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The Extraordinary Meridians or Vessels Part 1

July 14, 2014 Martin Eisen

[Scientific Qi Exploration]
The Extraordinary Meridians or Vessels
(Part 1)
Marty Eisen Ph.D.

1. Introduction (1, 2)
The eight Extraordinary Meridians are: Du (Governing) Mai (Vessel), Ren
(Conception or Directing) Mai, Chong (Penetrating, Thrusting) Mai, Yin Wei
(Linking) Mai, Yang Wei Mai, Yin Qiao (Heel) Mai, Yang Qiao Mai and Dai (Belt,
Girdle) Mai. These Meridians are also known by other names.

(a) Extra Meridians because they were discovered later than the 12 main
Meridians and so were considered extra to these. Knowledge of these
meridians is ascribed to Li-Shi Zhen (1518- 1593). A book Qi Jing Ba Mai
Chao, published in 1572, described the Extraordinary Meridians.

(b) Odd Meridians since some of them e.g. Ren, Du and Dai, are single
Vessels and not paired as the regular Meridians. Also, they do not flow out of
any of the Zang Fu Organs.

(c) Eight Psychic Channels because they all have a strong effect on psychic
and psychological functions.

(d) Miraculous Meridians was coined by the French, who observed therapeutic
results on using these, which could not be obtained using the regular

(e) Special Meridians because they are Extra and also Miraculous.
(f) Comprehensive Points because their effect is more comprehensive on the
body and mind than that of the twelve regular meridians.

(g) Homeostatic Meridians because these meridians maintain homeostasis, as

described below.

(h) Ancestral, Prenatal, Pre-Heaven Channels because they help regulate the
growth of the embryo and fetus, as discussed in Section 2, and become less
active after birth.

2. Chinese Energetic Embryology (2)

The prenatal energies, Jing (Essence), Qi (Energy) and Shen (Spirit), are
contained in both the fathers sperm and the mothers eggs. These three
energies in the sperm and egg will be called the Father Qi and the Mother
Qi. The combination of Father Qi and Mother Qi is known as Yuan (Original)

The ovum is polarized at the entry point of the sperm creating an energy
vortex. This vortex draws Heavens Energy, Earths Energy and the Eternal
Soul into the egg. It also forms a central column of energy, the Taiji
Pole. This polarization also determines the ventral and dorsal surface.

After the first cellular division, the Conception and Governing Vessels appear
on ventral and dorsal surfaces, respectively. A left and right side is also
established containing the Yin and Yang Heel Vessels. The Yin and Yang
Linking Vessels are also formed.

The second cellular division is accompanied by the development of the Belt and
Thrusting Vessels.

Each Prenatal Vessel has a role in the embryonic development. The

Conception and Governing Vessels control the development of the bodys front
and back, respectively. The Thrusting Vessel governs the bodys central
core. The Yang (Yin) Heel Vessels control the development of the bodys left
and right Yang (Yin) energy. The Yang (Yin) Linking Vessels control the
development of the exterior (interior) of the body (and correlates to Heaven
(Earth) Energy). All of the channels are bound together by the Belt Channel.

During the formation of the embryo the 6 Yang Regular Meridians arise from
the Governing Vessel as well as the Yang Heel Vessels, Yang Linking Vessels
and Belt Vessel. Also, the 6 Yin Regular Meridian, Yin Heel Vessels, Yin Linking
Vessels and Thrusting Vessels emerge from the Conception Vessel.

The mothers Meridians carry Qi that nourish and create the development of
the baby. The ten Lunar months of creation are described in (2).
For proper treatment, a Qigong doctor should know energetic fetal
development in order to diagnose the origin and causes of a disease as
congenital or acquired.

After birth, the energy in the Extra Meridians slows down considerably. They
serve as reservoirs of Qi. One of the stages in the Daoist practice of Nei Gong
is to reverse this process and restore a healthy movement in the congenital

3. Some General Properties of the Extra Meridians (2,3)

(a) Qi Reservoirs
They can absorb energy from the Ordinary Meridians and also supply energy to
them when required for example, in the event of shock.

(b) Store and Circulate Jing

They draw their energy from the Kidneys. These Vessels contain Essence,
which is stored in the Kidneys, and circulate it around the body. This helps
combine the circulation of Nutritive Qi with Essence. In particular, they
circulate Jing to the skin, hair, and Curious Organs.

Since they circulate Essence all over the body and are connected to the Main
Meridians, they are a link between the Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven Qi. Thus,
they can be used for treatments related to the Pre-Heaven Qi and the
individuals constitution.

(c) Link the Six Curious (Extraordinary) Organs with the Bodys
Internal Energy
The Extraordinary Vessels provide the link between the bodys energy flow and
the Curious Organs. The six Curious (Ancestral) Organs are: Marrow, Blood
Vessels, Bone, Brain, Gall Bladder, and Uterus.

Their regulating Vessels appear in Table

(d) Regulate the Bodys Life Cycles
The life cycles in men (every 8 years) and in women (every 7 years) are
governed by the Thrusting and Conception Vessels, respectively. These cycles
are determined by Jing, which is circulated by the extraordinary Vessels.

(e) Circulate Wei (Protective) Qi

The Conception, Governing, and Thrusting Vessels are primary responsible for
circulating Wei Qi over the abdomen, thorax, and back. Although Wei Qi is
circulated by the Lungs, its root is in the Kidneys. The Extra Vessels derive
from the Kidneys and so provide the link between the Kidney Jing and the Wei
Qi. This explains why the immune system can become vulnerable to Evil
Pathogens and allergic reactions when there is a Kidney deficiency.

(f) Link the Bodys Seas and Internal Energy Flow

The Ling Shu, Hai Lun (Magic Pivot) describes the Four Seas, their regulating
Vessels and their Access Points as well as symtoms of Excess and
Deficiency. See Table 2.

The Sea of Blood is also related to the Liver and the Sp 10 (Xue Hai).

Some Qigong schools state that there are two Seas of Qi. The Sea of Postnatal
Qi is the Middle Dantian, which is regulated by Ren 17. They call the Lower
Dantian, the Sea of Prenatal Qi and it is regulated by Ren 6.

Some acupuncture schools name three other Seas. The Sea of the Yang
Meridians is governed by the Du Meridian. The Sea of the Yin Meridians is
regulated by the Ren Meridian. The Sea of Blood is called the Sea of the
Regular Merid ians and is governed by
the Chong Meridian (4).

(g) Confluent Points

These are points that are located on the Twelve Primary Meridians through
which the Eight Extra Meridians can be accessed.

4. Generalities on the Clinical Use of the Extra Vessels (1, 3)

These Vessels can be grouped in a few different ways for clinical use.

The first grouping is into four pairs of Yin and Yang Vessels according to their
polarity, as shown in Table 4. Each member of a pair has a Master or Opening
Point which affects the Channels energy flow to different body areas.

Table 4. Pairs of Vessels, Master Points and Affected Body Areas

The Master Point of the main meridian being treated (due to symptomology) is
needled first and then its coupled Master Point is needled. In males, it is
common to needle the Master Point on the left side and the coupled Master
Point on the right. For females, it is common to needle the Master point on the
right side and the coupled Point on the left. For example, if the Governing
Vessel was being treated in a man, L 7 would be needled first on the left and
then K 6 on the right. In a woman, L 7 would be needled first on the right and
then K 6 on the left (1, 3).

The Extra Vessels can also be arranged into four groups according to their

(a) Conception, Governing and Thrusting Vessels

These Vessels originate from the Kidneys and so are connected to the
Essence. These can be used more often than the other Extraordinary Vessels
to affect energy at a deep constitutional level.

(b) Yin and Yang Heel Vessels

The Yin Heel Vessel carries Yin energy to the eye while the Yang Heel Vessel
carries Yang energy to the eye. If the energy in the Yin Heel Vessel is in
Excess one will be constantly sleepy. If the energy in the Yang Heel Vessel is
in Excess one will be awake with open eyes.

These Vessels also control the leg muscles. If the Yin Heel Vessel is diseased,
the muscles of the inner (Yin) sides of the legs are tight and the muscles of the
outer (Yang) sides of the legs are loose. If the Yang Heel Vessel is diseased
the muscles of the inner (Yin) sides of the legs are loose and the muscles of
the outer (Yang) sides of the legs are tight.

(c) Yin and Yang Linking Vessels

These Vessels link the Yin and Yang Channels. Their Master Points are on the
Triple Burner and Pericardium Meridians, which are also internally/externally

(d) Belt Vessel

This is the only horizontal Meridian. It has an influence on the energy

circulation in the legs because it encircles all the ordinary Meridians.

The Extraordinary Vessels can also be grouped by their distribution of energy

through the central axis of the body and three perpendicular planes.
The Thrusting Vessel starts from the Kidney and distributes energy to the
central core of the body. Its energy is also distributed by small channels
carrying Defensive Qi to the Yin and Yang Linking Vessels, Yin and Yang Heel
Vessels, and also to the Girdle Vessel. Thus, these five Vessels originate from
the Thrusting Vessel.

The Conception and Governing Vessels lie in the midsagittal plane of the body,
the Yang Heel and Linking Vessels define the coronal plane and the Belt Vessel
influences a transverse plane.

The path and function of each Extraordinary Vessel is discussed in the following

5. The Governing (Du) Vessel

In Pinyin Du means governing. This Channel governs the formation of the
cerebrum and medulla oblongata during embryonic development. Recall that it
is called the Sea of the Yang Meridians because it controls all the Yang
Channels. It nourishes the brain and spinal cord, helps in combining the Yuan
(Original) Qi of the Kidneys and tonifies the Kidney Yang. The Du Meridian
strengthens the spine and back. If the Du Meridian becomes excessive, the
back is stiff. If it is depleted, the head becomes shaky, heavy and unstable.

The primary pathway of the Du Meridian originates in the Lower Dantian (2)
(Figure 1) .Some acupuncturists state that it originates in the Kidneys (1, 3)
because of its clinical effects. It emerges to the surface of the body at Du1 (on
the midline, midway between the tip of the coccyx and the anus) and then
ascends along the midline of the sacrum and through the interior of the spinal
column. It runs along the midline of the neck and head to the crown of the
head at Du 20 (Bai Hui, on the midline of the head, 5 cun directly above the
midpoint of the anterior hairline, approximately on the midpoint of the line
connecting the apexes of both ears). From Du 20 the channel descends along
the midline of the forehead and nose to its final point, Du 26 (above the upper
lip on the midline, at the junction of the upper third and lower two thirds of the

As the main branch begins to run up the spinal column a branch diverges from
it, also runs up the spinal column and enters the Kidneys (Figure 1).

Another branch emerges at Du 16 or GV-16 (Feng Fu, on the midline at the

nape of the neck, in the depression immediately below the external occipital
protuberance) , enters the brain and ascends to Du 20.

Another set of branches from the perineum, encircle the anus, envelops the
external genitalia, ascend past the navel, Heart and throat and wind around
the mouth. After circling the mouth, they ascend to the eyes and emerge just
below the middle of the eyes. See Figures 1 and
Figure 2. Some Branches of
the Governing Meridian
From the inside of the eyes at Jingming (B1, .1 cun medial and superior to the
inner canthus of the eye, near the medial border of the orbit), branches follow
the Bladder Meridian up the forehead and converge at Du 20. There the Vessel
enters the brain and emerges at Du 16 where it divides into two
branches. These descend, pass through the Fengmen points (B 12, 1.5 cun
lateral to the Du Meridian, at the level of the lower border of the spinous
process of the second thoracic vertebra) and enter the Kidneys. See Figure 2.

Different Nei Gong schools may list different branches, depending on the types
of Qigong they practice. Acupuncture texts only list they main branch, since
its points are accessible to needling (3, 4), while the other branches are only
accessible to the mind.
6. Functions and Uses of the Du Meridian
Some functions of the Du Meridian appear in Table 5.

Table 5. Some Functions of the Du Meridian

The Du Meridian can be used for the following problems.

(a) The Du Meridian is useful for chronic lower backache due to Kidney
Deficiency. The back can be strengthened and the spine actually
straightened. In men, only the Governing Vessel can be used, but in women it
is best to also use the Conception Vessel. Knee and leg pain can also occur.

(b) To expel Wind: For Exterior Wind it can be used to release to the Exterior
at the Greater Yang stage of The Six Stages. Therefore, it can be used for
symptoms like runny nose, fever, headache and a stiff neck. Interior Wind can
also be subdued by using the Du Meridian. Thus, it is used for symptoms such
as tremors, dizziness, convulsions, epilepsy and for the results of Wind Stroke.

(c) The Governing Vessel can be used to strengthen the Kidney function of
nourishing Marrow and the Brain. Hence, it can treat symptoms like tinnitus,
dizziness and poor memory.

(d) For ear, nose, and throat problems of unknown origin such as swollen
glands, unclassified throat disease, and vague tooth pains.

(e) Since the Du Meridian is connected to the bodys Jing (Kidney), Qi (Heart)
and Shen (Heart), it can treat depression, madness, slow recovery after shock,
lack of mental stability, lack of vitality, pure and impure thoughts;
(f) For urogenital problems such as urinary retention, piles; nocturnal

(g) For diseases of the head (tetanus, apoplexy, aphasia, epilepsy, etc.), back
and neck (pain and stiffness in the spinal column), spastic movement of the
extremities; gastrointestinal problems (pain; Qi rushing up into the abdomen),
all resulting from an Excess condition in the Du Meridian.

(h) For a heavy feeling and shaking of the head, irritability, inability to
concentrate, poor physical and mental stamina, weak character, sterility or
impotence, which can all result from a Deficient condition in Governing Vessel

Marty Eisen, PhD, is a retired scientist, who constructed

mathematical models in medicine. He has studied and taught Yoga, Judo,
Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Qigong, Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Tai Chi. Dr.
Eisen studied Chinese Medicine through apprenticeships and correspondence
courses. His new Amazon Kindle and hard copy books Healthy Exercise for
Seniors and Non-Athletes describes classical Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong to
encourage practitioners to learn more about these arts. For more information
about Dr. Eisen please visit
7. The Conception (Ren) Vessel (Mai)
The Pinyin Ren means Conception and refers to pregnancy. It is also called the
Directing Vessel. Recall that it governs all the Yin Channels of the body and is
called the Sea of the Yin Channels. It nourishes the Yuan Qi of the five Yin

The Conception Vessel originates in the Lower Dantian, specifically in the

uterus for females.

The main branch emerges externally at Ren 1 (Hui Yin) (or Cv 1, at the
perineum, midway between the anus and the scrotum in men, and the anus
and the posterior labial commissure in women) and ascends through the
midline of the body to terminate in Ren 24 (Cheng Jiang, above the chin, in
the depression in the center of the mentolabial groove). See Figure 3.
Figure 3. The Conception Meridian
From Ren 24, two branches encircle the mouth and both ascend to the S 1
points (Cheng Qi, with the eyes looking straight forward, this point is directly
below the pupil, between the eyeball and the infraorbital ridge).

Another internal branch originates from the pelvic cavity and ascends the body
along the spine and ends in the mouth.

The Conception Connecting Vessel descends from the Luo Point Ren 15 (Jiu
Wei Turtledove

Tail, 7 cun above the umbilicus; locate the point in supine position with the
arms uplifted) and spreads over the lower abdomen. The Governing
Connecting Vessel arises from the Luo Point Du 1 (Chang Qiang) and ascends
bilaterally along the sides of the spine to the nape of the neck and spreads
over the occiput. At the scapular region, it connects with the Bladder Meridian
and spreads through the spine. Diagrams can be found in (5).

The 16th-century Chinese medical doctor, Li Shi-zhen, wrote The Conception


Governing Vessels are like midnight and midday; they are the polar axis of the
body there is one source and two branches, one goes to the front and the
other to the back of the body When we try to divide these, we see that Yin
and Yang are inseparable. When we try to see them as one, we see that it is
an indivisible whole.

8. Functions and Uses of the Ren Meridian

Table 6 lists some functions of the Ren Meridian.

Portion Location Controlled Functions

upper third sternum respiratory

middle third epigastrium digestive

lower third abdomen congenital

Table 6. Some Functions of the Ren Meridian
The Ren Meridian is important for nourishing the uterus and the genital system
as well as determining the seven year life cycle in females. With the help of
the Chong (Thrusting) Vessel, it it plays an important role in diseases related
to fetal development, delivery and menstruation.
The Conception Vessel can be used for the following problems.

(a) It can regulate the energy of the reproductive system. In the female,
Excess energy in the Ren Meridian can cause menstruation problems such as
dysmenorrhea and leucorrhea, sterility, emaciation, breast pain and paralysis
after giving birth. There can also be problems with the external genitalia,
vagina and cervix. In males, Excess energy in the Ren Meridian can cause

(b) Deficient energy in the Conception Vessel can give rise to heavy
sensations in the lower ribs, hips and lumbar area, itchy skin, abdominal pain
and hernia.

(c) It can aid the descending Qi function of the Lung Meridian and the Kidneys
function of holding and receiving the descending Lung Qi and so treat this
pattern of asthma.

(d) The Conception Vessel can be used to Tonify Yin so reduce the effects of
Empty Heat symptoms of the Heart resulting from Kidney Yin Deficiency after
menopause. Some of these symptoms are: hot flashes, night sweating,
irritability, anxiety, dizziness and insomnia.

(e) To promote blood supply to the uterus and regulate menstrual disorders
such as: dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, menorraghia and metrorraghia.

(f) To move Qi in the Lower Burner to treat fibroids, myomas, and carcinoma
in females and hernia in males, as well as abdominal lumps.

(g) For some ear, nose and throat problems such as: tooth pains, swollen
throat; heart or chest pain, difficulty or inability to swallow, cannot speak
(often involves the Liver), coughing with sputum.

9. The Microcosmic Orbit or Small Heavenly Cycle (2)

The Microcosmic Orbit is practiced in three ways. In the first two pathways the
Qi is circulated cyclically in the branches of the Conception and Governing
Meridians which run up the midline of the front and back of the body,
respectively. See figures 1 and 3. In the third pathway the Qi is cycled
through the Conception Vessel and the branch of the Thrusting Vessel which
passes through the center of the spine, as shown in Figure 4. These three
pathways are described below and should be mastered in the listed order.

(a) The Fire Path of the Microcosmic Orbit

Using mental concentration the Qi is repeatedly led up the Governing Meridian
and down the Conception Meridian branches. This releases the trapped
emotions in the tissues.

(b) The Water Path of the Microcosmic Orbit

This Path should be practiced only after completion of the Fire Path. The Qi is
cycled repeatedly up the Conception Vessel and down the Governing
Vessel. Its purpose is to change, regulate and charge the Yuan (Original) Shen
to support the perceptual side of consciousness. It cools the bodys
overheated Yang Qi and regulates the Qi circulation of the Fire Path to
rebalance the body.

(c) The Wind Path of the Microcosmic Orbit

Here the Qi cycles by ascending through the center of the spine, along a
branch of the Thrusting Vessel, intothe brain and to the third-eye point (Yin
Tang, the Extra Point at the glabella, at the midpoint between the medial
extremities of the eyebrows). Then, the Qi descends the front midline branch
of the Conception Vessel and up the branch of the Thrusting Vessel and so
on. The purpose of this Path is to increase divine perception, regulate the
glandular and endocrine systems in order to slow down the aging process.

10. The Thrusting (Chong) Vessel (Mai)

The Thrusting Vessel is also called the Penetrating Vessel, since Chong means
street in the sense that it penetrates or passes through something. The
passing through action refers to its use in changing Jing to Qi, Qi to Shen and
vice versa. It regulates both Qi and Blood of the twelve Main
Meridians. Hence, it is called the Sea of Blood and Sea of the Twelve Main

It is also responsible for the development of the cortex and the adrenal glands
during fetal development.

The Thrusting Vessel originates in the uterus in females and the corresponding
abdominal area in males. It descends to the perineum (Ren 1), where it
branches, as shown in Figure 4.

One branch ascends inside the spinal column to the brain.

Two parallel, external branches run up the front of the body alongside the
Kidney Meridians. Then, they ascend through the throat, encircle the lips and
terminate at the end of the corners of the eyes. Some qigong practitioners
claim to see a sparkling, white light radiating from the upper chest to the eyes,
when these branches are full and overflowing during meditation.
Two other external branches leave the perineum and descend the inner aspect
of each thigh along the spleen Meridian. At the medial malleolus, each branch
divides into three branches. One branch flows into the big toe and the two
other branches terminate at the bottom of each foot.
Figure 4. The Thrusting Vessel
Some Daoist schools state that there is a central branch in the middle of the
body from the crown of the head to the perineum, connecting the three
Dantians. When a practitioner reaches a higher level of attainment, this
branch is use to make contact with higher levels of consciousness.

There are also appendicular branches arising from this central branch, which
run through the midlines of both the inner and outer aspects of the arms and
legs. They enable the Yuan Qi to reach the extremities (6).

11. Functions and Uses of the Thrusting Vessel

The Thrusting Vessel can be used for the following problems.

(a) Gynecological problems

(i) If Qi of the Thrusting Vessel rises upward the hands and feet get cold, the
face gets hot and there is a feeling of fullness in the chest. The treatment is to
subdue the Rebellious Qi and regulate the Thrusting Vessel. If there are also
emotional problems and Liver Qi stagnation, then Liv 3 points (Tai Chong, on
the dorsum of the foot, in the depression distal to the junction of the first and
second metatarsal bones) are also treated.

(ii) Conditions such as scanty or late periods; amenorrhea can result if the
thrusting Vessels are Deficient or Empty.

(iii) If there is Stagnant Qi or Blood in the thrusting Vessels dysmenorrhea can


(iv) The fetus can be aborted due to abnormalities of the Thrusting Vessels.

(b) If there is deficient energy from the Thrusting Vessel to the brain, the
development of the brain can be compromised. The brains physiology is
controlled by the Thrusting Vessel working in conjunction with the Kidney
Meridians Qi.

(c) To regulate, strengthen and nourish a weak constitution with digestive

problems such as poor appetite, poor assimilation of meals and abdominal
(d) The Thrusting Vessels can move Blood to relieve pain and stiffness in the
chest, since they control the Blood in the connecting Channels.

(e) Qi and Blood Stagnation can be purged from the chest and abdomen by
using the Chong Mai.

(f) Qi surging upward in the Thrusting Vessels, producing symptoms such as

tinnitus, dizziness, vomiting and nausea, can be treated by subduing the
Rebellious Qi. Feelings of anxiety within the chest can also result from
Rebellious Qi in the Thrusting Vessels, especially if these feelings first occur in
the abdomen and then rise to the chest.

12. The Belt (Dai) Vessel

The Dai Vessel is called the Belt or Girdle Vessel in English, since Dai means
belt or girdle. It is the only Vessel that has a horizontal course. It encircles all
the ordinary Meridians and also has an energetic influence on them, as well as
on the Governing and Conception Vessels. Since it helps control the Yin and
Yang leg Meridians in the upper body, it also helps in regulating the Qi in those
Meridians as they flow down to the legs and feet. It also influences the
energetic actions of the waist, hips and genitals. The Belt Vessel can restrain
the flow of Gallbladder and Liver Qi. By its connection with the Kidney
Divergent Meridian, it can affect the ascending and descending flow of energy
from the Kidneys and Spleen.

Beginning at the Du 4 (Ming Men, below the spinal process of the second
lumbar vertebra), it encircles the waist like a belt. Posteriorly, it runs across
the lumbar region, descending anteriorly into the lower abdominal region
where it passes through GB 26 (Dai Mai, at the crossing point of a vertical line
through the free end of the eleventh rib and a horizontal line through the
umbilicus), GB 27 (Wu Shu, in the lateral side of the abdomen, anterior to the
superior iliac spine, 3 cun below the level of the umbilicus) and GB 28 (Wei
Dao, 0.5 cun anterior and inferior to GB 27) and crosses the Ren Meridian at
Ren 4 (Guan Yuan, On the anterior midline, 3 cun

below the umbilicus. Many sources say that it also say it passes through Liv
13 (Zhang Men, directly anterior and inferior to the free end of the eleventh
rib). See Figure 5.
Figure 5. The Belt Vessel

Some Qigong factions (2) claim that through Qi cultivation the energy in the
Belt Vessels increases the bodys Wei Qi field, encircling the body from head to
feet, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Energetic Field of the Belt Vessel

13. Some Functions and Uses of the Belt Vessel

The Belt Vessel can be used for the following problems.

(a) Excess symptoms such as:

(i) pain in the lumbar region and sides of the lower abdomen,
(ii) weakness in the shoulders, upper and lower extremities, which can occur
on opposite sides of the body,

(iii) feeling of heaviness in the body and abdomen resulting from exposure to

(iv) those produced by Excess Liver energy can be treated by using the Belt
Vessel to tonify and harmonize the flow of liver and Gallbladder Qi.

(b) Deficiency symptoms such as:

(i) feelings produced as if sitting in cold water up to the waist, while upper
part of body is outside of water ( weakness and pain in the lumbar and sacral
regions, etc.),

(ii) navel, abdominal and lumbar pain; feeling as if a stick is pressing against
the groin;fullness and distention of the abdomen,

(iv) females may have an abnormal, white, discharge from the vagina and a
prolapsed uterus.

(c) To treat hip pain caused by Excess Liver Yang and Deficient Liver Blood,
leading to malnourishment of the sinews and joint.

(d) To treat impaired circulation of Qi and Blood flowing down the legs
resulting from Deficiency of energy in the Stomach and Qi Meridians. This
produces motor impairment of the leg muscles, atrophy, numbness or

(e) If Liver Blood does not nourish the legs muscles and tendons, then the
result is cold legs and feet or tense leg muscles. The Belt Vessel can be used
to treat the impaired circulation in the Liver Meridian.

(f) To regulate imbalances in the Belt Vessel, that can cause abdominal
symptoms such as a bloated abdomen or sagging waist.

(g) To disperse Damp Heat in the genitals, that can result in difficult or
burning urination.
Marty Eisen, PhD, is a retired scientist, who constructed
mathematical models in medicine. He has studied and taught Yoga, Judo,
Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Qigong, Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Tai Chi. Dr.
Eisen studied Chinese Medicine through apprenticeships and correspondence
courses. His new Amazon Kindle and hard copy books Healthy Exercise for
Seniors and Non-Athletes describes classical Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong to
encourage practitioners to learn more about these arts. For more information
about Dr. Eisen please visit
The Extraordinary Meridians or Vessels
(Part 3)
Marty Eisen Ph.D.

14. The Yin Heel (Qiao) Vessels (Mai)

Qiao can be translated as heel or to stand on toes. The Yin and Yang Heel
Vessels are also called Bridge Vessels since they act as a bridge to link the
bodys stored Qi with areas requiring Qi to ensure a balanced distribution of

The Yin Heel Vessels begin at K 2 (Ran Guo, on the medial side of the foot,
distal and inferior to the medial malleolus, in the depression distal and inferior
to the navicular tuberosity). It ascends to K 6 and then to K 8 and continues
up the medial aspect of the leg to the inguinal region, where it enters the
genitals. From the genitals, it travels up the anterior abdomen and the chest to
ST 12 (Que Pen, in the midpoint of the supraclavicular fossa, 4 cun lateral to
the anterior midline). From ST 12 it travels to ST 9 (Ren Ying, Level with the
tip of Adams apple where the pulsation of common carotid artery is palpable,
on the anterior border of sternocleidomastoid muscle and along the cheek to Bl
1 (Jing Ming, .1 cun medial and superior to the inner canthus of the eye, near
the medial border of the orbit), as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7. The Yin Heel Vessels
At Bl 1 it meets the Bladder, Du and Yang Qiao Mai vessels. From there some
sources state that it rises upwards and enters the brain.

15. Functions and Uses of the Yin Heel Vessels

The Yin Heel Vessels control the Yin of both sides of the body. They influence
the regions of the body through which they pass (the legs, male and female
reproductive systems, lower abdomen in females, head and eyes). They can
be used for the following problems,

(a) To treat symptoms of Excess in the Yin Heel Vessel resulting in cramping
of some leg muscles on the medial sides, which rotate the legs inward and
invert the feet. With this condition if a person is relaxed and lying supine, the
legs will turn inward or the feet will invert.

(b) To treat Deficiency in the Yin Heel Vessels causing the feet to turn outward
and also insomnia.

(c) To balance the right and left sides of the bodys structure.

(d) To treat the symptoms of Excess in the Lower Burner in women such as
abdominal distention, abdominal fibroids, masses and lumps, difficult labor, or
the retention of the placenta.

(e) To treat Excess Yin causing painful urination, difficult bowel movements,
diarrhea, stomach rumbling, vomiting, hypotension, and unconsciousness.

(f) For eye diseases due to Excess in the Yin Heel Vessels such as heavy
sensations of the eyelids or an inability to open the eyes while trying to stay
awake, watery eyes, congestive headaches, migraines; sleepiness.

(g) To treat Deficiency of the Yin Heel Vessels that can lead to insomnia,
headaches at night, cramps or convulsions, and worsening of symptoms during
the evening.

The Heel Vessels are responsible for the formation of the motor nerves during
fetal development. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the Yin Heel
Vessels are responsible for making little girls less active than little boys (2).
Figure 8. The Left Yang Heel Vessel

16. The Yang Heel Vessels

It originates at Bl 62 (Shen Mai, in the depression directly below the external
malleolus) and travels behind the heel to Bl 61 (Pu Can, 1.5 cun inferior to the
center of the depression, midway between the prominence of the lateral
malleolus and the posterior border of the Achilles tendon, in a tender
depression on the calcaneum). It continues up the calf to Bl 59, up the lateral
aspect of the leg to GB 29 (Ju Liao, on the lateral aspect of the hip joint, at the
midpoint of a line drawn between the anterior superior iliac spine and the
prominence of the greater trochanter). Then, it goes up the back to the
scapular region at SI 10. It continues to LI 15 and LI 16 and then travels to
the face and connects with ST 4, ST 3, ST 1 and Bl 1 where it meets with the
Bladder, Du and Yin Qiao Meridians. From there, it travels over the head and
terminates at GB 20. See Figure 8.

17. Functions and Uses of the Yang Heel Vessels

The Yang Heel Vessels control the Yang of both sides of the body and influence
the regions through which they pass. They can be used for the following

(a) To treat symptoms of Excess in the Yang Heel Vessel resulting in cramping
of some leg muscles on the lateral sides, which rotate the legs outward and
evert the feet. With this condition if a person is relaxed and lying supine, the
legs will turn outward or the feet will evert.

(b) To treat Deficiency in the Yang Heel Vessels causing the feet to turn
inward and sleepiness.

(c) To treat Excess Yang in the Yang Heel Vessels leading to problems such as
hypertension, spontaneous sweating, head sweating, paralysis of the arms and
legs, swelling of the body, pain in the joints, thigh tumors, and not being able
to bend (stiff back and waist).

(d) To treat Excess Yang in the Yang Heel Vessels leading to eye problems
such as pain, dry and itchy eyes, difficulty in closing the eyes, and insomnia.

(e) To treat Excess Yang in the Yang Heel Vessels leading to head problems
like bad colds, nose bleeding, headaches, and deafness.

(f) To purge Wind Cold or Wind Heat producing symptoms such as headache,
sneezing, runny nose or stiff neck.
(g) To treat Internal or External Wind in the head giving rise to dizziness,
facial paralysis, aphasia, etc.

(h) To treat acute Excess conditions of the lower back like painful spasms or
invasion of Cold and pain along the leg Bladder Meridians.

(i) To treat Deficiency symptoms such as lassitude, weakness and fatigue

during the day, which improve as it turns darker.

According to some traditional Chinese medicine texts if epilepsy occurs at

night, the Yin Heel Vessels are treated. However, if it occurs during the day,
then treat the Yang Heel Vessels. These Vessels are also responsible for
making little boys more active than little girls. In the newborn, Excess Yang in
the Yang Heel Vessels can cause vomiting of milk.

18. The Yin Linking (Wei) Vessels

Wei means to link. The Linking Vessels act as reservoirs for the Primary
Meridians storing overflowing Qi and Blood and releasing Qi and Blood into
these Meridians when the flow is insufficient. Hence, they are also called the
Regulator Vessels. The Yin Linking Vessels connect with all the main Yin
Meridians (Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung, Kidney and Pericardium).
Figure 9. The Yin Linking Vessels

The Yin Linking Vessels begin at Kd 9 (Zhu Bin) and ascend on the medial
sides of the legs, the abdomen and the chest until the center of the male
nipples or St 17 (Ru Zhong, in the fourth intercostal space, 4 cun lateral to the
anterior midline). At St 17 the Vessels they divide into two sets of
branches. One set of branches connects with the Conception Vessel in the
neck. The other set becomes Yin Yu (Surplus) Vessels and run from the chest
over the shoulders following the Pericardium Meridian to Pc 6 (Nei Guan, 2 cun
above the transverse crease of the wrist, between the tendons of m. palmaris
longus and m. flexor radialis). From Pc 6 it flows into the palms.

19. Functions and Uses of the Yin Linking Vessels

These Vessels can be used for the following problems.

(a) To treat Blood Deficiency resulting in headaches in the back of the neck.

(b) To treat gastrointestinal problems such as difficulty in swallowing,

vomiting, spasms, constipation, indigestion, abdominal swelling, ulcers,
diarrhea, hemorrhoids, internal fullness of chest, and prolapsed rectum.

(c) To treat Yin and Blood Deficiency, especially if there are also mental
symptoms like anxiety, unrest, and insomnia.

(d) To Tonify the Heart for symptoms such as fullness, pain, or stiffness in the
chest, accompanied by nightmares, depression, apprehension, and timidity.

20. The Yang Linking Vessels

Figure 10. Left Yang Linking Vessel
They connect with all the Yang Meridians (Large Intestine, Stomach, Small
Intestine, Bladder, Triple Heater and Gallbladder) and move the Yang
energy. They control the Protective (Wei) Qis resistance to External Evils. If
the Yang energy is diminished in the Yang Linking Vessels, the Excess Yin can
lead to lowered resistance to cold and fever.

They originate at Bl 63 (Jin Men, on the lateral side of the foot, in the
depression posterior to the tuberosity of the fifth metatarsal bone and ascend
the lateral sides of the legs and back to SI 10 (Nao Shu, when the arm hangs
down in adduction, the point is directly above the posterior end of the axillary
fold, in the depression inferior to the scapular spine). SI 10 is the point of
intersection of the Yang Linking and the Yang Heel Vessel. From the SI 10
points, both Linking Vessels splits into two sets of branches.

One set of branches ascends the sides of the neck and head to GB 20 (Feng
Chi, in the depression between the upper portion of m. sternocleidomastoideus
and m. trapezius, on the same level as a horizontal line immediately below the
external occipital protuberance), where it meets the Governing Vessel.

The other set of branches are Yang Yu Vessels which flow down the back sides
of each arm following the trajectory of the Triple Heater (Burner) Meridian to
TB 5 (2 cun proximal to the dorsal wrist crease in the depression between the
radius and the ulna, on the radial side of the extensor digitorum communis
tendons) and then into the back of the hands. See Figure 10.

21. Function and Uses of the Yang Linking Vessels

These Vessels can be used for the following problems.

(a) To treat Excess symptoms like pain in the lateral sides of the head, neck,
trunk and legs (along the Gallbladder Meridians), alternating chills and fevers,
rashes, night sweats, dizziness especially if they occur during weather

(b) To treat ear diseases caused by Liver Fire rising (tiinitus, deafness, etc,)
and also due to Gallbladder problems.

(c) To treat hypochondriac pain.

(d) To treat Deficiency symptoms such as loss of energy and strength, feelings
of coldness and lack of body heat, fatigue and stiffness, especially during rainy
or cold weather.
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Vessels. Am. J. of Acupuncture, Vol. 8, No. 2, June 1980.
2. Johnson, J.A. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy. Int. Institute of Medical
Qigong, Pacific Grove, CA, 2000.
3. Maciocia, G. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Churchill Livingstone,
New York, 1989.
4. Chen Youbang, et al, eds. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Foreign
Language Press, Beijing China, 1990.
5. Eisen, M. Scientific Qi Exploration. Part 2. The Collaterals. yang-, Nov./Dec., 2013.
6. Mitchell, D. Heavenly Streams: Meridian Theory in Nei Gong. Singing
Dragon, London, 2013.