Updated: Aug 11, 2019
Irrigating Stagnant Ki Through Stretching & Breathing
The meridian exercises were originally developed on the precepts of “oneness of body and mind”.
Everything living has some kind of awareness of being alive.
One way that all living entities respond to that awareness is through posture. In human beings, posture reflects their attitude and reveals intentions before actions are taken. The state of Ki (intention) can be observed in a person’s posture (action). Posture changes with the movement of Ki, and Ki circulation is affected by the way we use our bodies.
When Ki is stuck in one place, the circulation of Ki in the whole body is affected. When such obstructions of Ki reach a certain magnitude, disease tends to gradually take form. A functional disorder is the deterioration of a physical function. Further deterioration in function will eventually develop into organic or structural disorders. It is difficult to recognize the early stages for the average person with general stiffness and muscle tension. Meridian stretches are a way to determine for yourself the functions that were impaired in the first place and restore balance.
The concept of the meridians is basic and fundamental to East Asian medicine. When illnesses are treated by applying meridian principles, great benefits are attained.
It is written in the classics of Chinese medicine that the meridians are the flow of “Ki” and “Ketsu”. “Ki” is our intangible life force energy, and “Ketsu” represents blood and body fluids. For the most part, these words refer to the dynamics of energy, or a functional state, rather than physical substances.
From the perspective of East Asian medicine, life is viewed in terms of circulation and flow of energy, rather than their physical structures. In this framework, Ki is a central concept which addresses life instead of inert matter.
The meridians are a concept that is still relatively foreign to Western Medicine, which is largely based on studying the details of the physical structure. Meridians are thought to have function, but no substantial structure; More recently there has been a possible relationship between the physical myofascial chains and the Ki meridians, but the meridians are much more than a fascial layer. Most of what we know about the structure of the human body has been discovered by dissecting cadavers. Meridians are a functional force perpetuated by life, there is no way that they can be observed in a dead body. This in itself is evidence that meridians are very closely related to the phenomenon of life.
The meridian stretches are a way to experience this dynamic of life through natural movement. The primary emphasis should be placed on practice, and only after fully experiencing these methods is it appropriate to further explore the theories. The significance of the meridians is something that therefore should be studied later.
Daily practice is absolutely necessary to benefit from the cumulative effects and especially if one hopes to gain insight into the theoretical aspects. No matter how beneficial the Meridian Stretches are, just knowing about them doesn’t do you any good, you have to make time to practice every day. The time of day isn’t important, the consistency is. Meridian stretching takes very little time, and everyone can easily fit it into their schedule if they just make the commitment.