As we have just seen, the meridian system is made up of the lines connecting the five yin and six yang organs plus the pericardium. Beyond these twelve, there are eight additional meridians that a Chinese doctor must know. These remaining eight are beyond our scope; however, we will visit the two most important: the Governor Vessel and the Conception Vessel meridians. These two are considered important because they have acupuncture points separate from those on any of the other twelve main meridians. All the other extra meridians share points with the main meridians.

The Governor Vessel

Dr. Motoyama associates the Governor Vessel with the sushumna nadi. It begins within the lower belly and splits in three. Two smaller branches ascend to connect to each kidney. The third, and main branch descends to the perineum where it enters the tip of the spinal chord and then rises up the spine to the brain. This branch comes over the top of the skull, down the middle of the forehead and nose, and terminates in the upper gum. Dr. Motoyama recommends the practice of nadi shodana to purify this meridian. [1]

The Conception Vessel

This meridian also begins in the lower abdomen next to the Governor Vessel. It has only one branch and it too descends to the perineum. Emerging from the muladhara (halfway between the anus and the “vegetables”), it ascends along the front midline of the body through the neck and chin to the mouth. At the mouth it splits and goes around the lips before sending branches to the lower eyes.

The Governor Vessel and Conception Vessel run along the front and back of the torso. These lines also contain the front and back of each chakra. When we breathe and draw energy up the Governor Vessel and down the Conception Vessel, we are completing the Microcosmic Orbit, which will be discussed in detail in Chapter 15: Moving Energy.


Eastern Energy/Western Energy

As we have seen, in the East energy has several aspects or forms. There are the ten forms of prana and the thirty-two forms of Chi. Each form of energy has a particular purpose or function. But what do the doctors and scientists in the West think about these models? Can these models really be accurate descriptions of the underlying reality? Our journey takes us westward

1 — See the section on pranayama.