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The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 1

by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, March 7, 2011

Here will briefly review the twelve primary Qi channels along with the eight extraordinary meridians. You should also know the organ's Yin and Yang. In our body, there are six Yang organs and six Yin organs. Each Yang organ is associated with and harmonized by a Yin organ. Paired Yin and Yang organs belong to the same phase in the Five Phases. Their channels are sequential to each other in the circulation of Qi, their functions are closely related, and disease in one usually affects the other. In Chinese medicine, the channel corresponding to the Yang organ is often used to treat disorders of its related Yin organ.

In the limbs, the Yang channels are on the external side of the limbs while the Yin channels are on the internal side. Generally speaking, the outsides of the limbs are more Yang and are more resistant and prepared for an attack, while the internal sides are more Yin and weaker.

The organs are further subdivided in order to distinguish the different levels of the Yin/Yang characteristics. The Yang organs are divided into Greater Yang (Taiyang), Lesser Yang (Shaoyang), and Yang Brightness (Yangming). The Yin organs are divided into Greater Yin (Taiyin), Lesser Yin (Shaoyin), and Absolute Yin (Jueyin). In the following discussion, all of the classifications will be shown in the title, for example: the Lung Channel of Hand Greater Yin.

Lung Channel of Hand Greater Yin

The lungs (Yin) and the large intestine (Yang) are considered paired organs. They belong to Metal in the Five Phases, the westerly direction, the season of autumn, the dry climatic condition, the color white, the pungent taste, the rank odor, the emotion of sadness, and the sound of weeping. Their opening is the nose, and they govern skin and hair.

In Qigong practice, since the lungs belong to Metal, they are able to regulate heartburn. The heart belongs to Fire. Whenever the heart has excess Qi, deep breathing is able to lead the heart's fire to the lungs, and therefore cool the heartburn. When the weather is changing from damp, hot summer into dry and cool autumn, lungs are the first organ to sense the change. If your lungs are not able to readjust themselves to fit the new situation smoothly, you will catch a cold. The lungs access the outside world through your nose. The lungs are responsible for taking Qi from the air, and for the energy (Qi) state of the body.

Breathing is considered a strategy for leading Qi to the extremities such as skin and hair. When your breathing is regulated properly, you are able to strengthen your body's Guardian Qi and generate an expansive Qi shield to protect your body. You are also able to raise or lower your Qi state through your breathing. For example, when you are angry, deep breathing is able to calm your excited Qi state.

The lungs are sensitive to emotional changes, especially when you are sad or angry. They also control that part of the liquid metabolism which distributes liquid to the skin.

Because the lungs are usually the first to be attacked by exogenous diseases, they are called the Delicate Organ. These diseases can also cause what is called the Non-Spreading of the Lung Qi. The main symptom of a problem with the lungs is coughing, which is a form of Rebellious Qi (since the lung Qi normally flows downward). If coughing is also accompanied by lassitude, shortness of breath, light foamy phlegm, and weakness in the voice, it is called Deficient Lung Qi. However, if the cough is a dry one, with little phlegm, a parched throat and mouth, and Deficient Yin symptoms (such as night sweating, low grade fever, red cheeks, etc.), the condition is referred as Deficient Lung Yin.

Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 1

Large Intestine Channel of Hand - Yang Brightness

The lungs (Yin) and the large intestine (Yang) are considered paired organs. They belong to Metal in the Five Phases, the westerly direction, the season of autumn, the dry climatic condition, the color white, the pungent taste, the rank odor, the emotion of sadness, and the sound of weeping. Their opening is the nose, and they govern skin and hair. The main function of the large intestine is the metabolism of water and the passing of water. It extracts water from the waste material received from the small intestine, sends it on to the urinary bladder, and excretes the solid material as stool. Many disorders affecting this organ are categorized as spleen and stomach patterns. Certain abdominal pains are considered manifestations of a blockage of Qi or blood in the large intestine.

In Qigong, the Dan Tian in the lower abdomen is considered the residence of Original Qi. In order to keep this Qi at its residence, this area must be strong and healthy. The Qi circulating around the intestines must not be stagnant. When you practice Qigong you must learn how to regulate your breathing to smooth the Qi flow in the large intestine and the lungs. This will allow you to relax the front of your body and regulate the Qi flow in the other organs.

End of Part 1

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, is a renowned author and teacher of Chinese martial arts and Qigong. Born in Taiwan, he has trained and taught Taijiquan, Qigong and Chinese martial arts for over forty-five years. He is the author of over thirty books, and was elected by Inside Kung Fu magazine as one of the 10 people who has "made the greatest impact on martial arts in the past 100 years." Dr. Yang lives in Northern California.



Does anyone knows what could mean a totally numb GV 26 point ??
(look on the chart above) As far as I know this point is called also "Ghost palace" - could this mean that this numbness has something to do with ghosts or is just signal of depletion of energy ???
M. – March 7, 2011, 2:41 pm
Many thanks for this very encompassing and succinct summary! I look very much forward to reading the the next part on other channels / meridians.
Matt – March 20, 2011, 9:55 am
Regarding the question about numbness at Gv 26, here is an answer from Scott Cedeno:

"Let me first say that it is very difficult to address a question like this without more information and a clinical exam. Nonetheless, numbness can have many causes.

Considered from a more physical/structural perspective, numbness anywhere in the body is a neurological concern. There is some sort of neuropathic problem, or a problem with the nerves, either locally, at the sight of pathology i.e numbness at the upper lip, or proximally, either at or near the spine, or somewhere along the neural pathway. Say, for instance, there may be some sort of misalignment of the vertebrae associated with the nerve that controls the effected area of the body. The misalignment my effect healthy function of the nerve as it exists the spinal column, resulting in the perception of numbness at the effected area.

If this is the case, then a very useful acupuncture point is Cv 12, which, in the Kiiko Matsumoto Style, is the main treatment point for all neurological conditions.

Looked at from a more energetic standpoint, there may be some sort of energy blockage somewhere else along the Governing Vessel. Gv 26 is often used for acute back pain of the lumbar spine, usually along the mid line. Though the numbness is not acute, there may be signs of stagnation, such as pain or sensitivity, at the other end of the Gv line, somewhere along the lumbar spine. It may be possible to treat pathology along the Gv line at the lumbar spine and have a healthy change further along the channel.

In addition to treating acute low back pain, GV 26 can also be used to revive consciousness in an individual, to calm the spirit, to treat conditions of the nose and face, and to expel wind pathogens. The numbness may be purely a local issue which is the result of a 'bi' syndrome, such as Wind Dam Bi. If this is the case, then the bi syndrome itself must be treated, through expelling the wind, and either drying or transforming the dampness. Furthermore, Gv 26 is also the meeting point of the Governinig Vessel, Large Intestine, and Stomach Channels, and it is possible that the numbness is a reflection of some imbalance in either or both these meridians.

Finally, Gv 26 is listed among the 13 Ghost points first identified by Sun Sim Yao and mentioned in the "Thousand Ducat Formulas", which I believe was written sometime in the 7th century CE, but I'd have to check. The 13 Ghost points where used to treat mania and epilepsy, but I am not aware of their usage as a group to address numbness.

I hope this is helpful. If there is anything else I can do, just let me know.
David Silver – April 13, 2011, 1:48 pm
Dear Scott Cedeno,
thank you very much for your reply !!!
I appreciate that you gave so much information and time to the subject!
Best regards to all here!
m.b. – June 3, 2011, 4:33 pm

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