May 29, 2003

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the things I leaned to help me with my massage boards was to draw the meridian clock. Meridians are energy pathways that run through the body. Each meridian has several points that have specific functions. By releasing Chi from various points, the body can be ‘adjusted’ and brought back to full health. The clock is a good way to relate the meridians with the times Chi passes through each one, as well as the elements, the seasons, and the Yin and Yang.

Chi passes through each meridian twice a day for two hours each time. One time it passes in the Yin, and one in the Yang. Questions on the boards dealt with knowing where the meridians begin and end, and some of the properties. A portion below deals with this. There are many other items that could be related here, but I feel I have included the top ones. You should also realize that I had to have this memorized so I could draw it on a blank piece of paper when I got into the testing room. I wasn’t even allowed to take my wallet in with me.

In deciphering this to answer questions, you must understand that all points are asked from the anatomical position. This is also the basis for all questions about anatomy and physiology. It is simply a defined point of reference when dealing with the body. It makes it so left and right and up and down are known without having to see the subject. The anatomical position is with the body standing, facing front, with the arms at the sides, palms facing front. At least that is the western definition. In Chinese medicine, it is the same except that the arms are raised over the head, with palms facing front.

This is most helpful as Chi passes up or down depending whether it is in Yin or Yang. It passes up in Yin, and down in Yang. If I were asked where Chi passes up to when it goes through the heart meridian, I would know based on this chart. Since we are talking Yin, I know it goes up. I know that the Heart meridian is a hand meridian who’s last point is in the shoulder. One would normally think that Chi passes from the hand up to the shoulder, but when we remember the Chinese anatomical position (with the hands over the head), we know it passes up from the shoulder to the hand.

Here are the instructions that I made up for a friend to draw the clock, along with hints I made up to help me remember what to fill in where.

Step 1

Draw your clock face, and number the hours. Then draw two circles outside the clock. Leave enough room to write in the outer circles.

Step 2

Extend the odd hours (1,3,5,7,9,11) to the outer circles. Label the inner circle 'AM' and the outer circle 'PM'.

Step 3

Starting at the 3am hour, add the meridians. Lung (Lu), Large Intestine (LI), Stomach (St), Spleen (Sp), Heart (He), Small intestine (SI)... no, not Sports Illustrated

Step 4

Starting at the 3pm hour, add the meridians. Bladder (Bl), Kidney (Kid), Pericardium (Per), San Jao (SJ), Gall Bladder (GB), Liver (Liv)

Step 5

Using the inner circle only (as always, starting at the 3am hour), add the Yin, Yang definitions. The trick is to remember that it is one and two then two and one, and that the first is an opposite. It goes Yin, Yang, Yang, Yin, Yin, Yang.

Step 6

Again with the inner circle and starting at 3am, add the hand-foot assignments. Now, these come in pairs, everything is repeated. It goes, hand, hand, foot, foot, hand, hand.

Step 7

Add the Yin, Yang and hand, foot assignments to the outer circle. The key here is that the outer circle is the absolute opposite of the inner circle.

Step 8

Add the element assignments. Start with the inner circle at 3am. The key is to remember MEEF, and know that everything comes in twos. Metal, metal, earth, earth, fire, fire. Go to the outer circle and do the same thing. To do this, you need to remember WAFWOO. Since there are two elements that start with W, it needs to be this way. Start at 3pm and label... Water, water, fire, fire, wood, wood.

Step 9

Once we have the elements, we can add the colors. This part is real easy. Water is blue, fire is red. Before wood is dried out, it is green. Now, when metal is heated, it is white. The leaves earth, and if you think of fields of wheat, it is yellow.

Step 10

Add the seasons to the mix. Look at the colors and elements. Fire is red and hot, like summer. Water with its crisp blue is cold, as winter. When you think of green, you think spring. When you move to the inner circle, you look at winter in the outer circle. Where it is winter outside, it is autumn inside. Since fire on the inside is already assigned as summer, you have to figure what is between summer and autumn. That is late summer.

Step 11

Assign the points at the unmentioned end of the meridian. Each meridian starts at its name, then goes elsewhere. The following are locations that the points end near. I have looked at the points and come up with a location close enough to the point, yet keeping it simple. These are not the actual point names, just a local location. Ok, here goes. The inner circle starting at 3am. SNECSE (pronounced sneck-see). Shoulder, nose, eye, chest, shoulder, ear. (You need to watch that last as it is the only strange one.) Move to the outer circle with ENCEEC (pronounced enk-eek). Eye, nose, chest, eye, eye, chest.

Now you have your chart.

Completed Meridian Clock