Part 16: The Rebel

The appendix’s meridian archetype is the rebel. The archetype symbolizes the appendix’s understanding of change, an energy that becomes more prominent during turbulent times. Appendix energy accepts and understands that to grow you need to invite change into your life.

Unlike the other Meridian Archetypes, the appendix doesn’t directly correspond to a meridian in Traditional Chinese medicine. However, the appendix and its balancing meridian the thymus both play an important role in immunity. 

We still don’t know everything about the body and there may be as yet unknown functionalities of the appendix. What we do know is that the appendix stores and creates beneficial gut bacteria and protects the body from harmful bacteria. Scientists hypothesize that the appendix could be useful for restarting the digestive system after illness. 

Whatever the status of the appendix in Chinese and modern medicine, strengthening and stretching the meridian will give you access to the energy of the rebel archetype. The exercises in this article will also help you correct imbalances in the latissimus dorsi and deltoid muscles.

Keep reading to better understand the appendix’s western medicine functions, eastern medicine functions, archetypes, common imbalances, and exercises to restore the healthy flow of the meridian.

Western Medicine Immunity: The Appendix’s Role

The appendix is a small worm-shaped organ connected to the large and small intestines on the lower right side of the abdomen. Experts in human anatomy claim that the appendix is a remnant of evolution, a vestigial organ with no current uses. 

However, recent studies into the appendix revealed that it plays a crucial role in protecting the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

The Appendix in the Immune and Digestive Systems

Evidence suggests that although the appendix’s role in the body is still not fully understood, it does provide support to both the immune and digestive systems. 

Like the thymus, the appendix plays an important role in developing the immune system. This organ functions as a lymphoid organ during the first three decades of life. It supports the maturation of certain white blood cells and produces a type of antibody called immunoglobulin A. 

Experts believe that the appendix is close to the large and small intestines so that it can expose white blood cells to the common foreign bodies and antigens in the digestive system. 

The appendix also supports a healthy digestive system. Experts theorize that the appendix is a storehouse for good bacteria. It uses these bacteria to reboot the digestive system after diarrheal illnesses.

Appendix Removal

The removal of an inflamed appendix is called an appendectomy. An infected or inflamed appendix leaks bacteria into the belly, and if not removed, could result in the person’s death. Doctors recommend the removal of the appendix in astronauts for fear that it might cause unnecessary risk to their lives if it became inflamed. 

Appendectomies are a fairly common medical procedure. However, the procedure is tied to several inflammatory bowel diseases. One 2015 study linked appendectomy to an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Another study from 2003 found that people who removed their appendix were 43% more likely to develop Crohn’s disease.

More studies are needed to verify the exact role the appendix plays in the human body as we age. However, it seems clear that the thoughtless removal of a healthy appendix should be reconsidered to prevent future inflammatory bowel issues.

Appendix Meridian Exercises

Beginner Appendix Exercises

Free Locust

Appendix meridian pose - rebel archetype

Lay prone on the floor with the arms straight alongside your body, palms turned down. Press your palms into the floor as you lift one leg at a time or both legs simultaneously. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 8-10 times.

Intermediate Appendix Exercises

Standing Wall Squats with arms

Stand with your back to the wall and extend your arms out behind you with your palms resting on the wall, fingers pointing toward the floor. Press the hands into the wall as you squat until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Return to standing and repeat 8-10 times.

Advanced Appendix Exercises

Locust against the wall

Lay prone on your stomach, arms by your sides, and palms pressing down on the floor. Line yourself up so that when your knees are bent, your feet rest comfortably against the wall. Press your feet against the wall and gently lever yourself up as you press your hands down. Your chin will rest on the floor as you walk your feet up the wall as high as is comfortable for you. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 5-10 times.

Rebel Archetype 

H3: Other Archetypes: sage, anarchist, political revolutionary, nonconformist

One red tulip surrounded by yellow - rebel appendix

The appendix organ may be considered vestigial but the energetic force behind the meridian is a major force in our lives. The rebel is the energy of growth and transformation. They are driven by a need to enact change – in themselves and in the world around them.

When you are young, your tribe dictates how you live, dress, speak, and feel. Your tribe might be your family, community, and all the people who come together to raise you. 

As you grow, you begin to find who and what drives you as an individual. You break away from whatever the tribe calls normal and begin to set off on your own. The rebel is an archetype often associated with youth culture because it’s in your teens and early twenties that you feel the most rebellious.

Most of you might be familiar with the phrase “rebel without a cause.” This truism perfectly describes the downside of the rebel archetype who might seek out change just for the sake of it. People who blindly follow trends are still conforming.

An imbalanced rebel archetype might also reject legitimate tribal guidance or authority out of habit. Unhealthy or imbalanced appendix energy can also result in a spacy, out-of-body feeling. You might feel dissociated from the physical world, unable to come back to earth. Rules, policies, and traditions can be used to help ground you in reality.

The Rebel in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Because of the connections between the appendix and the immune and digestive systems, discussing appendix energy is not as straightforward as other meridians. Many organs contribute to these larger systems.

The large intestine, small intestine, gallbladder, spleen, liver, and stomach meridians all play a role in supporting healthy digestion. While the skin, spleen, liver, lung, thymus, and appendix meridians are the main players in immunity. Read more about how the meridians affect these systems on our Digestion Meridian and Immunity Meridian blog posts!

In the Genius of Flexibility, Bob Cooley uncovered two additional meridian lines while exploring exercises for his strength and flexibility training. The thymus is one, and the appendix is the other. These two upper-body meridians balance out the gallbladder and liver meridians in the lower body.

Appendix Meridian Case Study

V for Vendetta - Rebel Appendix

Appendix energy does more than help you embrace and cultivate change in your life. It allows you to see the steps needed to make change happen. 

The last few years have seen great changes in the world. One of Infinity’s clients – a newly retired teacher – had change thrust upon him in the previous few years. 

During the pandemic, this client went from teaching in person to holding weekly Zoom sessions with his students. At the same time, he was contemplating retirement and preparing to sell his house.

Thankfully, in the years leading up to selling his family home, he spent time making a plan for what would work best for him. When the time came to make change happen, the transition was seamless. He retired and moved in with his extended family.

He anticipated the upcoming change, embraced it, and maintained a positive mindset. Instead of rejecting change and trying to keep control of his life, he embraced his new life.

Trying to “take control” of your life is a fear-based reaction. Reacting with fear – especially in situations where you have little to no control – only makes life more difficult. When you embrace change, you invite positive transitions like that experienced by Infinity’s client.

The appendix meridian can help you to invite change into your life, to make changes gracefully, and act with love instead of fear when change comes calling.

Looking Ahead

The appendix is the final stop in Infinity’s Meridian Archetypes series. Look back at the rest of the Meridian archetypes here.

Now that we’ve given you an idea of the power of meridians, Infinity can focus on showing you how to use the meridians to heal the body, mind, and spirit.

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