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The Liver Meridian/Channel

The following text is taken from the Liver meridian/channel sections of A Manual of Acupuncture, by Peter Deadman and Mazin Al-Khfaji with Kevin Baker. A Manual of Acupuncture is the primary acupuncture point resource used in colleges and universities throughout the world, and contains extensive information on all the acupuncture points and channels. The full text includes point classifications, Chinese calligraphy, detailed location and needling instructions, point actions and indications, a summary of clinical application, and point combinations.

A Manual of Acupuncture is now available in digital form – via iOS/Android apps, and a fully-featured Online Edition (website) – offering students and practitioners access to a whole host of features, including location and needling videos (see example above), multiple self-testing modules, channel pathway videos and much more.

The Liver primary meridian/channel

Liver meridian

Liver meridian/channel diagram

• originates at the lateral aspect of the dorsum of the big toe at Dàdūn LIV-1, and runs along the foot to Zhōngfēng LIV-4, 1 cun anterior to the medial malleolus,

• ascends along the medial aspect of the lower leg, intersecting the Spleen channel at Sānyīnjiāo SP-6, then continues to ascend anterior to the Spleen channel to an area 8 cun above the medial malleolus, where it crosses and continues posterior to the Spleen channel up to the knee and the medial aspect of the thigh,

• continues to the pubic region via Chōngmén SP-12 and Fǔshè SP-13 where it encircles the genitals, then ascends to enter the lower abdomen where it intersects the Conception vessel at Qūgǔ REN-2, Zhōngjí REN-3 and Guānyuán REN-4,

• continues upwards to curve round the Stomach before entering the Liver and connecting with the Gall Bladder,

• crosses the diaphragm and spreads in the costal and hypochondriac region,

• ascends along the neck and posterior aspect of the throat to the nasopharynx to link with the tissues surrounding the eye (the ‘eye system’),

• ascends across the forehead to the vertex where it intersects with the Governing vessel at Bǎihuì DU-20.

A branch

• descends from the eye system through the cheek and encircles the inner surface of the lips.

Another branch

• separates from the Liver, crosses the diaphragm and spreads in the Lung, meeting with Tiānchí P-1.

The Liver primary channel connects with the following zangfu: Liver, Gall Bladder, Lung, Stomach.

The Liver primary channel meets with other channels at the following points: Sānyīnjiāo SP-6, Chōngmén SP-12, Fǔshè SP-13, Qūgǔ REN-2, Zhōngjí REN-3, Guānyuán REN-4, Tiānchí P-1, Bǎihuì DU-20.

Discussion

The Liver channel of foot jueyin is interiorly-exteriorly coupled with the Gall Bladder channel, and paired with the Pericardium channel of hand jueyin according to six channel theory. The Liver-Gall Bladder relationship is further strengthened by the fact that:

• the Liver primary channel connects with the Gall Bladder fu.

• the Liver luo-connecting and divergent channels connect with the Gall Bladder channel.

It is also interesting to note that:

• the Liver primary, luo-connecting and sinew channels go to the genitals, whilst the divergent channel ascends to the pubic region.

• the Liver primary channel enters the lower abdomen.

• the Liver primary channel curves around the Stomach.

• the Liver primary channel spreads in the Lung.

• the Liver primary channel ascends just posterior to the throat.

• the Liver primary channel passes through the naso-pharynx.

• the Liver primary channel links with the eye system (the tissues surrounding the eye).

• the Liver primary channel ascends to the vertex to intersect the Governing vessel at Bǎihuì DU-20, the highest point reached by any yin channel.

The Liver has five primary functions:

• storing the blood.

• spreading (maintaining the free flow of) the qi.

• dominating the sinews.

• opening into the eyes.

• manifesting in the nails.

In addition:

• the Liver zang belongs to the wood phase and corresponds to wind.

• the Liver governs uprising, and in disharmony its qi may therefore rise excessively.

• the Liver is entrusted with the ming men fire which in disharmony may easily flare upwards as pathological heat.

• the Liver free-flowing function assists the qi movement of the zangfu, especially the descending of Lung and Stomach qi and the ascending of Spleen qi.

• the Liver free-flowing function assists the qi transformation function of the Bladder.

• the Liver stores the ethereal soul (hun) and as the wood zang is the ‘mother’ of the Heart.

• the Liver stores the blood which flows into the Conception and Penetrating vessels to become menstrual blood, and its qi is responsible for the smooth flow of menstruation.

• the Liver is closely associated with such emotions as anger, irritability, fractiousness, frustration, resentment, depression weepiness and mood swings.

It is by virtue of these functions as well as the channel pathways discussed above, that many of the actions and indications of the points of the Liver channel can be explained. These can be summarised as:

• resolving distention and pain due to stagnation of Liver qi in the head, throat region, chest, Heart, Lung, Stomach, abdomen, lateral costal region, lower abdomen, intestines and genitals.

• assisting in the descent of Stomach and Lung qi and the ascent of Spleen qi.

• pacifying interior wind and uprising of yang giving rise to headache, dizziness, epilepsy, spasm etc.

• cooling Liver fire affecting any region of the body.

• benefiting the eyes.

• treating disorders characterised by pain and swelling of the external genitals (especially in men) as well as seminal emission, ejaculatory disorders, priapism and impotence.

• regulating menstruation and the menstrual cycle.

• treating shan disorder (a broad category that includes hernia, genital swelling and pain, and severe pain of the lower abdomen).

• treating disorders of urination such as urinary retention, painful urinary dysfunction, incontinence, frequent urination etc.

• treating lumbar pain.

• treating psycho-emotional disorders deriving from Liver blood deficiency, Liver qi stagnation or Liver fire, all of which may disturb the ethereal soul and spirit.

(Further information on the Liver luo-connecting, divergent and sinew channels is available via A Manual of Acupuncture digital products).