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. Suzie on August 13, 2023 at 9:01 pm

    Hello Cindy, I’m learning to connect with Qi when applying Bowen therapy to my clients. There was a case where I connected 4 Gates (LV3 and LI 4) at the beginning and the client responded that she could feel some tingling. She held a lot of tension in her shoulders. However, at the end of the session after applying 4 Gates she started shaking. It was overwhelming to her. She said she could not control it. She also started talking about her nerves and frustration as well as some difficulties in her personal life and relationship.
    Would you have any suggestions as to why such a reaction occurred? I understand there is much more to explore, she is open to another session, just want to prepare myself better and understand her needs more from an energetic point of view.

    • Cindy Black on August 14, 2023 at 11:10 am

      Hi Suzie,
      This story reminds me of my own learning to “respect the Qi” – Your own development of feeling, sensing and working with Qi becomes “a dose of Qi” as you work with people. We have to consider what is going on when we work with these points and meridians – why is it that points become active in different ways when different people contact them?

      To me that points to each one of us recognizing that we offer “a dose of us” to another person – as your abilities increase you come to understand that your dose of Qi is real and has an impact. Honor how many points used during a session as each point contacted is part of the “dose of Qi” activated during a session.

      I think it is wonderful that your client became aware of her frustrations and difficulties – that shows a direct connection between these points (in particular Liver 3) to the whole system, mind-body-emotion-spirit. For me, healing must be a cooperative exchange between practitioner and client – and that is exactly what you are describing – and it sounds like it was surprising to your client, but that is where you come in to comfort and guide them through this courageous endeavor to heal at this deep level of Qi.

      When a “block in the meridians releases” there is a reverberation of that unblocking throughout the mind-body-emotion-spirit that can manifest as your described – shaking, trembling, conscious realization of patterns in the outer life that contribute to physical symptoms (her talking about difficulties in her relationship etc.) Again – this example shows us clearly how everything is connected – it is one thing to say that sentence as an idea, but another to live it.

      Practically, I suggest honoring the dose of Qi as you work with her again – it can seem that working with “just 4 points” is nothing much, but in this particular case it is plenty – so honor your ability to work so deeply, ask her to communicate with you as you connect with the points so that together you can come to the best dose for her that she feels more comfortable while at the same time acknowledging that returning to flow means letting go of blockages that may be very long standing and full of emotion that will need to express itself as the blocks dissolve.

      Thank you for offering this story here so that we can all learn from it.

  2. 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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