What is the Meridian System?


What is the Meridian System?

Chinese medicine believes there is a distribution network for the fundamental substances of Qi, the body.  This distribution network is called the Meridian System and it looks like a giant web, linking different areas of our body together. Its pathways make up a body map that supplies vital energy to every part of the body.

The Chinese meaning of the word Meridian

“Jing luo”, the Chinese term for meridian has two interesting meanings. These meanings date back several thousand years and are reflected in the ancient Chinese medical text, Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), which says:

Jing meridians act as the interior. Those which branch off horizontally are luo meridians. Jing means to pass through or pathway and refers to the vertical channels. Luo means network and refers to the networks that branch off from the vertical channels (Jing). Both Jing and Luo mean link or connection, and they are bound closely together to form channels.

Classification of Meridians

The Meridian System has 12 principal meridians that correspond to the yin and yang organs and the pericardium. (Yin organs are usually those without an empty cavity, and include the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. Yang organs are organs with an empty cavity such as the gall bladder, small intestine, stomach, large intestine and bladder. In TCM, yin and yang organs are physiological functional units that incorporate a much broader meaning than common western thinking.)

Meridians linked with yin organs are known as yin meridians; if they are linked to yang organs, they are known as yang meridians. In addition to the12 principal meridians, there are eight extra meridians and smaller network-like luo meridians. Among the eight extra meridians, the Governing Vessel and the Conception Vessel are considered the most important channels, because they contain acupuncture points which are independent of the twelve principal meridians.

At the Spa at Four Seasons we use this knowledge for a treatment called The Forbidden Rice.  We use the wonderful organic products of Ling New York and combine them with the knowledge of East.

Forbidden Rice Treatment

This full-body treatment is the essence of East meets West. A rice and ginger body scrub exfoliates the entire body and is then removed without you having to leave the treatment bed. A two-phase massage follows. First, a rich butter of organic ginger, lotus and fennel is used to stimulate blood circulation. This is followed by a lymphatic drainage massage using a warming oil blend of cinnamon, ylang-ylang and black pepper. This truly indulgent treatment is inspired by old and new Hong Kong.


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