Healthcare and Medicine Reference
Myofascial meridians and oriental medicine
The Anatomy Trains myofascial meridians evolved
solely within the Western anatomical tradition. In the
first edition, we deliberately omitted any comparison to
the acupuncture and similar meridians used in tradi-
tional oriental medicine, in order to emphasize the ana-
tomical basis of these continuities. The close relationship
between the two, however, is inescapable, especially in
light of recent research detailing the effects of acupunc-
ture on and through the extracellular matrix. This edition
includes a comparison of the acupuncture meridians,
the Sen lines of Thai yoga massage, and the Anatomy
Trains. Since we are all studying the same human body,
it is unsurprising that we find overlap near the summit
of two different routes of ascent.
Because this author is not knowledgeable in oriental
medicine, he is grateful to Dr Peter Dorsher, 1 Dr C.
of the body, whereas no acupuncture meridian crosses
the midline. The Stomach meridian most closely approx-
imates the anterior portion of the Spiral Line; when
combined with the Bladder meridian, most of the Spiral
Line is duplicated, but this correspondence is a bit con-
trived (Fig. A3.4).
If we switch our attention to the Sen lines used in tra-
ditional Thai massage, we find that while no meridians
cross in the posterior aspect, many lines seem to meet and
cross at the navel or hara in the front (Fig. A3.5).
Specifically, the Kalatharee line crosses in the front,
joining (and mirroring the Anatomy Trains map) the
front of the arm (Superficial Front Arm Line) across the
body's midline to the contralateral femur (Front Func-
tional Line), and connecting from the adductor longus
down through the inner line of the leg to the inner arch
via the Deep Front Line (Fig. A3.6).
Recent research highlights the link in both form
and function between the workings of acupuncture and
the fascial network in general. Findings by prominent
acupuncture researcher and neuroscientist Dr Helene
Langevin and others have shown that connective tissue
- specifically the hydrophilic proteoglycans along with
collagen fibers and fibroblasts - winds around the end
of the acupuncture needle when it is rotated in place,
creating detectable mechanical tissue effects (Fig. A3.7).
These effects have been noted 4 cm away from the site
of needle insertion (as this was the limit of the field of
view; new experiments are underway to establish if the
effect can be detected at a greater distance).
Additionally, Langevin postulated that oriental acu-
puncture meridians may follow intermuscular or intra-
muscular fascial planes. These findings, taken together,
link the possible effects of acupuncture stimulation with
the mechanical transduction within fascial planes of the
extracellular matrix (ECM) detailed in the final pages of
Chapter 1 (although of course other effects may be
taking place with acupuncture as well). Langevin found
an 80% correspondence in the arm between the sites of
traditional acupuncture points and these fascial planes
of division in the interstitial connective tissue.
This suggests that the clear 'signaling' and action at
a distance which one associates with acupuncture is
Pierce Salguero, 2- 6 Dr Helene Langevin, 72 2 and Dr Phillip
Beach D0 21 ~ 3 1 for help in accurately depicting these
meridians and teasing out their details. There is vari-
ability among the many oriental medicine traditions in
how the meridians are portrayed, so we have chosen the
road more traveled and have not strayed into the under-
brush of such variations.
As the accompanying illustrations from Dr Dorsher
show, the Superficial Front Line (SFL), Superficial Back
Line (SBL), and Lateral Line (LL) myofascial continu-
ities show significant overlap with the energetic conti-
nuities of the Stomach meridian, Bladder meridian, and
Gallbladder meridian respectively (Fig. A3.1A-D).
The four Arm Lines, from Superficial Front to Super-
ficial Back, correspond quite closely to the Pericardium,
Lung, Small Intestine, and Triple Heater meridians
respectively (Fig. A3.2A-D).
The Deep Front Line, which is only occasionally
accessible near the surface of the body, corresponds to
the Liver meridian, which likewise travels through and
around the ventral viscera, but in some areas to the
Kidney meridian that traverses the inner line of the leg
(Fig. A3.3A and B).
When it comes to the so-called helical lines - the
Spiral Line and the Functional Lines - we find a problem
in that they cross the body's front and back midline to
join biomechanically with structures on the other side