Adapting to Change: The Evolutionary Consciousness of Yang Wei Mai & the Brain

By Nicholas Sieben, LAc

The world is changing rapidly. Over the past several months, we've had to adapt to new circumstances and find ways to cope and adjust. The climate is also changing, and people are beginning to collectively acknowledge, if somewhat unconsciously, that we must also change and evolve.

Within Chinese medicine, the organs most related to evolution and adaptation are the Curious Organs. These are organs that have changed most throughout human evolution, while the Zang Fu (viscera and bowel) organs have stayed much the same. Now is a time in our history that we must tap into our evolutionary consciousness so we may adapt to changing circumstances.

The Curious Organs

The Curious Organs, presented in chapter 11 of the Su Wen, are the brain, spine, gallbladder, uterus and genitals, marrow and vessels. The latter is debated as being blood vessels, which would suggest a relationship to the Luo Vessel channel system. Another debated possibility for the vessels are the Extraordinary Vessels, which as a channel system connect not to the Zang Fu organs, but to the Curious Fu.

brain - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The brain is of much interest now for our own evolutionary process. In Chinese medicine, the brain is seen as a storage container for experiences and perceptions. It does not create them, but stores them. The brain is called the "sea of marrow." Marrow is defined as "jing + shen": our essence combined with our spirit animation. Contained within our brain is our way of seeing the world, our interactive programming and survival capacity. If we want to change the way we relate to the world at a fundamental level, we need to work with the brain.

The Luo Vessels are said by the Ling Shu to be unable to penetrate into the joints, which are themselves Curious Organs: an aspect of the bone. The Divergent Channels and Extraordinary Vessels, however, do have access to the joints: they access the bones, brain and marrow.

To prepare for the new world we are welcoming, we'd benefit most from working with the Extraordinary Vessels and the Curious Organs with which they connect.

The power of Yang Wei Mai

The Extraordinary Vessel Yang Wei Mai is particularly suited to our present circumstances. It is translated as the active linking vessel. It is that which links our present state with that of the future: capacity and capability, innovation and adaptability. These are all yang attributes.

Contained within our brain and Curious Organs is a type of primitive, collective consciousness. Human beings have managed to survive for hundreds of years through their ability to adapt and evolve. As the external world changes, so do we, through our Curious Organs.

Yang Wei Mai is a powerful way to tap into our ability to adapt and evolve. Combined with Dai Mai, the Extraordinary Vessel that wraps around the waist, we can discharge and eliminate material that weakens our immunity, willpower, vitality and motivation.

Draining Dai Mai releases us from the weight of unresolved physical, mental and emotional material keeping us stuck to repeat old patterns. Yang Wei Mai empowers our ability to stand strong, adapt, pivot, focus and transform challenges as they present themselves. Rather than suppress, repress or run away from difficulty, we face it and learn to "course the wind," using challenges to grow and create.

Yang Wei Mai manages our yang capacity to deal with change. When the Sinew meridian aspects of Tai Yang, Shao Yang and Yang Ming are strongly linked and connected, we not only possess strong physical strength and immunity, but also don't fear the future: vision into it emboldened by its unpredictability. We become ready and firm, knowing we will be called to create new ways of living, embrace new modes of thought, and move into a new sense of our very selves if that's what's called for.

Most significantly, while Dai Mai visits the acupuncture points of gallbladder along the waist, Yang Wei Mai contacts several powerful gallbladder points on the head. Once Tai Yang, Shao Yang and Yang Ming are strongly linked together via the points BL 63 Jin Men, GB 35 Yang Jiao and LI 14 Bi Nao, creating tremendous strength, movement capacity and power, Yang Wei Mai moves into the head, visiting eight gallbladder points with names that suggest influence over the eyes, brain, metabolism, immunity, emotions, the soul and the spirit. Yang Wei Mai via its gallbladder points visits all three parts of the brain: the lower (survival) brain, the middle (interactive) brain and the upper (differentiation) brain.

Through Yang Wei Mai, we can influence physiological survival aspects relating to immunity, respiration and digestion, of which many of us are very concerned lately: how to stay healthy and strong as new diseases emerge and the climate changes. We can also work with our interactive capacity: the way we are able to exchange with the world and derive nourishment from it; and our ability to differentiate: to decide what is real, who we are and what the world is all about.

In times of major change, the differentiation capacity of the upper brain is most important to soften and make malleable. We can no longer stubbornly cling to our ways of seeing the old world. We must become more innocent and open to discovering what the new world requires us to be, and change as necessary.


It takes considerable energy, focus and devotion to change; especially as we age. Rigidity is a major challenge to our ability to stay healthy and strong. Working with the upper brain and the decisions we've made about ourselves and the world is vital to health and longevity. The Curious Organs and Extraordinary Vessels are key.

Perhaps the most important acupuncture point on Yang Wei Mai is its last point: GB 13 Ben Shen: the root of the spirit. GB 13 is located in the region of the upper brain, suggesting change is a natural state of our spirit path.

A key to our health as evolutionary beings is choosing to allow ourselves to constantly change to prevent a hardening of our spirit perception. It is a perfect point for those of us who struggle to change our minds about ourselves and the world.

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