Chong Mai (same as Chong Mo) may be the very first acupuncture ‘vessel’ to form in the foetus. It’s really important for all things pertaining to Blood – but much more too.
That includes fertility, pregnancy and personality. So … Important!
Small Note to the curious. This page is a bit more technical than many other pages on this site. If you’re just starting to read about acupuncture, it could be hard-going! Why not try a somewhat easier page?
Chong Mai and Blood!
To make sense of what follows, at a minimum you’ll need to read my page on Blood.
Otherwise the significance of some of the words used here, especially words with Capital first letters, like Kidneys or Heart, may elude you. Read those pages too if you can.
You’ll read there how Blood (capital B for Blood, as opposed to blood) is formed, what it does and how symptoms arise when it is weak or deficient.
There are other, deeper, ways of understanding how Blood forms and how it behaves. One in particular accounts for many disorders, including gynecological problems, various kinds of flesh and muscle disorders and personality disorders, such as some kinds of depression, moodiness and sadness.
Chong Mai is one of the ‘extraordinary channels‘. (Chong Mai is often also written Chong Mo and at least one major modern author translates this as ‘Penetrating vessel’.) Sometimes you’ll see this word ‘vessel’ used to describe these channels, so in many older books they were called ‘extra-ordinary vessels’. For Chong Mai, in particular, the word ‘vessel’ is probably more appropriate.
There are eight (8) of these ‘extra-ordinary’ channels. Only two have their own acupuncture points, the Governor and Conception vessels. The other six, including Chong Mai, share acupuncture points with the 12 ‘ordinary’ channels, like the Spleen, Stomach, Pericardium, Kidney etc channels. They don’t have points of their own.
The functions of these extraordinary channels integrate the functions of the 12 ordinary channels. We think that when the foetus forms in the womb, the first channels that form are these extraordinary channels. These gave form and space for the developing body and the lattice of 12 ordinary acupuncture channels that will infuse it.
So, later, when these 12 channels form, they do so on the energetic and physical structure laid down by the extra-ordinary channels.
By the way – are these extra-ordinary channels/vessels Extraordinary, in the sense of being marvellous, bewildering or astonishing?
To the ordinary Western scientific mind, all of Chinese medicine is bewildering, not to say astonishing, and is certainly a marvel, even if just ‘a lot of nonsense’!
What about acupuncturists?
But what about acupuncturists initially trained in the Five Elements, the Eight Principles, the Zang-fu energy organs, the pathways and point locations of the 12 ‘main’ channels? Or who have finally understood at least some of the properties and actions of each of the hundreds of acupuncture points? And what about the Three Burning Spaces, the theory of fluids and so on (and there’s a LOT more in that ‘and so on’)?
For them, to learn that there’s a whole raft of functions at a deeper level can be an eye-rolling moment. It is almost as if the rug has been pulled out from under them.
Of these extra-ordinary vessels, perhaps the most difficult to get a grip on is Chong Mai! Why? Because it occurs in so many situations. Once you’ve read some of the conditions listed below, you may think you’ve finally got the answer to all your problems.
Don’t be too hasty! In diagnosing a condition then planning its treatment, acupuncturists have to think of many factors. Often there are a number of ways of achieving good results.