight down the leg and off the second toe.
With each meridian also comes the rhythms such as time zones, seasonal changes, the daily rhythm of light and dark. The meridians also go through its own 24 hour cycle with the individual points having their high periods where the energy is at its height and is the strongest during a 2 hour period and its 2 hour low period that is at the 12 hour opposite when the meridian is at rest.