Meridian Theory

meridian-theoryEastern cultures believe that energy circulates and nourishes the whole person through specific pathways, or meridians as they are usually called.

In Indian medicine this is called a nadi, or river. Meridians form a crisscross network of interconnected pathways that link the organs, skin, flesh, muscle and bones in a unified body.

The qi that circulates within them may be more Yang in nature, defending the body on the outside, or more Yin in nature, nourishing the body on the inside.

These channels run from deep in the organs out through major meridian branches to smaller and smaller ones, ending up at the outside of the body in the skin; then they go back again, just like the pattern of other major body systems such as the nervous and blood systems.
• The yang meridians of the hand originate from the fingertips and flow to the head/face
• The yin meridians of the hand flow from the chest to end at the fingertips (where they connect with the next channel – a yang channel)
• For both legs and arms the meridians of the yin are on the inside/protected surface of the arm/leg while the yang meridians are on the outside of the arm/leg.
• The yin leg meridians flow from the toes/feet to the abdomen/thorax. The yang leg meridians originate in the head and flow toward the feet.
• The front of the body is yin, the back, yang.


Each of the twelve organs is linked with a meridian or channel of energy, named according to the internal organ it affects. The meridians, like rivers of energy, ensure proper nurturing of qi or life force throughout your whole being. When you are healthy, the flow of qi proceeds unimpeded, like the water in a free-running river, and energy is well distributed throughout the meridian pathways. When the river, or meridian, is blocked for some reason, the qi is prevented from reaching the specific area it is supposed to nurture. The result is that the cells, tissue or organs in the affected area will suffer.


Because the meridians serve the whole body from outside in and inside out, they have a dual role. They prevent harmful energies from entering (in the form of bacteria and viruses) the body. They also indicate the presence of harmful energy already inside the body in the form of symptoms on the outside. These may be felt as aches, pains, heat or cold.

Any type of “disease” is a sign that the energy within the meridian system is out of balance. When a meridian is blocked, one part of the body is getting too much qi and enters a state of excess, while another part is getting too little and becomes deficient in qi. This will result in one organ becoming overactive while another organ will become under-active and may be fatigued. If you do not correct this problem when initially manifested it can lead to the symptoms getting progressively worse and the disease gets more serious.

Working on the head meridians is one of the aims of Indian Head Massage, as the unique nature of meridians is to reflect imbalance and then to act as the channel by which the imbalance can be corrected. Along the meridians you will find more highly charged energy points, which are called pressure points in English. This is where the qi is most easily affected. Stimulating different pressure points will correct the energy imbalance, and meridians and points are worked on directly until proper energy flow is restored. By using different techniques such as pressure, stretching and rubbing, you can help to release the blockages, “open” the meridians and recharge your client.

NEXT: Benefits of Indian Head Massage