Elemental Acupuncture & Integrative Health is located in Cowichan Valley, Duncan BC. In person & virtual appointments available.

We have all of these amazing highways that make up our very own energetic blueprints.

The most direct access to our blueprint is through the
Eight Extraordinary Meridians

The Eight Extraordinary Vessels – your path to deep healing and transformation

At Elemental Acupuncture & Integrative Wellness working with the Eight Extraordinary Meridians is a central focus in our practice.

Humans have done enough studying through quantum physics to know that everything is energy. We are no exception to this rule. These highways are where we move the energies of our own bodies. Through the meridians of the body we can directly access all of the organ systems and how they relate to one another. We can access our genetics and how they are manifesting in our daily lives. We can store emotional energy in our bodies within these systems to keep us from feeling too much and protecting us from being too overwhelmed. We can influence so many things with the meridian systems – these meridians are how we move and interact with our energy.

The most direct access to our blueprint or the reasons why we are here as humans is through the eight extraordinary vessels. These meridians are the meridians that develop during conception. It is these meridians that are present during birth and hold our genetic makeup from both lineages, the maternal and paternal. It’s within these meridians that our gifts and our deepest struggles live. It is where we tend to find the roots of the persons dis-ease. It’s where we can enact the greatest change. It is where all of the unconscious ways that we have developed to help us survive live.

These meridians support the body in profound ways during transitions, they help us to adapt to change, especially when this change involves who we are at a deep level and who we are trying to become. They can be a beacon of light when we feel as though we’ve tried everything and nothing has worked. They can help us to free ourselves from our ancestral patterns that make our lives more difficult. They can also help us to see our gifts within those lineages as well.

Yvonne Ferral states that these meridians become activated when there is a dire need for change. If ever there was a time where we are needed to change and evolve, it is now.

A brief introduction to the 8 Extraordinary Vessels:

The Chong Mai is the first meridian that comes through at conception. This meridian is the blueprint for our lifetime. It is the source of all of the other meridians. It is the birthplace of yin and yang, feminine and masculine and the light and the dark in the form of the Ren Mai and Du Mai meridians. From both of these meridians we learn to use resources over time through the Yin and the Yang Wei Mai. Eventually we must take a stand in who we are and how we are going to show up in the world. This happens through the Yin and Yang Qiao Mai meridians. The final meridian in the sequence is the Dai Mai which serves as a tool to integrate the whole human experience. It can also function as a reservoir to keep the things that happen to us in our lives that are too overwhelming to process under tight wraps.

Our Founder, Shannan Hazard, dives in on the Eight Extraordinary Meridians and how they can be used to aid transformative healing and growth.

Eventually we must take a stand in who we are and how we are going to show up in the world.

– Shannan Hazard, B.SC Psych, R.Ac

Chong Mai

Chong Mai starts between the kidneys, branches down through the uterus and into the perineum. One branch travels down the inner leg to the foot arch and big toe. The other branch travels up to the abdomen, along the kidney meridian, spreading through the abdomen and chest. From there, the head branch continues to travel through the throat, chin and eyes. From the abdomen, the spinal branch flows along the spine. The Chong Mai can be opened through points on the wrists and feet.

The Chong Mai contains all of the resources necessary for life. It houses all of our genetic information passed down from both lineages. This vessel is a bridge, with each of its five branches reaching from the tip of the toes to the top of the head. Within this meridian we can find the answers to some of the most important questions. Who am I? Why am I here? Who will I become? What is my purpose? What is the purpose of being human? How do I become whole?

The Chong Mai has the ability to ground us into the idea that we have everything we need and that everything is exactly as it should be.

This is the meridian that houses our intergenerational trauma. Yvonne Ferral mentions that, yes, we can find our generational weaknesses and traumas in the Chong Mai but – we can also locate the strengths and gifts of our ancestry as well.

The next two meridians to develop in utero are the Ren Mai and the Du Mai. This is the original yin and yang of the body.

Ren Mai

Ren Mai begins in between the kidneys, travels down to the perineum, and then back up the midline of the front of the body to the mouth. For women this channel travels directly through the uterus.

The Ren Mai is also known as the conception vessel. This is the “maternal” or feminine energy within the body. This is the meridian of bonding. This meridian develops fully once placed on our mother’s chest after birth.

It encompasses our nervous system and our ability to feel safe and connected in the world. This meridian is where we can access and re-pattern those coping mechanisms that are not serving us in the present moment.

We can access and help heal the root of addictions, eating disorders and other unhealthy eating patterns. We can access our blockages to how we show up for ourselves.

This is the meridian most used in fertility support as it can access our own maternal nature.

Du Mai

Du Mai begins between the kidneys and moves down to the perineum. From there is travels up the spine and through the brain, over the top of the head and down the middle of the face.

The Du Mai is the vessel of individuation – how we cultivate our independence over time. This meridian is developed as the baby starts to move after birth, as it learns to stabilize its head or to walk and explore the world around them. In this meridian we can see difficulties around attachment and ailments of the spine, neck and shoulders. We can see a collapsed state in the spine as well as in the personality. There can be lower back pain especially if chronic. Being that the Du is the yang meridian it represents our ability to be free and to move outward into the world. We can treat motivation blockages and help to move the patient towards what is important to them. It helps us to have the courage to move out into the world.

The Chong the Ren and the Du hold all of the resources that we have been gifted in this lifetime. We can use them to support us in our growth, health and future. Or we can choose not to.

The Yin and the Yang Wei vessels are the next to develop and they are responsible for “linking” the three meridians mentioned above so that we have access to all of the information and resources. These meridians are responsible for how we use our resources in this lifetime. Yvonne Ferral states that, “in their capacity to distribute the resources over time the Wei vessels become a record of our history.”

We can draw on this record at any time to access the knowledge we have acquired or has been passed down to us.

Yin Wei Mai

Yin Wei Mai begins on the inner leg above the ankle, travelling up the inner leg to the abdomen. From there it continues to the Spleen and the the Liver. It ends its journey at the forehead after passing through the chest and throat.

In this meridian we are able to access those things that have happened to us and bring out the knowledge allowing for them to heal in a healthy way. This meridian can help us to access the idea that the worst things that happened to us can be the biggest gifts. This meridian can be used to treat emotional pain in all aspects of living. It can be used to treat people who have difficulty in loving who they are.

It treats all kinds of heart pain and afflictions of the heart and chest. This meridian “mediates emotional pain” and is used for those who feel as though they are stuck in an emotional state that keeps them from living their lives or experiencing joy.

Suppression of memories and other protection mechanisms may be accessed through here as well.

If the Yin Wei Mai is used appropriately then we can move through the world with joy in our hearts and ease in our steps.

Yang Wei Mai

Yang Wei Mai begins on the outer side of the foot, below the ankle. It travels up the outside of the leg to the hip, and then makes it way to the shoulder, continuing to the ear, eventually ending at the forehead. 

A healthy Yang Wei meridian means that we can use the motivation created by the Du meridian to achieve what we want externally in life. It would mean that we can express anger in a healthy manner that does not impede our growth.

Sometimes our past experience can get in the way of moving forward. An example of this would be a past relationship ending badly and we are having a hard time connecting again due to the pain that experience caused.

If this meridian is out of balance we tend to have a fear of conflict. The repression of feelings can cause us to feel stuck and unable to move forward.

The Yang Wei also governs aging and the way we tend to engage with the process. Mid-life crisis anyone?

Someone with Yang Wei imbalance may also have too many hands in too many pies and spread themselves too thin. This allows them to never go too deep into any given thing. It is the vessel where we hide the ways we self sabotage.

The Wei Vessels govern how we use our resources over time whereas the Qiao vessels govern how we see the world and interact with it in the present moment.

Yin Qiao Mai

Yin Qiao Mai begins at the heel and passes through near the bone on the inner side of the ankle. Afterwards, the Vessel reaches the inner thigh and then to the genitals. It continues on to reach the chest. After the chest, it travels to the neck, near the Adam’s apple continuing up near the eyes to eventually cross the Yang Qiao Mai ending at the brain.

This meridian is associated with inner alignment and our values. It allows the vision to go inward for self illumination.

When there is an imbalance then we tend to not see ourselves accurately. We can have a low self image or alternatively we can also only see the self and not be aware of others around us. This happens when there has been an excessive amount of trauma and the focus has only been on survival and healing.

Imbalances cause problems with the deep stabilizing muscles of the body. It is not uncommon to see masses in the abdomen most commonly associated with gynecological issues.

The accumulation of lumps and fluid in the body creates a veil so we can protect ourselves from seeing those parts of ourselves that keep us stagnant. It is also not uncommon to feel masses that are actually just energy accumulation. Sometimes people describe this as feeling possessed or like they have a parasite.

“It has the capacity to shed light on the darkest corner of the Self so that we may fully accept who we are.”

When we can not veil the feelings enough we tend towards hopelessness and suicidal ideation.

Yang Qiao Mai

Yang Qiao Mai starts at the heel and wraps to the bone near the external part of the ankle. It continues on to the upper thigh and the hip eventually ending in the shoulder region.

This is the meridian of locomotion. It is how we put one foot in front of the other to enact change in the world and in ourselves. Unlike the Yin Wei, this meridian accumulates energy in the head.

When this meridian is functioning optimally we can see the world around us accurately and clearly and we can have appropriate mind-body connections in the present moment.

If we can not be present we can create pain in the soft tissues of the body and this pain acts as a gatekeeper and prevents us from being in the present moment. Our body becomes rigid bracing us for repeated unhealthy experiences. It creates armor. This can also create the opposite problem of the Yin Wei Mai and narcissism. It can create a pattern of only looking outside of ourselves because looking inward is too painful. It can show up as radical or overt activism. A hyper focus on the external.

This can lead us to feel depressed and chronically fatigued. We often see chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, low back and hips. This pain is trying to bring us more inwards towards the Yin Wei Mai to create balance.

Another imbalance of this meridian is constantly judging those around us as a means to keep them at a distance.

Dai Mai

Dai Mai starts at the liver meridian point on the ribs, drops down and wraps around the waist, and then connects in the back to the kidney meridian.

The Dai Mai is the only horizontal meridian in the body so all other meridians flow through it. It creates a belt around the middle of the body and there are two main functions and pathways of the Dai Mai.

The first function of the Dai Mai is to help integrate the whole system. It can regulate and harmonize the system so everything can be in balance. It has an affinity for the digestive system and ensures we have enough nutrients and digestive fire to live in harmony.

The other function of the Dai Mai is for it to be a reservoir for all of the traumas and deeply held beliefs that affect our will to live. This is a step beyond the self preserving ways of the other meridians. These meridians store these deep traumas as far away from the heart as possible so we may forget it ever existed.

Most of the time it becomes so deeply unconscious that we do not remember at all. We accumulate dampness (weight gain, gynecological issues, PCOS, candida or dysbiosis to name a few) to help pad these experiences so we never have to look at them. We can access these through draining the Dai Mai. It should be engaged with awareness and caution as this can be quite life changing and will require integration.

This is where we also hide those parts of ourselves that we cannot accept. Those things that make us unique. The dampness softens those aspects of us so they are not as pronounced. We can store fear, frustration, self judgment, feelings of guilt, and shame. Draining these and facing these belief systems can lead to profound changes in oneself. This kind of opening is done when a client can be supported and has the internal resources available for integrating the experience.

It is my experience that these meridians are where we find the root causes to most of the chronic pain in the world. As we know each experience or lesson has a physical, emotional and spiritual component to it.

These meridians are a great way to access those deeply held belief patterns that could be impeding our growth and our ability to move forward with ease. It is where we can meet and explore those gatekeepers who have kept us safe and that armor that has protected us for our whole lives.

It is where we can see and experience the wholeness within ourselves and the world. Working with them takes some self awareness and ability to look at the more challenging aspects of ourselves but the work is worth it.

References and Additional Resources

Psycho-Emotional Pain and the Eight Extraordinary Vessels Yvonne Ferral DAOM, L.Ac

Acupuncture for Surviving Adversity Yvonne Ferral DAOM, L.Ac

Alchemy of the Extraordinary – A journey into the Heart of the Meridian Matrix Peter Shea, L.Ac

Eight Extraordinary Channels Qi Jing Ba Mai – A Handbook for Inner Practice and Nei Dan Inner Meditation Dr. David Twicken DOM, L.Ac  (Great resource if you are ready to take action.)

I suffer from PMDD, and Jen has been instrumental in helping me to regulate my menstrual cycle and manage my symptoms.

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I was a little sceptical of acupuncture - until I met Jen.

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