Episode Six: How Did We Get Here?

The Small Intestine is a highway and sometimes when traveling we ask, how did we get here? Episode 6 is is live.

A small episode in honor of the illustrious Small Intestine. Some say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, but the Small Intestine may be the real gatekeeper. Sifting and sorting to determine what is true and allowed to pass. A highway that can take us all through the body, but especially good for shoulder and neck pain. Shiatsu therapist Raymond and acupuncturist Billy talk about how they use the channel in their work.

Music by Purple Fluorite (Bandcamp // Soundcloud // or all the streaming platforms)

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Transcript below:

Speaker 1 & 2 repeating:

Healing with Raymond and Billy.

*music ends*

Billy:

Hi

Raymond:

Hi. What is this show we do? We do a show, it’s called, Healing with Raymond and Billy. Welcome to the podcast. Hi listeners, my name is Raymond. Hi, Billy Janes. How are you today?

Billy:

Hi. I’m good.

Raymond:

Good. We are on episode six. The last episode was episode five, the Heart. And now we are moving into the paired meridian to the Heart is Small Intestine. This will be a five minute episode. No, it will probably be a little bit shorter, though. And that’s fine, it’s asking a lot, I think, for y’all to listen to a whole hour of us sometimes! But I do have a few things…

Raymond:

What’s funny about the Small Intestine I think for me is I actually use the Small Intestine a lot, but for sort of very specific things, and so we’ll talk a little bit about, it’s one of the four Fire meridians, we kind of got started talking about the Fire element in the last one. The Small Intestine, I feel like this is definitely an organ where really differentiates even more so than western and eastern, because you really don’t use Small Intestine points to treat the Small Intestine.

Billy:

Ever.

Raymond:

Right? I mean, yeah, okay. I was just like, I feel pretty confident saying that, but I’m glad that you agree with that.

Billy:

Yeah.

Raymond:

But I do use the Small Intestine channel all the time for arm pain on the channel, so the Small Intestine meridian, it’s an arm channel, so last week the Heart started in the armpit, and then it kind of went down the inner arm and ended on the pinky. So the Small Intestine starts at the pinky, and then works its way up the back of the arm all the way up the shoulder, and then when it gets to your shoulder blade it does this little zig-zag, it kind of looks like a heartbeat on the heart monitor. And then it comes up your neck, it dips in towards your cheek and then ends right in the center of your ear, or that little strange- I forgot the technical term, but that little cartilage flap, that’s like right before your ear hole.

Billy:

The doohickey.

Raymond:

Yeah, that’s the technical term. So that’s the end of the Small Intestine channel. So I use that channel a lot for clearing any sort of stagnation and pain in the shoulder especially but also the neck and arm and things like that, so it’s really good to sort of use for in that really simple body work way. And then the other sort of messaging that comes up that, what I learned about the Small Intestine meridian, is that it’s the meridian for sifting and sorting, so that’s the phrase that I think of. We had like, rottening and ripening were some of the other phrases, and things like that. But so the sifting and sorting, so a lot of times, I feel like anytime anyone’s going through like a big transition or they’re moving, or anything like that, a lot of times they might come in talking about that, I might work the Small Intestine meridian and they’ll remark that “Those points felt tender” or things like that, or I’ll kind of feel things on the channel.

Raymond:

So I just sort of know that that channel’s been really active. And so in the Small Intestine sifting and sorting in our body, the Small Intestine, all the food that kind of came from the Stomach and Spleen gets sent down to the Small Intestine and then it starts to sort of sift and sort it into basically the turbid dirty stuff and the clean nutrients and things like that, so there’s also this sort of- the spiritual message of the Small Intestine is sort of sorting through what is true, and what is real, and so if you pair it with the Heart meaning, the Small Intestine sort of helps your Heart judge the other people’s Hearts in a way, so when someone says, “I’m sorry,” or someone says “I love you,” your Small Intestine is really kind of trying to discern how authentic or how real or how you are sort of perceiving and whether you’re going to let that person into your Heart boundaries.

Raymond:

So that’s some of the things that I think about with the Small Intestine meridian, how do you use it in your work, Billy James?

Billy:

I actually, just like you said, I really don’t use the Small Intestine channel itself in order to treat the Small Intestine, I think that the Small Intestine channel, I use for, like you mentioned, arm pain. I also can use it for, it also controls this channel that helps open up the back. So I usually pair a point on the Small Intestine channel with a point on the opposite foot, and it helps open up the back, so if I’m going to treat someone for back pain, I usually will work that area. And there’s also this really great point. I know that y’all have probably at some point slept wrong, woke up with a stiff neck. There’s this amazing point that’s on the Small Intestine channel, on the forearm, and it’s called Small Intestine 6, and I have this with patients all the time.

Billy:

They’re always amazed that it works, even just by pressing it, they’ll come in with a stiff neck unable to turn their neck, and then I press on SI six, Small Intestine six, and then they’re magically able to rotate their head from side to side.

Raymond:

Whoa.

Billy:

Yeah, so it’s just a powerful point.

Raymond:

Is that the one that’s kind of like almost halfway up the forearm and it’s in between the two muscles, you almost kind of…

Billy:

Yeah. It’s for like torticollis.

Raymond:

So like halfway between your elbow and your wrist on that sort of bottom side.

Billy:

Yeah, so it’s on the ulnar side of your arm, so the radial side is where your thumb is, and the ulnar side is where your pinky is. And so it’s on that channel connecting, halfway about, you’ll find the tender spot, but it’s about halfway between your wrist and your elbow, in that little fleshy area, and you just push around in there and eventually you’ll find it, and it’s because that channel goes up the back of your arm into the shoulder blade, and then up to your neck, so it’s just a really great point. I use it a lot.

Raymond:

I use that one, and what I do is I sort of stimulate points where- so I’m resting my arm on the finger, so rather than digging my finger into the arm point, it’s almost like I’m using my finger as a pivot, and then I kind of rest my arm, and then you can kind of… I don’t know it’s just a different way of kind of pushing in.

Billy:

I like that.

Raymond:

It plays with the balance a little bit, so it’s not as much, you’re just letting gravity kind of do the work. Like most of the heavy lifting, I should say.

Billy:

Which is great.

Raymond:

Yeah, exactly. Also when you are doing sort of the Small Intestine channel points on the neck and shoulder, I’ll do the same thing where I hold it down with my finger and then turn my head from right to left. So rather than like, keeping my head still and working the point, I hold the point still and move the neck and shoulder around, and that kind of pushes the fascial tissue around in different ways and clears open the channel. The other thing, it’s funny, whenever we prepare for an episode, I always jot down what are random things that I associate with the Small Intestine, and like the second thing that came to mind was, the Small Intestine processes butyric acid, which is found in butter, so our Small Intestine likes us to eat butter. And I was all like, that’s kind of a funny thing that I just have in a drawer in my brain, and I was all like, maybe I should do a little research and make sure that’s actually true. I mean, I’m sure I picked it up at some point, but I kind of wanted to dig in a little bit more.

Raymond:

And it turns out that butyric acid is a chain of triglycerides that we do need, an amino acid chain in our body, and it is pretty much found primarily in animal fat, and so I think its’ one of those… the reason it stayed with me is because you know, every once in a while, there are people who may be, I know people who were vegetarian for like years and years, even decades, and at some point they had sort of a nutritional deficiency, and they had to start working some things into their diet that they weren’t necessarily wanting to do. So for example, I have a friend who now has to eat tuna once a month. You know, just because they needed to up certain things in their diet. And I do know some people that have it’s that same thing that they were maybe vegan but they went to vegetarian but they really just had small amounts of yogurt or cultured dairy or things like that, because they needed something in it. Not only was it the probiotics, but I think it was related to the amino acids in it.

Raymond:

So the Small Intestine does a lot of those sifting and sorting of those micronutrients. So the Stomach and Spleen is almost like, here’s just sort of the raw energy, and we’re dividing things into the major categories, but the Small Intestine really has that ability to sort things on a molecular level which is really cool.

Billy:

Wow.

Raymond:

Isn’t the Small Intestine the one that’s like 20 feet long or something like that? Our body, or something ridiculous.

Billy:

Wow, I don’t know.

Raymond:

So the smallness is more about the diameter, so the large intestine or the colon is shorter, but it’s a wider tube, it has a thicker diameter. But the Small Intestine is much tinier, but then that’s the one whenever you look at the color cross section images of our bodies and you see our guts, and it’s all the twisted up guts, that’s actually mostly our Small Intestine.

Billy:

Wow.

Raymond:

And I think I also remember reading when I was on an intense gut studying binge, that a lot of times that our body does this cool thing where it sweeps through the Small Intestine, so after we’re done digesting and we’ve had some time between meals and we’re resting, it does like a sweep through the channel, and so sometimes that’s some of the noise that we’re hearing, the digestive noises or echoey noises, are actually, it’s kind of like the little internal squeegees going through our Small Intestine and cleaning everything out. And that’s why it’s actually good to have periods of not eating for six to eight hours. Because we need to have a gap that long between meals for that sort of natural mechanism to kick in. So if you’ve been eating every four hours for many many days and many many weeks, your Small Intestine might be kind of backed up and kind of clogged up and having struggling with food absorption, because you haven’t been able to sort of naturally clean itself out.

Billy:

Wow. That’s so cool.

Raymond:

Yeah, and it’s really sensitive too, that you can eat food that’s made it all the way through your stomach, and maybe even halfway through your Small Intestine but then at some point it got detected as something was bad, so maybe there was a virus or just whatever, something was rotten in a bad way, there’s a system that can basically kick in and it will send it all the way back up the Small Intestine. I’m sorry, your body decides, are we going to send it back up, and are they going to vomit, or are we going to send it down and is it going to be like diarrhea and it’s going to come out. And so that’s really fascinating to me to think about times where I have had something that I probably ate something that had either a virus in it or whatever in it, and you don’t really notice it until it’s almost six hours later, and you’re like what, where did… I vomited and there’s food and I don’t understand. I ate like six hours ago.

Raymond:

But that’s what happened, is at some point your Small Intestine decided, oh that’s bad and we need to eject it. And they decided that it was actually more expeditious to send it all the way up which is pretty amazing, if you think about it. Right, to eject things out all the way up or all the way down. That’s just cool stuff about the Small Intestine that still doesn’t totally fit with the Small Intestine meridian. Just fun facts about the Small Intestine in general. Yeah.

Raymond:

The other piece that I was thinking about is that this is also a good time to think about how we combine different meridians in different ways. So you were talking about you will do a technique where you do a Small Intestine point on the hand and then one on the foot.

Billy:

And then a Bladder, yeah.

Raymond:

Bladder, okay. I was wondering if it was going to be Bladder, because I was going to talk about Tai Yang. We sketched out this image of the 12 meridians, and we’ve been talking about them paired based on the element, but the body’s really interconnected, and we’ve talked about that too, and so there’s also the language and a whole other system of looking at the body that’s related to these different ways of pairing the meridians. And so this is sometimes called in traditional Chinese medicine, I was first introduced to this idea as the six levels. So there’s these sort of six stages that disease takes in the body. So there’s this more superficial, and as it gets deeper down into the body, the disease gets more and more serious, so things that are on the surface of the body like colds and flus, those don’t tend to…

Raymond:

I mean obviously if they get really deep down in and infect us they can cause major problems, but the closer it is to the surface of the body in general, the better our body’s chances are of being able to push it out and work through it and get back to a place of balance. And so that first level is the Tai Yang level. It’s T-A-I, and then yang, Y-A-N-G. Sometimes translated as “The greater Yang level.” And so I was thinking about that. I do work that a lot when I work the body in a shiatsu session, when people are face down, I work the back of the arm, I come up to the shoulder and then I kind of connect with the Bladder channel in the back of the neck. And then work it down the back and work it down the back of the legs.

Billy:

Yeah.

Raymond:

And so to me, that’s something I started in the past four years, so when I went to school for shiatsu, we were really just focused on primary meridians, primary meridians, and then you go out in the world and you start to learn different techniques and different styles and I started to learn about different channel. There’s all these other different channels and multiple channels that are kind of on the same road, so kind of like you know how you’re on highway 54, but then highway 54 joins with highway 151 for a while, and then highway 72 all come- so there’s that one point, three highways are technically all on the same road, that happens a lot in the body, too. So there’s often, I think that’s another way where I sort of use the Small Intestine channel as a way to work the body from one end to the next so you can get a full body treatment by just touching these two different meridians.

Billy:

I love that idea that you just mentioned of these highways and stuff, and that the Small Intestine is such a good connector, because I feel like a lot of things get caught in the Small Intestine, like in terms of it being even just a digestive connector, a lot of times when I’m working with a body, somebody has something like anxiety or they’re having something like a UTI but they’re also having with that UTI, a lot of anxiety and irritability and palpitations and insomnia. Those kinds of Fire signs that are related to the Small Intestine, I will work with the Small Intestine as a way to transfer the heat that has been transferred from the Heart to the Small Intestine, that’s causing the issue with the UTI.

Billy:

You’re able to work with transferring that out of the Small Intestine, into the Bladder. You can transfer things out of the Small Intestine, and I feel like that’s a really great tool in a way that I think I don’t often look at this. I see the Small Intestine mostly as a channel.

Raymond:

Right.

Billy:

On the very surface, but then once in a while, when I’m working on the points on the belly that are related to the Small Intestine, we call it in our medicine, the front Mu point, but it’s the way they were able to access the energy of the organ or the channel itself, but through the belly, and so it’s right above the belly button, and so a lot of times when I have people coming in, and they’re like, “I’m in a place in my life where I’m having a hard time making decisions,” or “I’m really bloated and gassy and I have a lot of damp and irritability.” Whatever, I will put a needle in above the belly button and that’s this kind of way of helping the body to sort out some of that stuff, whether it’s emotional or physical, that’s one of the powerful points. It’s not on the channel even, but it’s a Small Intestine point and I use it super regularly.

Raymond:

Interesting. Yeah. It is such a good channel, like you said, for clearing dampness and heat. So we were talking about the pain stuff a lot of the times, pain is caused by stagnation, but there’s other things that get stuck in the channel, too, so our channels are creeks, so sometimes If the water is running low or sometimes if there’s a lot of mud and muck in it, it’s kind of blocking things up. That’s a lot of times how I think about it. So Small Intestine has that access to Fire energy, so that’s why I always think of it as good for drying out that dampness. You can clear that Fire down the channel. And the Bladder is a meridian that it’s paired with and that Tai Yang pairings is a water element, so i think that’s why it also feels like a good basic elemental treatment to work the Tai Yang which is those two channels together, because then you’re doing that Fire water balance, which is good for overall body balance.

Billy:

Yeah, I also use the SI three hand point for ear stuff, so SI three is if you take your hand and you make a fist out of it and you look at your palm just where your pinky is, you’ll see that the crease of your hand creates this little thing that sticks out, like a little fold in your skin that sticks out of the side there. You see that?

Raymond:

Oh yeah, I do.

Billy:

If you just push that in right there, right up against the bone, that’s SI three.

Raymond:

Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Billy:

And yeah, that’s so good for whiplash, you’re dizzy, you have some ear stuff going on, because that channel goes right up to the ear.

Raymond:

Yeah. I use the- if you keep going down the channel towards your wrist, in those wrist crease points, I do that if I have wrist pain, that’s a good one too, to kind of massage on that area. Does really great stuff for carpal tunnel stuff or repetitive strain.

Billy:

And how do you massage that?

Raymond:

So I like to gently pinch it between my thumb and the knuckle of my index finger, so it’s almost like I’m getting the Heart and the Small Intestine points on both sides of the bottom of the wrist. And then I do a little shake, so I’m sort of shaking my wrist out and shaking the pinching back and forth. So I feel like Small Intestine channel does really well with vibratory and shaking things, and a little bit more Yang-y energy stuff. Like we were talking about Heart is the Yin side of Fire, and Small Intestine is touching on the Yang side, the more fiery side. So it’s not like you have to be aggressive or hard, I’m never painful, but I’m maybe a little bit more like I’m going to vibrate or tap, or do that sort of stuff.

Billy:

Ah.

Raymond:

So that’s what I like to do with that. But you can also just push in with your thumb from the side, too. There’s those lines on your wrist and if you go all the way to the side where it meets on that ulnar side, as you pointed out earlier, and there’s actually all these little tiny bones right where your wrist is. Your wrist is sort of this combination of eight little strange trapezoid and spheroid little bones, all kind of meshed together.

Billy:

Yes.

Raymond:

And I’m always like, “How do they even work? I don’t even understand.” It reminds me of those puppets where they’re standing on a podium and you push the button underneath the podium and they just collapse down. That’s what it reminds me of, but anyway.

Billy:

Totally.

Raymond:

*coughs*

Excuse me. I was working that point and it’s starting to work all the phlegm out of my channel. Sexy.

Billy:

Ooh, I’ve been working it, too.

Raymond:

I’m recovering from a sinus infection, so I’m feeling better but I’m still having all that residual stuff. I think I told a client today that I’ve got my Kathleen Turner voice on. I’m glad we have a recording session today, Billy Janes.

Billy:

Immortalize it.

Raymond:

That’s right, make use of it.

Billy:

Exactly.

Raymond:

Oh my goodness. Sifting and sorting.

Billy:

I was going to say, yes. How did Kathleen Turner make it in?

Raymond:

How did we get here? That really should be the name of this podcast. “How did we get here with Raymond and Billy James.”

Billy:

Oh God, I thought you just meant the episode, but you meant the whole podcast. I love it.

Raymond:

Oh no, that’s good, maybe it will be an episode. That’s just my life motto, how did I get here?

Billy:

How did I get here.

Raymond:

Oh goodness. All right. So there’s probably not really an herb for the Small Intestine, is there? It probably doesn’t really come up too much.

Billy:

I mean…

Raymond:

I mean… yeah, I was reading something about how a lot of Small Intestine inflammation can be connected to congestive Heart failure, so I just feel like a lot of the stuff that is good for digestion and stuff that’s good for the Heart, is probably also good for the Small Intestine.

Billy:

Why not?

Raymond:

But like you said, it’s not really the approach we take, right? So…

Billy:

We learn in our education about herbal medicine, we learn a lot about this one formula called Dao Chi San which is for UTIs or Heart heat, Heart Fire transfers into the Small Intestine, and it’s just one of those things that you learn, and so I’ll have a patient who comes in with symptoms that match that, like they had been super irritable, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, all of a sudden they get a UTI, that’s the formula, go for it. It’ll do it. But in terms of anything that I’m consistently thinking about, like we need to nourish your Small Intestine or anything like that, no I really don’t.

Billy:

If anything, maybe this is good for me as a practitioner that I can pay more attention to see if perhaps this is an aspect that I can learn more about. You know what I mean? Because I feel like this is also part of the healing process, is like we have our blind spots, and when we’re aware of them, it opens us up to being able to learn more.

Raymond:

Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, I mean I think even just us talking about how thinking of it as such a connector and in some ways I take it for granted, and so it’s sort of like, I don’t know, I never use the Small Intestine. And then I started to think about it, and I was like, oh no, I use the Small Intestine all the time. But I don’t use it in exactly that same way. It doesn’t come up quite as much in conversations with clients, as far as thinking about the spiritual aspect. I mean really, it’s really about decision making related to your Heart, versus decision making related to your head, excuse me. So I feel like a lot of mental element is about which decision is best for this business plan, or for how to approach this problem with whatever. So it’s more about, you have to make a decision, but ultimately it’s just about which path you want to take.

Raymond:

And then Small Intestine decision making is really more about, no, this is real and this is bad. So I think that’s what I was thinking about it, too, it’s like, we have to eject this out of our body right now, or we accept this and we absorb these nutrients into it.

Billy:

It’s interesting that you say that, too, because in terms of relating the Small Intestine as a function of the Heart, in a way, is because, I think this is especially important for our listeners to know, is that all of these meridians and these things that we’ve given organ names to are actually functional processes in the body that are somewhat related to the organs, but they’re not specifically the organs, so throwing the name Small Intestine onto the function that this meridian and its processes do, it may not always have the exact correlation to the Small Intestine. Like, in a similar way that in Chinese medicine we talk about the Earth elements, we talk about the Spleen, and in our medicine, the Spleen is this digestive function of how the wheel of our metabolizing process is kind of moved, versus the way in western medicine how the Spleen is viewed, is as this burial ground for blood and this whole different process, and so just to kind of throw that in there as well, that not everything is like tit for tat correlated.

Billy:

And so that’s why I loved what you said about the Small Intestine being this Heart function of decision, about checking for authenticity. Is this clarifying things. That feels really true to me.

Raymond:

Yeah, and because I think Fire is split into four different meridians, too, it’s showing that there are a lot of different functions. Or, it’s not so much that there’s different functions for Fire, but more that Fire can function in different ways in the body. In that, so there’s the moving things, we’ve been talking about moving through the channel. But then when we get to talking about the pericardium, that’s almost about a boundary protective thing, and we’ll also talk about the triple heater, which again goes back to circulation, so it’s interesting to have me just sort of thinking about how all four of the different Fire meridians kind of do slightly different- Fire as far as helping the mechanisms of the body move through.

Raymond:

Anything else that we want to mention? I’m trying to think of any other uses of, or fun Small Intestine facts that I might know.

Billy:

I think for me the biggest takeaway for the Small Intestine is that it’s really great for treating pain in the back, and the neck, and anything on the side of the neck or the side of the head.

Raymond:

Yeah, shoulder blade, too. Frozen shoulder can come [inaudible 00:30:04] with that, too, for sure.

Billy:

Shoulder blade.

Raymond:

Yeah, yes. So all right. Well, I think we’re moving… is Bladder next week? Oh my gosh.

Billy:

Oh my god.

Raymond:

Like, pause for googling.

Billy:

Yeah. Right, we can edit that in, right? Yep.

Raymond:

You know it.

Billy:

You know it.

Raymond:

Oh my gosh. Where is it? Yes. Yes, correct. So Bladder. Yes. So Heart is 11, 11 AM to one PM, and then Small Intestine, oh yeah, we didn’t cover that earlier. So Small Intestine time is the one PM to three PM time, so it’s the sort of the post… lunch eating and post lunch time. Or whatever. And then next week we’re going to go to the Bladder, which happens from three PM to five PM.

Billy:

Woo-hoo.

Raymond:

Yee-hoo. So yeah, so it goes Fire, and then we’re going to move into water, and then we’ll come back to Fire, and then we’re going to end on wood. Okay, great. Well, thank you for joining us, for this episode and for tuning in to all of our other- this wild, how did we get here, journey of the body. If you go to HealingwithRaymondandBilly.com there is a contact form and there is also, I think we put if you look up us, our email should be on there, so if you have any questions, like if we say… because I know we sometimes say stuff and we might be talking shop, and we’re trying to explain it, but we maybe don’t explain it as well as we could have, or we left out some critical word that would have made it more clear, please feel free to send any questions or if you want us to kind of expand more on the topic, if we said something that maybe just kind of started to go somewhere, and you would like us to dig a little bit deeper. Please feel free to drop us a line.

Raymond:

I’m also on Instagram @mountainzenshiatsu, Billy’s on there @billyjaneslac, is that correct?

Billy:

Yeah.

Raymond:

Is that right?

Billy:

Yeah, that’s right.

Raymond:

Oh my gosh. Thank you for listening to episode six.

Billy:

Thank you.

Raymond:

I’m sorry I didn’t get to play Billy’s herbal corner theme song, but we’re going to get back there for next week.

Billy:

Yeah, not worried.

Raymond:

I’ll pick some other special song to end this episode on. So thanks for listening, and we’ll see y’all next time.

Billy:

Bye.

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