There are processes in the body that occur automatically, that is to say without requiring will or effort. An example of this is if we were to enter an environment that would cause our eyes to water because of some irritant in the air, it is a process that happens regardless of our conscious thought or control. We simply cannot stop our eyes watering by instructing them to do so. This is what is meant by an unconscious phenomenon and is governed by our Wei Qi or defensive Qi in the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Wei Qi is governed by the Lungs and the Kidneys, however the realm of the Wei Qi are the Sinew Channels.
So what do I mean by Sinew channels? What am I referring to here? Well sinew meridians or channels are regions on the body, as mentioned above, that conduct Wei Qi; they include the tendons, muscles, ligaments and fascia (sheaths or membranes that contain the muscles). Through trauma, whether it be sports injury, accident, climatic conditions, over-use, under-use or emotional affectations, our bodies become tight our muscles tense up and become knotted blocking the flow of the Wei Qi.
Most TCM practitioners do not treat using the Sinew Channels, this extremely valuable information was left out by the Chinese Government during the Cultural Revolution in the 1950s with Chinese Herbalists in mind. In doing so many of the channels that would be traditionally treated using acupuncture, massage or a combination of the two, were, by and large left out. Interestingly Chinese Herbal medicine is a system that requires the taking something from the outside to make changes on the inside, whereas acupuncture is a system that has been designed to allow internal changes to arise from the inside. Indeed many of the acupuncture points that are used in treatment have a profound effects and facilitate a process of self discovery if used in the right context and their names reflect this, especially when the ideograms of the points are broken down. One example might be the acupuncture point Kid6, Illuminated Sea or Zhao Hai, which allows an individual to contemplate themselves, providing a greater sense of self while imparting a sense of vitality to their spirit. Such is the sophistication of acupuncture.
But back to the sinew channels as conduits of the Wei Qi or defensive energy, they are the first line of defense against both internal and external diseases. The sinew meridians do not have any points on them per se and are wider regions than the more familiar primary channels found in TCM. As we palpate or gently massage along the sinew channels (of which there are six, moving from the outside to the inside), we discover fruit points that represent disruptions to the flow of the Wei Qi. These fruit points correspond to physical pain in the body or other more internal disruptions including an imbalance of the organs and digestive processes as well as emotional and mental imbalances. When these areas are released through massage, needling, scraping, cupping, bleeding, essential oils etc, the symptoms and the underlying cause of the disease experienced by the individual drops away and improved health results.
The Sinew Channels run from the outside of the body to the inside of the body as follows:
– Tai Yang
– Yang Ming
– Shao Yang
– Tai Yin
– Shao Yin
– Jue Yin
Please look out for my next post where I will discuss the nature of the individual sinew channels starting with Tai Yang.
Your Good Health!