The main focus of Rolfing Structural Integration is the connective tissue, also known as fascia within the body. This web-like complex also holds the Meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the meridians hold invisible energy pathways, or channels, that run through the body. Our vital life energy, called qi or chi, is thought to flow along these meridians, and anything that disrupts the smooth flow of qi is said to cause illness. Most acupuncture and acupressure points lie on a meridian. There are two centerline meridians and twelve principle meridians.
The centerline meridians are the Conception Vessel and the Governor Vessel. The Conceptions Vessel distributes chi to the major organs and maintains the proper balance of chi and blood. The Conception Vessel runs up the front of the body, from the perineum to just below the eyes. It circles around the mouth to the chest and abdomen before landing at the perineum. Problems with this vessel include uneasiness, hernias, and abdominal issues. The Governor Vessel transports chi to the major organs and balances the chi and blood in the body. The Governor Vessel starts at the perineum and travels to the coccyx before making its way to the back of the head. Flowing over the head, it then travels down the front of the face to stop at the canines in the upper jaw. Disharmony in this vessel can cause symptoms including stiffness and scoliosis.
The twelve principle meridians include the small intestine, stomach, spleen, lung, heart, bladder, kidneys, liver, large intestine, pericardium, triple warmer, and gallbladder meridians. The chart above shows where each meridian channel is located within the fascia.
The Small Intestine Meridian separates the pure from the impure, including foods, fluids, thoughts, and beliefs.
The Stomach Meridian works closely with the Spleen Meridian to perform digestion and absorption. Together, the two meridians are called the acquired foundation because they lay the foundation of digestive health for the body. The Stomach Meridian assures that the chi descends into the internal system.
The Spleen Meridian is a vital immune organ and essential for transforming food into chi and blood. It is also considered to house thoughts, governing the quality of thought available to the mind.
The Lung Meridian regulates chi throughout the body as well as breathing and many water channels, such as the kidney and bladder.
The Heart Meridian governs the blood and the pulse, as well as the mind and spirit. Problems with this meridian usually result in heart problems.
The Bladder Meridian is in charge of storing and eliminating fluid waste. It receives chi from the Kidney Meridian and uses it to transform fluids for eliminating.
The Kidney Meridian according to classical sources “grasp the chi.” They are the “residence” of yin and yang. They also rule the bones, teeth, and adrenal glands.
The Liver Meridian is considered the “second heart” of the body, thus indicating its importance. This meridian assures the flow of emotions, chi, and blood, controls the body’s immune response as well as sinews (tendons, ligaments, and skeletal muscles), absorbs what is indigestible, and is associated with the eyes.
The Large Intestine Meridian rules elimination and communicates with the lungs to regulate the transportation functions of the body.
The Pericardium Meridian works closely with the heart, protecting it from foreign invasions. This meridian governs the blood and the mind, thus affecting blood and circulation as well as personal relationships.
The Triple Warmer Meridian distributes a special chi called source chi, which is produced by the kidneys. It governs the relationship between all the various organs, allocating chi between them.
The Gallbladder Meridian runs the gallbladder, which makes and stores bile. On an energetic basis, it governs decision making. It is closely connected to the liver.
When there are blockages in a meridian, disease can occur. Even though Rolfing SI does not specifically focus on acupoints, it does touch in on the meridians, opening the channels up and getting the chi to flow.
Works Cited by Cyndi Dale from “The Subtle Body.” 2009.