The Chinese characters that comprise Chong Mai represent a human marching and a human raising something heavy. It is symbolic of having the strength to raise and circulate with vigour, moving quickly along a major route. It is a great power, full of the potential of life. It is an extremely important channel because it regulates both qi and blood.
Chong Mai links yin and yang together, distributing yang qi, blood, essences through the body. For this reason it is said to be the sea of blood and the sea of the 12 channels. It ensures good rhythm of circulation of qi. It connects the Sea of Qi (Ren17) in the chest and the sea of qi in the origin - it originates like Ren and Du Mai in the vital region in the lower abdomen, the ‘lower supreme ridgepole’. The supreme ridge pole is the ‘no form’ out of which all things come – the microscopic Dao. The supreme ridge pole within us is located between the Kidneys, in the lower Dantian. It is our source of life, vitality and ming men (fires of destiny).
In the beginning the Dao creates the one, heaven (Du Mai), then one creates the two, Heaven and Earth (Du Mai and Ren Mai). From two comes three (man) and three sits between the two (man sits between heaven and earth). The Chong Mai is the third vessel, and rises internally between the Ren Mai on the anterior and Du Mai on the posterior. The Chong Mai regulates blood and qi in contrast to Ren Mai which regulates mainly blood and Du Mai that regulates mainly qi.
Chong Mai has an important role in bringing heaven and earth together, bringing balance to the essences, qi and blood. It provides a pattern of organisation for qi and blood.
The Chong vessel can help anxiety disorders, but also our ability to heal emotionally during terminal illnesses. It is the vessel that balances love and logic. Intergenerational trauma is transmitted through the Chong Mai. It also gives us our habits, and is the essence of who we truly are: our authenticity
There is nowhere in the body that the Chong Mai does not extend. It connects to original qi (and the Ki) and post-natal qi (digestion and the St). It also unifies the three heaters. It is thought to relate to the connective tissue and the myofascia. It helps to hold things in.
Descriptions of the pathway are reasonably vague in the classics. In these texts its pathway was described as linking the sea of qi at the origin (the lower Dantian) to the sea of qi in the chest, with points extending from the navel to the thorax. However, it was emphasised that its influence extends everywhere. The most common modern pathway begins in the Kidneys, flows down to the vital region (uterus in females), emerges at Ren 1, one branch flows up the sacrum and spine to Du4, another branch goes to St30, Ki11- 21, and circles around the mouth. Another branch links Ki11 and St30 and travels down the medial aspect of the leg to the big toe. The Chong Mai is considered to flow deeper than the Ki channel, so that the Ki points are closer to the surface of the skin and the Chong Mai points lay underneath.
Because the vessel extends everywhere it can relate to illness that is not in any specific location but feels widespread. There may be a general feeling of a large swollen body or a body that has shrunk. Affects the adrenals and testosterone (traditional correspondence to lack of hair growth in women and eunuchs). Stagnant qi in abdomen, flatulence, abdominal pain, anorexia, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, gastric ulcer, nocturnal emissions, thirst, oedema, foul smelling urine, angina, palpitations, heart diseases.