In addition to the Meridians there are also Energy vessels, storing energy for when it is needed or alternatively taking up any excess energy. They are in general not paired like the meridians. The Energy vessels and Meridians are linked, so that often the vessels branch out from the meridians. They too share the function of circulating energy through the body, but are ‘charged with energy’ and thus are pretty 'potent' in their effect.
Energy vessels roughly correspond to a combination of Physical nervous system and the Blood circulation system. [There may also be links to the Lymph system] We are used to the idea that Hormones and Neurotransmitters circulate around the blood system and that we get Endorphins and Dopamine, Oxytocin, follitropin and lutropin (FSH and LH) ; Adrenaline and Acetylcholine, but these are chemical messengers so they are the carriers of messages around the body. A chemical cannot of itself provide data, but a message can, and Endorphins, for example, carry the message ‘pain relief and euphoria’. So the hardware of the body has a communications network based on chemicals – Hormones and Neurotransmitters; underlying this hardware based system is a software based system of data content and functional effect – Energy vessels.
Energy vessels unsurprisingly are said to have a 'strong effect upon psychic functioning'. And are absolutely key to spiritual experience. French acupuncturists call them the Miraculous Meridians!
Needless to say any taker of opioids would tell you the same thing! We are dealing here with the same system, but eastern medicine has a tendency to view it spiritually whereas western medicine views it from a hardware perspective.
It is possible to promote spiritual experience via the Physical nervous system but there are also more opportunities for using the body’s own Hormones and Neurotransmitters – endorphins, dopamine and so on which are far more potent in effect functionally than the nervous system, although slower acting.
In TCM, when the Meridians - the twelve primary channels are ‘deficient in energy’, the eight vessels can supply it, but it is also possible to get these vessels to release their energy through some of the major Trigger points.
If we look at this physically therefore, it is possible to encourage the release of hormones and neurotransmitters via Trigger points. And we know this from experience, pain relief can be achieved via acupuncture, euphoria can be generated via acupressure. The Blood circulation system and thus these 8 energy channels are thus called 'The Eight Psychic channels'. The vessels are:
- Governing Vessel (Du Mai) - GV
- Conception Vessel (Ren Mai) - CO
- Thrusting vessel (Chong Mai) - TH
- Girdle Vessel (Dai Mai) - GI
- Yang Heel Vessel (Yangqiao Mai) - YAH
- Yin Heel vessel (Yinqiao Mai) - YIH
- Yang Linking vessel (Yangwei Mai) - YAL
- Yin Linking vessel (Yinwei Mai) - YIL
In all the explanations about these channels I have used the diagrams and explanation found in the following books - all very highly recommended – truly excellent - being well written, exhaustively researched and comprehensive:
- Chinese Qigong Massage - Dr Yang Jwing-Ming
- Muscle Tendon changing and Marrow/Brain washing Chi Kung – The Secret of Youth - Dr Yang Jwing-Ming
- The Root of Chinese Qigong – Secrets for Health, Longevity and Enlightenment - Dr Yang Jwing-Ming
The muscle tendon changing book is the one to home in on if you seek spiritual experience.
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