The channel system contains the eight extraordinary Qi vessels that stem off of the twelve primary Qi channels. These eight vessels work independently, each with its own structure, but they also work together to form a full functioning web and circulate Qi throughout the body. 

The original name of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels is Qi Jiang Ba Mai which means the Odd Meridians and Eight Vessels. The vessels are odd because of their mystery; there is not enough research to understand six of the vessels. For this reason, Traditional Chinese Medicine mainly discusses the usage of the twelve primary vessels and mainly two of the eight vessels, the Conception Vessels and the Governing Vessels

The eight vessels are homeostatic and provide the points for a physiological balance in the body.


Together, the eight vessels serve as a Qi reservoir in order to balance the Qi within the body. It absorbs the excess from the main channels and distributes it to Qi deficient areas. Acupuncture tunes into the cavities of Qi with needles, which help adjust the levels of Qi reserved and released. The body releases Qi automatically in distress. For instance, in a state of shock, Qi becomes deficient in some areas and in others, specifically around the organs, it accumulates. Qi is released in deficient areas to revert the damage of excess Qi.

Wei Qi

The Wei Qi is the Guardian Qi because it protects the body from outside harm. The abdomen, thorax and the back are guarded by the Governing Vessel, Conception Vessel and the Thrusting Vessel. 

Life Cycles

Furthermore, the Thrusting and Conception Vessels synchronize and regulate the life cycles in men and women. Such changes occur 7 years apart for women and 8 years apart for men.

Jing Qi

Lastly, the Original Qi transforms into Jing Qi, or the Essence Qi. The Essence Qi travels throughout the body through the means of the eight Qi vessels. Jing Qi is sent to the main ancestral organs which includes the brain and spinal cord, the liver and the gallbladder, bone marrow, the uterus and the blood system. The Kidneys store the Jing Qi. 

Follow our weekly blogs to find out how the Eight Extraordinary Vessels work and how they prove beneficial to our daily functionality.