Definition of Eastern Medical terms and theories
Meridians, called ‘JingLuo’ (經絡) in Chinese, is an ancient mapping of the human body in which the Qi flows from the inner most layers of the organs to the outer dermis layers. There are 12 main meridians that run from the tip of the toes and fingers upwards as well as meridians that run from the head down to the extremities. Besides the main meridians, there are special meridians that run along the muscles, specific organs, as well as the specific area of the body. Along these meridians, specific points have been identified to affect the course of the meridian differently. For example, some points can clear heat from the meridians, while some can increase blood and Qi flow to the meridians. Meridians are the basic building blocks for Oriental Medicine.
The Five Element Theory
The five element theory called ‘Wu Xing’ (五行) in Chinese, is a way to categorize the Universe as well as the human body (the human body can be considered a microsystem of the Universe). The five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. In medicine, these five elements represent different organs and meridians. The interaction between the elements is applicable to the human physiology. For example, wood generates fire and fire generates earth. Wood represents the Liver and Fire represents the Heart. In pathology, if the Liver Qi is not flowing regularly due to stress or any kind of imbalance, in the long run, it may affect the Heart, which may show signs and symptoms as palpitations or insomnia. The Five Element theory is used in Traditional Oriental Medicine to understand the physiology and pathology, as well as to determine the treatment modality. For example, there is a Fire acupuncture point of the Liver meridian to spread the stagnant Liver Qi. The Four needle technique is rooted in the Five Element theory, selecting 4 points, 2 to sedate and 2 to tonify the affected meridian.
Yin and Yang Theory
The fundamental theory behind Eastern Medicine and Eastern philosophies is the Yin and Yang theory. The four aspects of Yin and Yang describe the relationship and interactions between Yin and Yang. They are opposition, interdependence, mutual consumption, and inter-transformation.
Meridians and Qi
Fourteen major channels called “meridians” course through the human body. A subtle energy called Qi (pronounced ‘chi’) circulates via the meridians to all parts of the body, even the most remote cells. Qi is a vital force, the presence of which separates the living from the dead. Its balanced flow is crucial in maintaining good health. Any misdirection, blockage, or other condition diverting the amount of flow or balance of Qi may result in pain, dysfunction, or illness.