Interpretation of the “opening-closing-pivoting” functions of the six meridians*
2021, 44 (9):
The theory of the “opening, closing and pivoting” functions of thesix meridians, first proposed in the chapter of Separation and Combination of Yin and Yang in Suwen (Plain Conversation), was an important part of the theoretical system of Huangdi Neijing (Huangdi's Internal Classic). This theory originated from the change in the separation and combination of yin and yang in the four seasons. As the variations and the exiting and entering of qi in the three yin and three yang are reflected as the concrete manifestation of “opening-closing-pivoting”, the yin-yang alternation in the four seasons is achieved through the“opening-closing-pivoting” function. The yin-yang “opening-closing-pivoting” function in the human body is a high-level generalization of the function of qi transformation of the six meridians. The separation of yin and yang generates the opening, closing, and pivoting functions while the combination of yin and yang generates one yin and one yang. The separation and combination of yin and yang work both independently and closely, i.e. in separation, there are three functions and in combination, there is one.The “opening-closing-pivoting” function is based on the manifestation, root cause, and medial qi of the six meridians as the material basis, and reflected by the ascending, descending, exiting, and entering of qi movement as the functional state. The taiyang, also known as the old yang and giant yang, safeguards the healthy qi against pathogens with the qi movement of opening, which distributes the nutrient qi and defensive qi, and promotes the circulation of body fluid. The yangming, or the combination of two yang, boasts sufficient qi and blood with the qi movement of closing, which stores energy and yang and decomposes food. The shaoyang, the new yang,is full of vitality with the qi movement of pivoting, which pivots yin and yang, relates the interior and the exterior, connects the upper and the lower, and facilitates the qi movement of the spleen and stomach.The taiyin, the old yin which is mature and steady, is located on the surface of the yin with the qi movement of opening, which transports and transforms the nutrients, generates nutrient qi, and maintains the metabolism of the body. The jueyin, the extremity of two yin, enjoys exuberant yin with the qi movement of closing, which preserves yin, stores blood and soul, and induces the generation of yang. The shaoyin, the new yin which pertains to the heart and kidney, stores both water and fire with the qi movement of pivoting, which harmonizes water and fire and coordinates the heart and kidney. The theory of “opening-clos-ing-pivoting” of the three yin and three yang provides important reference for pattern differentiation and treatment in accordance with the theory of the six meridians.
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