So I want to do 'Meridians 101' in this post, to give you a clear idea of:
- What meridians are
- What they do
- Why they matter
- What you can do to keep yours in good shape
- The Jewish Energy Medicine take on meridians
Chinese medicine has identified 14 basic meridians in the human body, which are the basic energy transportation systems that keep energy, or koach, moving from one part of your body to another. 12 of the meridians are named after a particular organ, which it directly governs and affects; another two, Triple Warmer, and the strangely-named Circulation-Sex deal with overall systems of moving energy around the body.
We already had a brief introduction to Triple Warmer here, [link to previous post], but we can sum it up by saying it's the home of the fight/flight/freeze response in the body, and probably the physical home of the evil inclination, Jewishly.
Circulation-Sex is related to circulation, hormones, and the body's fluids. If you're feeling all dried out, for example, this meridian probably has something to do with it.
The other 12 meridians are:
- Small intestine
- Large Intestine
The short answer is that they transport energy, life force, chemicals and information around the body. The long answer is that they govern how good, healthy, energetic a person feels, each in its own way. G-d willing, we'll come back to this topic in more detail in the future.
Why they matter
When a meridian gets blocked, backed up, overwhelmed, weakened or somehow unbalanced, if the situation isn't addressed, then some form of physical or mental illness may well occur as a result.
Chinese physicians mapped a number of key points on the meridians, used in both acupressure and acupuncture, which they use to unblock or shift trapped or stagnant energy in a particular meridian.
The basic idea is if the energy is moving around the meridians properly, then a person will be healthy, and if the energy gets blocked, it needs to be unblocked before it leads to illness, further down the road.
Lots of things can block energy in a person; bad diet, illness, stress, negative emotions etc. If you're a Jewish person, then not keeping Torah and mitzvot can also severely compromise your energy system and your health. (This isn't my idea, by the way, it's a basic tenet of Judaism.)
What you can do to keep yours in good shape
Firstly, get to know more about your body, your energy system, and how it all works. G-d uses our bodies and illnesses to send us messages about what He wants us to address or fix. Instead of automatically reaching for the aspirin, learn a little more about why you're getting a headache, and which meridians are affected.
For example, some headaches are related to the gallbladder meridian – they are usually one-sided, and occur at the temples. Headaches in the middle of the forehead are often related to stomach meridian – ie, something you ate, or hunger – or worry.
The more we start to learn how to read the signs G-d is sending us via our meridians, the faster we'll realise what we need to do to fix the problem, and how to do it.
Next, you can keep your meridians in good shape be tracing over them with your hand, every day. (See Donna Eden's book 'Energy Medicine' for how to do it.) G-d willing, I'll post something about this in the future.
Next, you can learn how to track the energy in your own body, or go to someone who knows how to do it, who can tell you the state of your meridians, and work with you to identify what's blocked, where, and why, and then (this is the crucial part...) help you to work on fixing it.
Meridian work is non-invasive (acupuncture is the most aggressive it gets). If you're working with a G-d fearing practitioner, they should be able to help you piece together the clues of what emotions, feelings, habits, thoughts are zapping your energy, and then encourage you to get G-d involved in clearing the blockages.
In the meantime, acupuncture, acupressure, energy exercises, airing out blocked emotions, tapping, prayer and teshuva can all help to clear blockages in the meridians and keep them, and you, in good shape.
The Jewish Energy Medicine take on meridians
Like many other Jews, I was scared-off from exploring Chinese Medicine and meridians for years, by the thought that they may be 'avoda zora', idol worship. But meridians are scientifically proven, they've been measured in labs around the world, with researchers Bruce Curtis and JJ Hurtak describing them as 'a seperate energy system that functions alongside the accepted blood circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems.'
Meridians are as real as your nerves, as your blood vessels, as your skin, they just operate on the harder to measure electro-magnetic energy plane.
Jewishly, meridians match up very nicely with the Jewish idea that the body is just a garment for the soul, and that it's the soul's energy that sustains and animates the body (in fact, Chinese Medicine is much more in tune, religiously, with Judaism's take on the body / soul interaction than Western Medicine is, with its premise that the body is all there is.)
Jewishly, we're also taught that each of the mitzvoth correlates to a specific part of the body. Any mitzva we lack, or fail to keep, will have a corresponding negative effect on the energy of the soul, and subsequently, on the health of the body.
So it all ties in really nicely!
The last thing to say is that Chinese Medicine's recognition that untangibles like emotions, feelings and thoughts can block energy in the meridians, and cause illness in the body, is also much more reflective of the authentic Jewish view of sickness and healing, as described in detail in Rav Arush's new book 'The Garden of Healing'.
Yes, food and exercise are also important elements of health, but they are by no means the only ones. Meridians help us to relate to ourselves and our health wholistically, as the whole person, body and soul. Consequently, it seems much nearer to being a model for healthcare that's in alignment with G-d, and the way He runs the world, and how He relates to His creations with compassion, love and kindness.
Meridians are about PREVENTING small problems at the energetic level, before they turn into larger problems at the physical level. As such, they are also much more in tune with praying on our health and our issues, and asking G-d fix us while the problem is still just in theory.