Acupressure energy channels: Names, abbreviations, elements, emotions, body clock

energy-channel-name-abbreviation-emotion-element-bodyclockThe acupressure self-help practices I describe on this website come from two different systems of acupressure. One is based on Jin Shin Jyutsu, a Japanese art that uses 26 Safety Energy Locks (SELs). The locations of the Safety Energy Locks are described in each practice.

The second system is from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM acupressure is based on exactly the same theory as TCM acupuncture: the location of points and the conditions for which they’re used are identical. As with Jin Shin Jyutsu, I describe the location of these points in the instructions for each self-help practice. (Be sure to read How to locate and hold acupressure points before starting the self-help practices.)

The twelve energy channels

There are twelve energy channels in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and we will be using points on all twelve.

They are named after internal organs that the channels pass through, such as the liver, heart, and spleen. The function of a TCM energy channel is much broader than the functions you would typically associate with the internal organ. Having an imbalance (“stuck” energy) in a particular channel, such as the Gall Bladder channel, does not (necessarily) mean there is anything wrong with your gall bladder. (Also note that it doesn’t matter if your gall bladder has been removed. Points on the Gall Bladder channel will still be effective.) In order to distinguish between the energy channel and the organ, I use capital letters when referring to the channel and lower case letters when referring to the organ.

Over 300 points on the TCM energy channels are commonly used in acupressure and acupuncture. If you were to do all the practices on this website, you would learn over 60 points.

Abbreviations, elements, emotions and body clock

The conventional system for referring to points uses an abbreviation for the energy channel followed by the number of the point. For example, the fourth point on the Large Intestine channel is called Large Intestine 4 and abbreviated LI 4.Don’t be too concerned about all the names and numbers. The best way to practice acupressure self-help is to feel the points on your body, not to memorize the names and numbers of the points.

What follows is a list of the energy channel names, the abbreviation of the name, the Element (from Five Element theory) associated with the channel, and the emotion associated with the channel. They are arranged in order of the body clock, which is discussed in another post.

Energy Channel Abbreviation Time of Day Element Emotion
Lung LU 3:00 AM to 5:00 AM Metal Sadness Grief Loss
Large Intestine LI 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM Metal Grieving Letting go
Stomach ST 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM Earth Grounding
Spleen SP 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM Earth Worry Pensiveness
Heart H 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Fire Anxiety Excessive joy
Small Intestine SI 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Fire Lack of discrimination
Bladder B 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM Water Physical/mental fluidity
Kidney K 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Water Fear
Pericardium P 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Fire Relations with significant other
Triple Warmer TW 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM Fire Relations with all others
Gall Bladder GB 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM Wood Indecisiveness Frustration
Liver LIV 1:00 AM to 3:00 AM Wood Anger Depression

Extraordinary Vessels. Sequences and Flows

In addition to the 12 energy channels, Traditional Chinese Medicine uses eight additional channels called Extraordinary Vessels. In the self-help practices on this site, we use only two of the Extraordinary Vessels: the Governing Vessel (abbreviated GV) and the Conception Vessel (abbreviated CV).

As I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve included both Jin Shin Jyutsu and TCM self-help practices on this site . Sometimes a self-help practice involves holding only one point. When a practice includes more than one point, however, I usually refer to TCM practices as Acupressure Point Sequences and Jin Shin Jyutsu practices as Acupressure Flows. It doesn’t matter which system you use. I recommend you try them both!

Image source: Tokyo Weekender