In this article we explain the significant relationship between the meridian system and fascia. This relationship is key to the Bendable Body Method of stretching because resistance stretching targets fascia and therefore also improves the health of meridians and all associated organs, physiological and emotional functionings.
First, what is the meridian system and did you know it runs through fascia?
The Bendable Body Method of stretching with resistance and contraction, stretches muscles, fascia plains, and along meridian pathways. Traditional Chinese Medicine identifies 16 major meridians - 14 traditional and 2 contemporary. Plus there are numerous secondary meridians.
Science has proven that these meridians or electrical current pathways travel through fascia.
When the meridian pathways are open (and a person is experiencing optimal health), they allow the flow of Qi (energy) to the body's tissues and organs.
Healthy fascia serves as the conductor - the pathway - for electric current in your body - which is essentially your energy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it’s called Qi. When fascia becomes dry and stiff - or un-bendable - energy can’t pass through it. That stagnation in your body’s tissue translates into illness, pain, and lack of movement.
Stretching affects organs, physiological functions and emotions:
Different meridians service different organs. When meridian pathways become blocked, expect deterioration or ill-health in the associated organ/physiological and emotional functions. Because meridians reside in fascia, stretching with resistance to increase fascia health also un-blocks stagnant Qi and increases physiological and emotional health in predictable ways.
Getting Acupuncture after you stretch:
“I've been getting acupuncture for years. I recently started stretching using the Bendable Body Method. One morning I did a stretch flow for the whole body and went in for a treatment. My acupuncturist was blown away and wanted to know what I was doing. My channels were so much more open and receptive to the needling!” -Barbara Kaufman
When you go for acupuncture needles are placed in specific points along meridian channels to unblock and stimulate the flow of chi to the bodies organs and tissues. However, science tells us that meridian channels reside in fascia.*
The Bendable Body Method of stretching with resistance targets fascia tissue. Each stretch movement acts as an exfoliator for dense, dehydrated, unhealthy fascia. The more you stretch, the more your fascia returns to it’s original healthy state of primarily collagen and seawater. Because meridians reside it fascia, acupuncture results can be positively impacted when resistance stretching is incorporated in your lifestyle.
Meridian Stretching for Every Organ:
We identify 16 primary meridians in the body, each servicing 16 organs, 16 physiological functions, 16 tissues, and 16 high and low emotional / psychological traits.
When we say '16 meridians' we really mean 16 sections to the 1 singular meridian that runs through the body. Each of those sections runs through a specific muscle group, and as I have mentioned resides in fascia. So at Bendable Body we have 16 muscle - fascia plains that we teach stretches for. We call each of these 'zones' in the body by their meridian / organ association. They are:
- Gall Bladder - Outside of legs, IT band, Associated with fat metabolism and digestion, the ligaments and the high traits of decision making and devotion and the low trait of dependency.
- Liver - Inside of the legs, adductors, Associated with detoxification, the tendons, and the high traits of helpfulness and freedom and the low trait of co-dependency.
- Lung - Chest and biceps, pectoralis major, Associated with respiration, Oxygenation, and the high traits of truth and leadership and the low trait of passive aggression.
- Large Intestine - Neck, top of shoulders, triceps, deltoids, Associated with digestion, venous blood flow, and the high traits of completion and fairness and the low trait of obsessive compulsive.
- Stomach - Front outside of thighs, quadriceps, Associated with digestion, muscles, and the high traits of working and sobriety and the low trait of addiction.
- Pancreas - Back inside of legs, medial hamstring, Associated with digestion, fascia, and the high traits of communication and peacefulness and the low trait of martyrdom.
- Heart - Chest and biceps, pectoralis pajor and biceps, Associated with circulation and arterial blood flow, and the high traits of unconditional love and action taking and low trait of avoidance.
- Small Intestine - Upper back, triceps, Infraspinatus, Associated with digestion and cerebral spinal fluid and the high traits of artistic and talent and the low trait of depression.
- Brain - Back center of legs, central hamstring, Associated with the central nervous system and nerves and the high traits of mastery and problem solving and the low trait of paranoia.
- Sexual - Front center of the legs, hip flexors, Associated with the endocrine system and hormones and the high traits of stardom and caring and the low trait of insatiable.
- Pericardium - Chest and biceps, Associated with arterial circulation and organ linings and the high traits of judgement and discipline and the low trait of masochistic.
- Skin - Back of shoulders and triceps, Associated with the external immune system and lymphatic flow and the high traits of athleticism and community and the low trait of sadistic.
- Bladder - Back outside of the legs, lateral hamstring, Associated with the urinary system and bones and the high traits of performance and hope and the low trait of narcissism.
- Kidney - Front inside of the legs, groin, Associated with the urinary system and joints and the high traits of philosophy and compassion and the low trait of schizoid.
- Appendix - Middle back, latissimus dorsi, Associated with detoxification and cartilage and the high trait of individuality and integrity and the low trait of depersonalization.
- Thymus - Upper back and neck, upper trapezius, Associated with the internal immune system and lymph nodes and the high traits of healing and forgiveness and low trait of menticidal.
Learn about the meridian system and stretching and try a stretch for the Bladder Meridian:
Try this stretching exercise to open up the Stomach Meridian Channel:
Pillar 1 - Start Postion: Hands interlaced behind target leg knee and helping ankle criss crossed on top of target leg shin.
Pillar 2 - Resist: Driving your target leg upward into your ankle ankle.
Pillar 3 - Lengthen for the Stretch with resistance throughout the movement: Using the helping leg to fold target at the knee.
Pillar 4 - Release and Return to the Start postion. Repeat Pillar 1.
*Try 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions and get up and walk around and see how your legs and hips feel!
*When you stretch the anterior lateral thigh - generally referred to as the lateral quadriceps - which the stomach meridian traverses, it can improve the health of your stomach functions and also associated ailments like allergies and emotional/psychological struggles like sobriety.