The Extraordinary Vessels are believed to be formed in the fetus, prior to the formation of the 12 organ meridians. French and Japanese texts postulate that the subtle organization of the Extraordinary Vessels serves as a matrix in which energetic organization and cellular differentiation occur. This matrix is present at the moment of conception and organizes the structuring of energy from the earliest multicellular stages of fetal development.
The Extraordinary Vessels, also known as the "Curious Vessels" or "Flows", are likened to "seas" or "lakes" that hold and disperse Qi, whereas the organ meridians are seen as "rivers" through which Qi flows. They play an important role in adjusting and controlling the flow of Qi and Blood in the 12 organ meridians, act as reservoirs of energy that is available to fill the principal meridians when they face a deficient condition, and to receive energy overflow when the principal meridians are in a state of excess/stagnation. The extraordinary vessels also act as a homeostatic equilibrium system, allowing the energy circulation network to operate efficiently in maintaining healthy activities.
Calvin Dale Smith, BA, MSc, R-TCMP, R-Ac
Registered Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner
Riverside Acupuncture and Wellness Centre
2211 Riverside Dr., Suite 106
Ottawa, ON K1H 7X5