Meridian Pairs

Yin, Yang and the 12 Meridians

There are 12 regular meridians. The meridians are organized into six Yin and Yang pairs.

Meridian Pairs of Chinese Medicine:

1. Yin: Lung
2. Yang: Large Intestine

3. Yin: Spleen
4. Yang: Stomach

5. Yin: Heart
6. Yang: Small Intestine

7. Yin: Kidney
8. Yang: Bladder

9. Yin: Pericardium
10. Yang: San Jiao (Triple Warmer)

11. Yin: Liver
12 Yang: Gallbladder

Yin-Yang Taiji Symbol

What is the difference between the Yin and Yang Meridians?

Compared to Yang, Yin is dense while Yang is hollow.
All Meridians are extensions of Organs.
The Yin Organs are more dense compared to the Yang Organs.  Notice that the Yang Organs are hollow – the intestines, bladder, and gallbladder are tubes or sacs.  This is in contrast to the Yin Organs that are dense in structure.

But what about the Heart?

The Heart is Yin but has chambers, so shouldn’t it be Yang?
Not all Yin Organs are alike.  Every Organ has its own particular nature.  Some of the nature or characteristics of an Organ come from the Element that it is associated with. The Heart is associated with the Fire Element, which is the most active of all of the 5 Elements.  Notice that the Heart is denser than its Yang partner, the Small Intestine. So even though the Heart is very active, it is a Yin Organ.

More about Yin and Yang

More about the 12 Meridians of Chinese Medicine


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Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Mary-Claire Fredette on January 12, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Very interesting. I wish we would have learned about this in massage school (back in the 90′).

    • Cindy Black on January 12, 2023 at 8:01 pm

      Me too!

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