The Eight Extraordinary Vessels 奇 經 八 脈 (奇 经 八 脉)

Whilst TCM pays most of its attention to the 12 meridians, Tai Ji pays more attention to the Eight Extraordinary Vessels 奇 經 八 脈 (奇 经 八 脉) qí jīng bā mài / qí jīng bā mò .

A note about Chinese characters: we will use traditional characters on this site for preference, with simplified characters in brackets. Above you can see that the characters for jīng and mài / mò have simplified variants.

The eight vessels are:

  • 督 脈 [督 脉] governing vessel dū mài. This is the vessel that runs from the perineum up the spine, across the top of the head, terminating in the soft palate. Written tu mai in wade-giles.
  • 任 脈 [任 脉] Conception vessel rén mài. This runs from the tongue down the front of the body to the perineum. Written jen mai in wade-giles.
  • 衝 脈 [冲 脉] chòng mài thrusting vessel. Rises up the centre of the body. Once the lower dān tián has been activated, energy surges up the body along the chòng mài.
  • 帶 脈 [带 脉] dài mài girdling vessel. Forms a belt around the waist, passing through the mìng mén door of life (GV 4)
  • 陰 蹺 脈 [陰 跷 脉] yīn qiāo mài yin motility vessel, rises up the inside of leg from the yǒng quán bubbling spring (K 1).
  • 陽 蹺 脈 [陽 跷 脉] yáng qiāo mài yang motility vessel, rises up the outside of the leg from the ankle
  • 陰 維 脈 [陰 维 脉] yīn wéi mài yin linking vessel
  • 陽 維 脈 [陽 维 脉] yáng wéi mài yang linking vessel, rises up the outside of the leg from the jīn mén golden gate (BL 63)

Movements which stretch the leg will act to open the motility and linking vessels.

Useful References

Acupuncture reference:

  • Acuxo.com – acupuncture site with nice pictures
  • Acupuncture vessels on rootdown.us – contains the pinyin name with accents as well as the name in traditional and simplified Chinese characters. However it doesn’t have all the extra points
  • A more useful selection of the extra points can be found on sacredlotus
  • visible holism, the site of Dr. Bai Xinghua, has some nice graphs of the points.
  • This veterinary acupuncture site claims to list all acupuncture points
  • Meridian man also has a useful selection of the extra points with codes.

Chinese language reference:

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~ by scalambra on August 7, 2009.

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