The Eight Extraordinary Channels
Penn Chiao, in the 27th difficulty, in the Nan Jing (Nan Ching) describes the primary channels (or meridians) in Chinese Acupuncture include the twelve (12) primary channels and fifteen (15) network (or collateral) vessels. These twenty seven (27) conduit channels and vessels enable and move Qi and Blood, and have uninterrupted flow between each other.
The Eight Extra Channels are said not to be influenced by the primary channels, thus they are not a part of the mutual sharing of contents with the other twenty seven (27) channels and collaterals. It is said that when the rain pours down from Heaven, the ditches (Network Vessels) and reservoirs (Channels) become full, and that when they become full, the surplus then flows in to the Extra Channels. This surplus then pours in to the deep lakes.
- Some now include the Ren and Du Channels as a part of the Primary Channels. This would make fourteen (14) primary channels and six (6) Extra Channels.
- There are also now fourteen (14) network vessels, making the total number of Channels and Vessels twenty four (24).
- The Du (Governing) and Ren (Conception) Channels have their own points while the other 6 channels only use points from the other Fourteen (14) Channels (the 12 primary channels, plus the Ren and Du channels).