The Divergent Channels are one of the 5 Channel systems in Chinese Medicine, which include:
- The Primary Channels (what most acupuncturists use in treatments)
- The Eight Extraordinary Vessels (that treat the deepest levels of healing, what I like to say is akin to treating DNA)
- The Luo Channels (the offshoots of the blood vessels in the body that are responsible for spider veins)
- The Divergent Channels (for painful joints and other illnesses resulting from a build up of toxins in the body)
- The Sinew Channels (for working with the muscles and tendons)
The Divergent Channels are the body’s brilliant way of dealing with an overload of toxins. At any point, our bodies are processing toxins in the body. But what happens when the amount of toxins in the body is currently overloading the system, and your body cannot process them?
That’s where Divergents come to the rescue. The body has the ability to put these toxins in a safe place, AWAY from the organs of the body. Instead of having those toxins float around and cause havoc, they get stored in the joints, where they can be safely stored until such time that they can be purged. Only, in most cases, they don’t get purged and over time they joints begin to break down due to the toxins stored there.
One of the fascinating things about how the body stores these toxins is that there is a progression. You don’t just wake up with pain in your fingers one day. If you do, it’s probably not arthritis but some repetitive stress issue you’re having. It’s more common that the first joint pains you have are in your knees, low back, and neck. Those areas are associated with the Bladder Meridian, which is the first Meridian that “Diverts” toxins away from the organs to the joints (hence it’s called a “Divergent” Meridian).
The Divergent Meridians are actually a really normal body mechanism for diverging toxins away from the center, to keep you alive and safe.
After the knees, low back, or neck are affected, over time, the situation could possibly worsen (more toxins need to be stored if your body is still unable to cope). Now those toxins must be stored in different joints because the Bladder Divergent Meridian can no longer handle it. So the next stop on the toxins train ride is the hips and shoulders and the Gall Bladder Divergent Meridian. If the Gall Bladder Meridian eventually becomes overwhelmed, then finally it goes into the hands and feet (Stomach Divergent Meridian), which also is when the swellings start. There are further issues. Next comes deformities, and further down the line more impact on your overall health.
The approach in Chinese Medicine then is to remove the toxins from their storage places, slowly over time by doing Divergent Meridian treatments. Gua Sha, a scraping technique that helps release toxins through the skin, is a critical piece of this healing technique.
You can only do this work for your arthritis if you are in a good place in your life (meaning emotional and physical) and relatively strong. Your body is going to have to do the processing and excreting of the toxins that it couldn’t do when you were once overwhelmed. And it’s not only through urination and defecation…but sometimes through rashes on the skin or even extreme emotions that come up and out (like having really bad PMS for a day or two).
The road back from severe arthritis takes time. Anything that affects the shape of your joints is going to need time to recuperate. The Divergent Meridians can only remove the toxins from the joints. There are other techniques that can be helpful as well.