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The Eight Extra Meridians

In the meridian systme, there are eight extra meridians which are the Governor Vessel, Conception Vessel, Thoroughfare Vessel, Girdling Vessel, Yin Link Vessel, Yang Link Vessel, Yin Heel Vessel and Yang Heel Vessel. Unlike the twelve regular meridians, these eight channels do not correspond with the organs directly, and only the Governor Vessel and Conception Vessel have acupoints on them. Their main function is to strengthen the links between the twelve regular meridians and also act as reservoirs of the fundamental substances, buffering the blood and qi circulation. They have special relationships with the liver, kidney, uterus, brain and marrow and thus influence these structures physiologically and pathologically.

The Extra Meridians Distribution Functions
Governor Vessel Meridian Starts from the perineum just before the anus, runs upward along the midline of back to the head and stops on inside of the upper lip This meridian also called the "sea of the yang meridians," which is responsible for governing the qi for all the yang meridians inside the body. It has close relationships with the brain, spinal cord and kidney respectively. Since it communicates with the brain, it can be regarded as a link similar to the pituitary-adrenal axis in Western medicine.
Conception Vessel Meridian Starts from the perineum, runs up along the midline of the abdomen and chest, passes through the cheek and enters into the eye sockets This meridian meets all the yin meridians, and thus is called the "sea of the yin meridians." It is responsible for receiving and bearing the qi of the yin meridians.
Thoroughfare Vessel Meridian Starts in the pelvic cavity and runs alongside the kidney meridians up to the thorax. The meridian is regarded as the "sea of blood," which is the place for the twelve regular meridians to converge and where it helps regulate the qi and blood inside them. This vessel influences the supply and proper movement of blood in the uterus, and is closely related to the menses.
Girdling Vessel Meridian Starts below the rib side, runs down along the lateral side of loin and encircles the waist The meridian binds up all the meridians of leg that run on the truck, promoting their interconnected relationship.
Yin Link Vessel and Yang Link Vessel Meridians The meridians run between the head and the ankle The Yang Link Vessel connects with all Yang meridians and dominates the exterior of the body. The Yin Link Vessel connects with all the Yin meridians and dominates the interior of the body.
Yin Heel Vessel and Yang Heel Vessel Meridians The meridians run between the head and the ankle The Yin and Yang Heel Vessels dominate the activity and rest of the body; they control the movement of lower limbs and sleep.

Conception Vessel
Governor Vessel