Acupuncture.Com - Gateway to Chinese Medicine, Health and Wellness        Store                    Google

bulletConditions A-Z
bulletAcupuncture Clinic
bulletHerbal Remedies
bulletDiet & Nutrition
bulletChi Gong &Tai Chi
bulletChinese Medicine Basics
bulletPatient Testimonials
bulletAnimal Acupuncture


bulletSyndromes A-Z
bulletAcuPoint Locator
bulletPractice Building
bulletStudy Acupuncture
bulletTCM Library
bulletLaws & Regulations
bulletPractitioner Links
bulletPractitioner Store


bulletPoints Newsletter
bulletCatalog Requests
bulletContact Us
bulletAbout Acupuncture.Com
bulletPrivacy Policy


Acupuncture.Com accepts article contributions. Email submissions to


Keep informed on current news in the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Home > Newsletters > February 2006 > Subway System or Meridian System?

Subway System or Meridian System?

By David Miller

Every morning, tourists and seasoned straphangers get onto the train and do their best not to touch anybody else, poke or spill, humph or haw in the improper posture, and lock their eyes onto a polite pinpoint, and drift into a galaxy where no other eyes are drifting, until they arrive at their intended stops. The Buddha might have nodded at this new form of mass meditation as they pass through the tunnels, unaware of the hidden networks that support the movements of the train. No one gives a thought to the massive underground command center that safeguards the entire system, that is, until something goes wrong.

Now the train has stopped, the lights in the cars have gone dim, and fear and mistrust have strapped on their boots. Nothing is moving. Everyone is wondering what is going on. Emergency friendships have been struck up and, all of a sudden, conversations are tossing against each other, all with the same intention: to discover the nature of their predicament by guessing wildly.

Everyone in Chinese Medicine has heard of the quotation: "When there is movement there is no pain. When movement stops, there is pain. Unless the train stops (or of course, if there is a fire or a flood), everyone thinks that the system is perfect. But when the lights darken and the subway stalls, there is no choice but to deduce a reason for it. Everyone is then a detective or engineering expert. The Chinese Meridian System is exactly the same as the New York Subway, and the people, when they are ill, like stranded straphangers. In many ways, modern medicine has left people stranded and helpless to deal with or understand their own illnesses, especially those that don't respond to conventional treatment.
Imagine the human body as New York City and the many blood vessels are the subway tunnels. These vessels are mapped out, easy to see, and are used everyday. The personnel occupying the token booths are the medical doctors representing the gargantuan system, giving information only as needed, or requested. Other workers could represent nurses, technicians, office drones, and in the invisible command center are the insurance conglomerates manipulating it all.

In between that, in the spaces that are not yet in or out, there are other tunnels that the general public doesn't see. How often is it necessary for a straphanger to explore the deeper regions of the system? Unless they are trapped in a stalled train, there is no reason. Suddenly, there they are. The men in orange vests and filthy boots, who dance mysteriously over the third rail, emerge from a hidden doorway, irrigate and cleanse the inner chambers, and are some mysterious force that shows everyone that indeed, there are other doorways, tunnels, and dark portals that are not intended to be traversed by the accidentally curious. One wrong step at the wrong time can be fatal. Acupuncturists are similar to the same people who control an advanced system of communication and travel, so poorly understood by the general public. What services do these strange people provide? What do they do and how do they do it? Most people don't know and don't want to know, until something goes wrong and nobody else can fix it.

When there is a disturbance in the subway system, and one of the lines is out of service, there are other options besides sitting on the platform and waiting. However inconvenient and time consuming they may be, these options still serve to transport the public to their destinations. When the body is blocked, there are also options left to the human frame to find another route to homeostasis, but those options cause a further disintegration to the body if left unrepaired.

The underlying premise of Acupuncture is very simple and should never be made to be complicated. It is a system of checkpoints in the human body that are used to regulate the formless communication matrix that unites the energy flow of the whole human experience. Some people refer to this flow as Qi, some as energy, but it is more accurate to call this the Vapor of Vitality or "Vita-Vapor" as Master Wang Tao of Wu Dang Temple calls it. That almost sounds like a refreshing bottled drink! But it is this vapor that permeates all things and can travel to any corner of the Earthly existence. This vapor is not without rules, though, or restraints by which it may operate. This is a more complicated topic that can be called the Natural Law.

When the train pulls into each stop, it is filled with people and transports them through the system the same way blood carries cells, nutrients, and wastes, to their designated areas. But when the train is gone, do the tracks disappear? Do the tunnels collapse into a vacuum? What is left to occupy the space now that the train is gone? It is the Vapor of Vitality that is still there, holding up the structure of the system, awaiting its next task. Vita-Vapor can be further extrapolated by simply calling it the Life Force.

When a person is injured, the Life Force naturally retreats from that area. If it's a bump on the head, then rubbing the painful area vigorously coaxes the Life Force to return and dispel the pain. When an Acupuncturist treats the human condition, they insert needles into acupoints, which are known to harness the Life Force in different ways. Once the needle is inserted, the Life Force hurries to the tip of the needle, providing the "De Qi" sensation. What the Acupuncturist does after that depends primarily on the personal level of cultivation, needle technique, and talent for directing the Life Force to return to its proper position. Ordinary practitioners insert the needles and then leave the room for 20 minutes, hoping that upon their return, some positive event has occurred. This is a very romantic way to practice.

New Yorkers use the subway every day and so it takes very little to convince them of how useful it is. Nobody needs to be convinced that they have blood, veins, and muscles, why do they need so much convincing that they have 12 meridians? Not to mention others, like the eight secret tunnels that are used for storage, transportation, or additional extraordinary energy. Most have never seen the MTA's underground command center but they believe it must exist. It stands to reason that are even more systems at work that have yet to be made public, like the X Signal System of Manaka, or those that have yet to be discovered. Rather than scare, this should excite people and biology books everywhere should begin to be revised to satisfy a more enlightened and inquisitive public.

The methods by which the body works are numerous and new discoveries are happening all the time that illustrate how little we know about ourselves, our Universe, even just our subway. For example, referring to the glandular system as the House of Spirit, Intellect, Growth, Heart, Transcendence, Water, and Essence is just another way of talking about something from a different perspective. The command center for the subway that is buried 100 feet deep is no more real a concept. It is only a matter of approaching culturally diverse and esoteric principles from a point of common reference.


This Month's Articles

February 2006
Volume 4, Number 2

Happy Chinese New Year

Female Sexual Dysfunction

Subway System or Meridian System?

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

Archives 2006

January  February

Archives 2005:

J | F | M | A | M | J 

 J | A | S | O
N | D

Archives 2004:
J | F | M | A | M |
J | S | N | D

Archives 2003:
J | F | M | A | M | J | A | O | N | D

All Contents Copyright 1996-2014 Cyber Legend Ltd. All rights reserved.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms and Conditions. All logos, service marks and trademarks belong to their respective owners.