What are Meridians?

Meridians are the body’s energy pathways; they play a major role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and serve as a bridge between body, mind, and soul. You can think of them as your energy-transportation highway system. Meridians run both along the surface of the skin, where their flow can be most easily influenced, and deep into the body on internal pathways that bring energy to one or more organs or physiological systems.

Working with the meridians and specific points along their pathways can help to restore and maintain energetic balance in the body.

TCM recognizes a total of 14 meridians—12 connected segments typically named after one of the primary organs they govern and support—and two additional energy pathways called Central and Governing that connect to form the so-called Microcosmic Orbit.

A Meridian Flow Wheel is used to depict the intended clockwise flow of energy from one segment to the next. Using a 24-hour clock, each meridian has a 2-hour time window where it is most active and accessible. A given meridian is typically most affected by the meridian that feeds it and by its polar opposite; sometimes also by the meridian that it feeds.

The YouTube videos linked below illustrate the pathways of the 14 meridians:

For illustrations of specific acupoint locations, visit the Acu Meridian Points website.