Chinese Background

Some background to the Chong Mai: 

Going back more than 2500 years there are Chinese texts which describe the effects of the Chong Mai, its pathways and the symptoms of when it is deficient. 

Much of the Chong Mai is deep inside the body so to access it an acupuncturist will use other channels. The Chong Mai, which has just about the most complicated pathways of all the channels, originates in the same area as the Ren and Du Mai between the kidneys. The navel is more or less directly opposite a point midway between the kidneys, not far off from a person’s centre of gravity. One of the great texts of Chinese medicine, the Huang Di Nei Jing, describes how qi, the essence of life, and blood flows from the mother into the cells of the embryo behind the baby’s umbilicus. 

As this original ‘moving’ qi of the Chong Mai expands and flows outwards it lays out the energetic 'vessel' or underlying blueprint into which the body grows.  To understand where the Chong Mai operates imagine how these connective tissues hold the shape of the particular organ that they surround. Now imagine that the organs are not there and you just have the shaped connective tissue; this is where the Chong Mai is flowing.

From this you realise why the ancient Chinese saw it as an ocean in which everything else comes into being and lives. As such it was viewed as the origin of everything else in the body and is hence referred as the Sea of Blood, the Sea of the 5 Yin and 6 Yang organs and the Sea of the TwelveChannels.

From its original inception between the kidneys it has a number of main branches.

The Internal Branch begins at the original point and then flows from the area behind the pubic bone down to the perineum.

The Spinal branch moves from the perineum area travelling up the front (inside) of the spine to the small of the back. It combines with the Ren Mai and continues on up the front to the head.

The Abdominal branch emerges from the acupuncture point, Stomach 30 we worked with last week and flows upwards  covering the front of the abdomen to a point just below the ribs; it then disperses' into the chest, including the heart, breasts and lungs.

The Throat and Head branch passes up beside the throat, goes round the chin and lips and ends just below the eyes.

The Lower branch starts from acupuncture point Stomach 30 and travels down the medial aspect (inside) of the leg. On its way down the leg it connects with the 3 leg Yin channels of the Spleen, Kidney and Liver. When it gets to the inner malleolus, the bony prominence on the inside of the ankle, it splits into two branches. One part goes through the arch of the foot in connection with the Kidney channel, the other goes over the upper surface of the foot to the area of acupuncture point, Liver 3 called, Taichong.


The Eight Extraordinary Meridians by Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée.  1997.  Published by Monkey Press.  ISBN: 1 872 468 13 6