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The Benefits of Using a Meridian Based Method


When diagnosing and treating in Chinese medicine proper pattern identification is essential to positive outcomes.  To increase one’s clinical efficiency with acupuncture it is helpful to have a variety of tools to work with, so as to best be able to account for each client’s unique conditions.  By taking a meridian based perspective the clinician can better account for complex patterns and cases.  To see how this is the case let’s take a look at liver syndromes from both a zang-fu and meridian based perspective.  

In a meridian based approach once a liver syndrome is recognized we must analyze the liver connections to other meridians.  For anyone familiar with Master Tung or Dr. Richard Tan, this type of analysis should already be understood.  For review, and for those unfamiliar with these methods, lets quickly look at the livers meridian connections.  

First of all the liver is connected to the pericardium through the Jue Yin pairing.  This is referred to as a system one connection and is extremely important to understand when treating all liver patterns.  This is because the pericardium meridian and points can soothe the liver, clear heat, and release emotional tension.  With this being the case the pericardium meridian is the best hand yin channel for treating most liver patterns.  We may understand this according to the 5-element cycle, as well as through point actions and indications.  

The liver meridians second connection is with the large intestine and this is defined by Zang-Fu Bei Tong theory.  The most commonly known example of this is with four gates; however, this is just the beginning of understanding the depth of this liver – large intestine connection.  On a deeper level the Jue Yin (LV – PC) connects with the Yang Ming (LI  -  ST) and this relationship is fundamental to treating all patterns in which the liver is affecting the digestive system.  Even in the pattern, liver overacting on the spleen, utilizing the Jue Yin – Yang Ming points is more useful than points that are typically used when a zang-fu based method for point selection is used.  

The livers third connection is with the gallbladder, and this is commonly known as the internal-external relationship.  On a deeper level the liver and gallbladder also connect with the pericardium and san jiao through the Jue Yin – Shao Yang connection.  This Jue Yin – Shao Yang meridian circuit supersedes various liver syndromes like liver yang rising, liver wind, and liver fire; this is because identifying a meridian pattern, ultimately, gives more information about the best points to choose for a treatment.  Let me state that again, identifying a meridian based pattern, rather than a zang-fu pattern, gives more information about the best points to use.

Let’s take a closer look at this to see why this is the case.  Take a zang-fu liver pattern like liver qi stagnation.  With this pattern we know that numerous symptoms from headaches, to chest tightness, to digestive and reproductive conditions are all possible.  For each client the presentation and occurrence of symptoms will vary, but liver qi stagnation as a zang-fu syndrome is limited in its point prescriptions.  However, if we look at the possible meridian syndromes that are related to liver stagnation, we find that the Jue Yin – Yang Ming, Jue Yin – Shao Yang, or Jue Yin – Large Intestine/Kidney patterns may be involved.  In cases where the liver is affecting the digestive system it makes logical sense that we would use the Jue Yin – Yang Ming circuit for treatment.  Similarly, if the head, eyes, neck, shoulders, or hips are symptomatic we would be wise to use the Jue Yin – Shao Yang circuit.  Finally, if liver stagnation is affecting the reproductive system and is also occurring with kidney imbalance, using the Jue Yin – Large Intestine/Kidney circuit would produce the optimum results.     

For readers new to this line of thinking this may be a bit of a stretch to understand, but to state it simply, taking a meridian based approach to diagnosis and treatment allows one to better determine what meridian and points will produce the best results.  Lastly, taking a meridian based perspective allows the acupuncturist to use fewer needles with greater results. 

To learn more about these methods visit: Meridian Circuit Systems.

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