The Pericardium Meridian- Summer Energy

We’ve talked about three of the energy pathways most active in summer, the fire element. The fourth pathway or organ meridian is Pericardium. Though the pericardium (the sack around the heart) is not considered an organ in western medicine, it has an important role in Chinese Medicine. The Pericardium Meridian protects the heart both physically and energetically “from damage and disruption by excessive emotions from other organs and external sources. In the Chinese system of health, extreme emotional outbursts are seen as powerful disruptors of balance and a major cause of disease.”

The Pericardium protects the heart from the emotions of anger

…from the liver, grief from the lungs and fear from the kidneys. Without the Pericardium, the heart could be damaged from strong emotional fluctuations throughout the day.

The Pericardium is paired with the Triple Warmer Meridian. It’s peak hours of activity are 7-9pm and it helps regulate the flow of blood in the major blood vessels around the heart.

The function of the Pericardium is also psychological, it rules our relationships and the emotional issues surrounding them. Pericardium energy is associated with the loving feelings related to sex. It connects the sexual energy of the kidneys with the loving feelings generated by the heart.

Some signs of Pericardium imbalance are chronic damaging relationship patterns, guarded behavior, relationship fears and inappropriate intimacy or fear of intimacy.

The Energies of Summer – Triple Burner Meridian

Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

There are four energy pathways associated with the summer season. I’ve spoken in detail of the Heart Meridian and the Small Intestine Meridian. Today I want to discuss the Triple Warmer Meridian.

The Triple Warmer or Triple Burner Meridian is a concept unique to Chinese Medicine. There is no corresponding organ related to this in western medicine. This meridian has to do with the body’s temperature and includes three areas: the upper, middle and lower burner.

The upper burner is associated with the heart and lungs and is located above the diaphragm;
the middle burner includes the area below the diaphragm to the belly button. The organs associated are the spleen and stomach.
The lower burner is located below the belly button. The organs associated are liver, kidneys, large intestine, small intestine, and bladder.

The function of the Triple Warmer…

is to provide the energy or fire to transport the fluids, blood, and food which pass through each area. In The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, the functions of the three burners was described this way, “The upper burner acts like a mist. The middle burner acts like foam. The lower burner acts like a swamp.”

The way the energy is dispersed in the upper burner, the heart, and lungs, is compared to a mist. Think of the tender tissues of the lungs and the importance of keeping the heart and lungs hydrated for smooth functioning. In the middle burner, the function is digestion. The foam represents the digestive churning. The lower burner separates the pure from the impure and excretes the waste like a swamp breaking down plant matter.

“The triple burner is the controller of the entire circulation of body fluid” (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine) Some symptoms of Triple Warmer dysfunction are edema (retention of fluid in the tissues) or difficulty urinating, abdominal distention, tinnitus, pain in the throat, eyes, the shoulder and upper arm.

The Energies of Summer – Small Intestine

During summer, the time of the fire element, there are 4 meridians that are active inside our bodies instead of two. We’ve already spoken of Heart Meridian, there is also Small Intestine Meridian, Pericardium Meridian, and Triple Warmer Meridian.

Today I want to discuss the partner of heart, Small Intestine Meridian. The small intestine is most active between 1pm and 3pm. Its role in digestion is to separate the pure from the impure, absorbing minerals and nutrients from ingested food.

The Small Intestine Meridian controls the reception, transformation, and separation of solids and fluids and it is very sensitive to cold. If we consume lots of cold, raw foods, we can create problems in Small Intestine. These problems or imbalances can manifest as abdominal pain, digestive problems and appetite problems (i.e. overeating or poor appetite).

The energy of Small Intestine plays both a physical role in digestion and a mental role. The mental role is to discriminate between clear thoughts and chaotic ones. Small Intestine Meridian along with the Heart Meridian helps us with discernment and clarity of judgment.

Some foods which support the Fire Element are:

  • Asparagus, celery, lettuce
  • Chocolate, coffee, wine
  • Pumpkin, ginseng, sunflower seeds, vinegar

www.hendersonhealinghub.com/The Heart and the Small Intestine

The Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Together with the Yin-Yang theory, the Five Element Theory forms the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, diagnosis, and treatment.  

Traditional Chinese medicine was based on an observation of man in his environment.  In early times Chinese doctors identified patterns of continuous change and transformation in the universe and how these changes also occurred within the human body.  The concept of chi, the vital energy of the body and the Yin-Yang theory, which views the relationships between things as complementary to the whole, are integral to the master blueprint of the Five Element Theory.  This blueprint organizes all natural phenomena into five master groups or patterns in nature.

The five groups include: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each of these elements includes many “categories such as a season, a direction, climate, stage of growth and development, internal organ, body tissue, emotion, aspect of the soul, taste, color, sound…” the list is seemingly endless.  This theory gives a template to show “how nature interacts with the body and how the different dimensions of our being impact each other.” It gives a multidimensional view and provides a diagnostic framework to identify where imbalances lie.

We are in the season of spring which is the Wood Element.

  • The Liver and Gallbladder are associated organs
  • Eyes and tendons are associated body parts
  • The emotion of anger
  • The color green
  • Wind
  • Calling sound
  • Sour taste
  • The direction is east
  • 11pm – 3am -time

When the Wood chi is weak, indecision and a feeling of being stuck can occur. People who have a strong wood energy have clear goals and vision and can manifest their goals. Planning and decision making are their forte.

www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/five-elements

Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally here.  The weather has warmed, the air is lighter, and you can see the birds getting active.  The energy pathways most active in spring are Gall Bladder and Liver Meridians.

Spring is associated with the wood element;

the energy of plants breaking through the soil and buds appearing on the bare trees.  This time of year is perfect for cleansing both externally and internally; letting go of the old and making way for the new.  The color of spring is green and the taste is sour.

To support the Liver and Gall Bladder Meridians incorporate leafy greens such as dandelion, chickweed, watercress, sprouts, lettuces, chard, and arugula into your diet.  These greens help to purify the Liver and Gall Bladder.

“The Liver and Gall Bladder work together to move blood and bile, and play pivotal roles in:”

  • The ligaments and tendons- which aid flexibility and strength.
  • The eyes and clear vision.
  • Spleen and lung health- closely aligned with the immune system and susceptibility to seasonal allergies.

Apple cider vinegar or lemon in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning is also beneficial for the Gall Bladder as are artichoke and radish. Other detoxification foods for spring are:

  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Celery
  • Coconut milk
  • Grapefruit
  • Brown rice, millet, potatoes
  • Green tea
  • Sea vegetables

Treating Chronic Inflammation with Chinese Medicine

upset stomach chinese medicineIn today’s deadline riddled, multitasking society, chronic inflammation seems to be an all too common occurrence. Though inflammation is a normal response to toxins, infections and foreign bodies; chronic inflammation can predispose an individual to various medical conditions. These conditions include: allergies, reflux, diabetes, heart disease, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and inflammatory bowel disorders.

“From the perspective of Chinese Medicine modern life generates excess heat.  In western terms, this is a result of sympathetic overdrive – too much cortisol and adrenalin- that set the stage for inflammation.”

The treatment for excess heat in Chinese Medicine (CM) is to nourish the yin (moisture and blood) which will calm the heat of inflammation.  Chronic stress keeps us in a fight or flight response which raises heart rate, blood pressure and releases glucose into the blood.

In CM chronic stress creates stagnation of energy and blood and forms phlegm.  This stagnation interferes with circulation (hot head and trunk and cold limbs) thereby increasing body heat, drying secretions and making them difficult to release.  Having your energy balanced with acupuncture or acupressure and utilizing Chinese herbs will help to restore the body to homeostasis clearing heat and phlegm and increasing moisture and blood.

www.chinesemedicineworks.com-Turns Out Some Don’t Like It Hot

Living in Harmony with Nature during Winter

This is the time of year when nature is seemingly dormant.  Trees have lost their leaves, plants have shriveled and faded, and many animals hibernate.  Nature is pulling back its energy to rest, restore and renew to prepare for the activity of spring.

We are also part of nature.  What happens inside our bodies is mirrored in the outside world.  This is a time to rest, nourish our bodies with warming foods and reflect on our life’s journey.

The kidney and bladder meridians are most active during winter. “The kidney provides the essence that feeds and renews our life energy.” They also support the reproductive organs, bone, marrow, spinal cord, hair, teeth and brain.

The kidneys are adversely affected by cold weather, excessive cold drinks, lack of sleep, excessive physical work, excessive sexual activity, also excessive salty and spicy foods.

To support the kidneys during winter:

  • Get plenty of rest, 7 – 8 hours a night if possible
  • Stay warm
  • Stay hydrated, many heating systems are drying.
  • Eat warming foods – soups, stews, whole grains, root vegetables, roasted nuts, garlic, ginger, walnuts, and fish.
  • Exercises which produce energy such as tai chi, yoga, and qigong help to keep the body warm.
  • Have your energy balanced with acupressure or acupuncture.
  • Meditate to calm the body and mind.

www.futurelifenow.com/Winter Warmth and Happiness Tips from Chinese Medicine

The Energies of Winter – Bladder Meridian

river trees in winter sunThe bladder meridian is the longest meridian in the body. It runs the entire length of the spine and has two parallel trajectories on either side of the spine. The bladder meridian runs through all the other meridians and so has an influence on them.  This meridian begins in the inner corner of the eye and runs over the top of the head, down the neck and back into the sacrum.  It then goes down the back of the legs into the feet ending in the small toe.

The bladder meridian partners with the kidney meridian and plays a role in controlling fluid transformation and excretion, but because of its location and association with the kidney It exerts a powerful influence on the body.  The kidney meridian stores one of our deepest levels of energy, and weakness in the kidneys can be treated through bladder acupoints.

The points on the bladder meridian are excellent for treating neck pain and any type of back pain. The emotion associated with the kidney is fear.  Imbalance in the kidney and bladder meridians will create both physical and psychological symptoms. When there is bladder imbalance, emotions of suspicion, jealousy and the inability to let go of grudges may occur.

The back reacts to emotional stress basically the same way it reacts to physical stress by becoming tight.  “In short back tension is putting your problems behind you.  With chronic back pain or tension, whatever the cause, there are likely to be some powerful suppressed feelings.  For example, after a back injury, there may be fear and anger about the pain or disability.”

——Iona Teeguarden, The Joy of Feeling

Having your energy balanced by a licensed bodywork therapist can help release both chronic and acute tight muscles.  Staying hydrated, stretching, exercise and rest help support the bladder meridian.

The Energies of Winter

greg rakozy winter-forestDuring the season of winter, the energies of nature are pulled back down into the earth.  Trees lose their leaves, flowers, and shrubs cease growing and go dormant. Many animals hibernate to conserve their energy when the abundance of food in nature is reduced.

We are part of nature and it is also important for us to slow down and renew our energies in winter.  Rest, warming foods such as bone broths, and activities which relax and calm the mind, such as Tai Chi and meditation are recommended.

Some people love winter sports and are energized by the cold; others are the opposite.  If we follow the recommendations for health in winter; we can also enjoy our personal activity preferences.

The Chinese Medicine associations of winter include:

  • Kidney and bladder meridians
  • The element of water
  • Flavors – salty, bitter
  • Emotion- fear
  • Organs- ears, bones
  • Time of greatest activity- kidney (5pm-7pm)
  • Time of greatest activity – bladder (3pm-5pm)

Last week I spoke about the kidneys holding the body’s essential energy or essence, the Jing Chi.  When we deplete our Jing energy, aging is accelerated.  To nourish kidney energies, cook food longer at lower temperatures with less water.  Eat foods which grow locally in this season; squashes, potatoes, root vegetables, cabbage, apples, and pears to name a few.

Simple tips to improve kidney health are:

  • Massage your ears for several minutes a day.  This will stimulate kidney energy.
  • Go to bed before midnight, take breaks during your day to de-stress and rest when tired.
  • Stomp your feet slowly for about 5 minutes a day. The kidney and bladder meridians have important acupressure points in the sole and heels of the feet.

www.tmcworld.org/ kidney health

Maintaining Health in Winter with Chinese Medicine

The ancient Chinese believed that living in harmony with the seasons of nature could prevent disease and promote health.  Winter is the most yin season when the flow of energy is cold, damp, slow and inward.  The days are shorter, and darkness comes early.

The organs associated with winter are the kidneys and bladder. Today, I want to discuss the kidneys.  The kidneys hold our body’s fundamental energy, the Jing chi or essence.  To strengthen kidney energy, it is important to get adequate rest and spend time in self-reflection and meditation.  Practices such as Tai Chi and yoga help to relax body, mind, and spirit, and connect us to our inner selves.

The kidney energy is also associated with our ears and bones.  Our hearing ability is connected to the health of the kidneys.  We can hear more clearly in the stillness of winter than in the activity of the spring and summer.

Bone broths are a good way to tonify kidney energy and nourish the bones which produce Jing Chi.  Other foods which support the kidneys include:

  • rye
  • oats
  • miso
  • quinoa
  • seaweeds
  • salt
  • warm
  • hearty soups
  • roasted nuts
  • black beans
  • black rice

Prolonged extreme stress harms the kidneys. It is also recommended to avoid excess salt and anything in excess.

www. Chinesemedicineliving.com/Living According to the winter season…