Episode Nine: Give Your Heart a Hug

The Pericardium and Triple Heater Meridians: Giving Your Heart a Hug

Raymond & Billy talk about the supplemental fire meridians of the body, the Pericardium and Triple Heater (aka Triple Warmer aka San Jiao). We talk about the three burners, the discovery of a new organ that acupuncturists already knew about, how to give your heart a hug, and some general overview of these meridians in the body and what select points we use most often.

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Transcript below:

Transcription by kiatranscripts@gmail.com

[Music Starts] 

Billy & Raymond repeating: 

Healing with Raymond & Billy. 

[Music Fades]


[Raymond Laughs]

Raymond: I came in all bold and hot and then I was like, what’s my line?

[Both Laugh]

Billy: Where am I? 

[Billy Laughs]

Raymond: Right, who am I? What podcast am I on today?

[Both Laugh]

Raymond: Hello everyone, welcome to Healing with Raymond & Billy. This is indeed episode 9. Today we have reached the cycle in the clock, the human anatomy clock, where we are at the Pericardium meridian and while we were sort of prepping for this, I kind of just said to Billy, “You know let’s just do Pericardium and triple heat together.” and Billy was like “Yeah”, because otherwise it would be kind of a short episode for both of them and they’re also just so very intertwined. It seemed harder to have a conversation about Pericardium and not bring in san jiao or Triple Heater and save it for next week. I just thought like, why limit ourselves? Let’s just open it up and let us have that conversation with these two meridians together. These two meridians are also in some ways the trickiest to understand for people who are outside of Chinese medicine frameworks because they’re not linked to sort of organs within us the same way that like the heart is or the small intestine or things like that. So the Pericardium is the … Although I guess there is sort of a biological Pericardium, right? Because there is sort of the muscle that is kind of around the heart. 

Billy: Yeah. 

Raymond: Or there’s sort of … Yeah. 

Billy: The sac. 

Raymond: Yeah, the sac. It’s like a sheath. 

[Billy Laughs]

Raymond: It’s almost like your diaphragm. Like the way you have a diaphragm that kind of helps pull the lungs in and out, it’s a little bit, you can think almost how the Pericardium is, except it’s a lot closer, obviously, like they’re really sitting inside the sac. 

[Both Laugh]

Raymond: And the other meridian that we’re talking about today is … I tend to call it the Triple Heater meridian. Billy tends to call it then San Jiao.

[Raymond Spells Out San Jiao]

Raymond: I feel like that’s definitely more like acupuncturists definitely call it that more often and then I guess shiatsuists for some reason we like to call it the Triple Heater. Also the Pericardium has a second name too, sometimes you’ll see that referenced in the literature as “heart protector”, which I forgot about. I was like looking in the index of this book and I was like “How is there nothing about the Pericardium in this textbook?”

[Billy Laughs]

Raymond: And then I was like, “Oh, they list it as Heart Protector.” Yeah, so very literal in that sense. I think I might have talked about, actually, in one of the first episodes that one of the things that I learned about was the connection between also the diaphragm and the Pericardium even. So that when you’re taking big breaths and expanding the diaphragm, you do sort of expand the Pericardium just a little bit, so it kind of pulls slightly away and then comes back in. So it’s a little bit like giving your heart a hug. 

Billy: Aww. 

Raymond: I know, it’s so sweet. 

Billy: It’s so sweet. 

Raymond: Chinese medicine is so precious. 

[Billy Laughs]

Raymond: It’s a precious angel baby. 

[Raymond LAughs]

Raymond: But, you know, it is kind of true how like taking deep breaths does calm your heart, sometimes it makes me mad how well it works. Like I’m like, “Ugh!”

[Raymond Laughs]

Raymond: A lot of my meditation study and my Zen study first started as part of this Buddhist temple I was a member of in Chicago and it was led by a Korean Zen teacher. I remember in one of the Dharma talks, he was talking about like if you’re having problems with feeling overwhelmed with emotions, especially emotions like anger and rage and frustration and things like that, that he was like just, you know, sit down on the cushion and do your practice. And he said do thirty-six breaths and after thirty-six breaths, if you still feel like overwhelmed by emotion, then do thirty-six more and if after the second round of thirty-six, you still are overwhelmed with emotion, then maybe you need to seek professional help. 

[Both Laughs]

Raymond: I think a lot of people thought he was being like cheeky, but I was like “No, there’s actually something to this.” Like I feel like there’s these levels of like … Here’s the level of self care, help that it’s good for our body to do to kind of help keep things in balance and if the regular sort of everyday work, so that first sort of thirty-sixth breaths doesn’t work, sometimes you just have to kick it up a notch, dig in a little bit more. So you might do a second round of self care or whatever you determine that health imbalance needs and then if that doesn’t fall through, that’s when you seek outside help, because you’re like “Okay, something’s off. My body’s natural mechanisms don’t seem to be kicking in.” So I guess I was thinking about how that sort of anecdote actually does kind of have a little kernel of good thing, because I think sometimes, and some of this is because we don’t have that access. Like it’s really easy to say seek professional help, but where? And who? And with what money? Are the kind of big three questions that come up a lot in all healthcare, but especially, I think those of us in America, right?  

[Raymond Laughs]

Billy: Mhm. 

Raymond: So, anyway, that was a little side track note about that. I think I’ve just been thinking about how in our efforts sometimes to take control and be in control of our own body and our own health, then when things go wrong, if we don’t have an outsider’s perspective, sometimes we can get to self blaming essentially. Like, “If I just meditate harder, that will get rid of my crazy.” or whatever sort of internal messaging, like “If I just go to the gym everyday, I won’t be bipolar.” or whatever kind of BS that people are putting in memes or whatnot on the internet. So back to the Pericardium. I like how I took that little precious baby angel moment about the heart and I was like “Let me tell you about this other side story.” 

[Raymond & Billy Laugh]

Raymond: That’s my brain. Welcome to my brain! 

Billy: That’s important though, right? 

Raymond: Right. 

Billy: I think it’s that, you know, the piece about when we feel stuck, what are some ways of getting unstuck? And sometimes being stuck and like self blame or “I’m not able to de-escalate my sense of anxiety or whatever’s going on with me.”, looking towards avenues that can be helpful and I think one is, you know, you could go and get community acupuncture.

Raymond: Mhm. 

Billy: Or, you know, and get a different perspective, an outsider perspective, or shiatsu, or some sort of, you know, work to get into your body in a different way. 

Raymond: Yeah. 

Billy: Maybe someone else guiding you. 

 Raymond: Yeah. And I think I also was just thinking about sort of the anxiety piece because, you know, deep breathing and a meditation practice has helped me with managing a lot of physical symptoms in my body that come up when different types of anxiety come up and the Pericardium is definitely a meridian that comes into play a lot as well when I’m treating anxiety in my clients, or even doing my own practice. 

Billy: Yeah. 


Raymond: So I want to talk about some of the points, so I should probably talk about the channel. So the Pericardium actually starts kind of … Pericardium one is right around your nipple, in the middle of your chest, and then it comes up to your shoulder, kind of right where the chest and your shoulder meet on the front of your body. So kind of near lung one. If you go back to lung one, that tender point that’s kind of like right at the front of your shoulder. I actually sometimes, I use that a little bit for the Pericardium beginning channel just because that first point being so close to the nipple and such a like personal area on a lot of people’s bodies, that usually with shiatsu we kind of just start at that Pericardium point, I think that’s three or four, that’s kind of more on the shoulder. Then you work down the center of your inner arm, so your soft, tender, inner arm, versus the outside of your arm. So if you kind of just draw a line right down the center of your bicep, right through the center of your forearm to your wrist, that’s the Pericardium channel and if you get right to a point that’s right in the center of your palm, that is actually the palace of anxiety. 

[Raymond Laughs]

Raymond: Because Pericardium eight is at the point and then the channel keeps going all the way to the end of your middle finger. So while I’m here, I’m just going to keep going and we’re going to do the Triple Heater. So the Pericardium ends at the tip of your middle finger. The Triple Heater starts at the tip of your ring finger and then you’re going to go along the outside of your arm. So similar to how the Pericardium was like right down the middle of your arm, you’re going to do that but on the back of your arm. So you’re gonna start with that ring finger, come down your hands through your wrist, and then when you get to the elbow, you come to the back of the elbow, and then similar to right where your shoulder and your torso meet, on that sort of backside, that’s where the Triple Heater is and then it kind of zig zags up your neck and then ends by the ear. Is that the one that goes round the ear? 

Billy: Mhm. 

Raymond: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Billy: Yeah. 

Raymond: So, Triple Heater will come up in some neck and shoulder stuff, similar to small intestine. I know a couple episodes ago we talked about small intestine, with neck and shoulder pain, I also use Triple Heater too, because they kind of run kind of similar, so a lot of times you’ll find stagnation and stuff in the channel with both of those. So I pointed out that Pericardium point that’s kind of in the center of your palm. There’s also a point that is on both channels, so if you imagine, like you take a pencil, and we’re not going to actually stab it through our arm, but if you were …

[Both Laugh]

Raymond: So there’s these two points called the inner gate and the outer gate. So the Pericardium channel on the inside of your arm, if you go just, maybe it’s three fingers down, I think. 

Billy: Mhm. 

Raymond: So those lines that run on the crease of your wrist, if you take your three fingers, your index, middle, and ring finger, and that sort of shows you, usually on most people it’s three or four inches, that’s the distance down that the inner gate point is. And if you were to imagine like a perpendicular, or something was piercing through your arm, like a pencil, and it comes out on the other side, onto a Triple Heater or san jiao channel, is the outer gate. These two points are a good one. I hold onto these points a lot, they’re kind of a good way I use to sort of introduce myself to someone’s sort of energetic body and their body in general. Like sometimes I’ll sort of, as we’re shifting into the session, starting, like they’ve maybe been telling me a little bit about what’s going on and why they came in, and some people they get right on the table and just kinda are quiet, but other people, they’re still maybe, “Oh yeah I forgot about this and this.” They’re still sort of talking. So I might kind of pick up their hand and I’ll either start with that large intestine point we talked about, that’s between the thumb and the forefinger, but then a lot of times I kind of put my thumb on the inner gate that I just described, on the Pericardium and then I put my index on the outer gate. It’s a little bit of like taking an energetic pulse and it’s also a little bit of introducing myself, because the Pericardium is, like we call it, it’s the heart protector. So it’s sort of the gates of the wall of the city. So I know we mentioned small intestine being a connector to the heart, but that’s almost more like the inner sanctum. So the small intestine is sort of how you get an audience with the heart when you’re in the royal chamber or whatever. I feel 

like Lonny Jarrett , I think that’s why I’m going into the kingdom imagery, because he writes a lot about that too. So if you imagine Pericardium is more like the stone wall around the kingdom, so Pericardium is just like who’s getting into the kingdom period versus just who’s coming into the inner chamber of the heart. So the Pericardium has that sort of metaphorical imagery too as far as protecting us and helping figure out like who do we let in, what do we let in, what feels safe and things like that, especially when it comes to intimacy in relationships.

Billy: And from a functional standpoint, you know, we talk about the Pericardium protecting our heart from exogenous pathogens or from pathogens that come from outside the body that may want to just go directly to the heart. So having something there to shield and shut off what might come in, as long as that’s working properly, it should be able to protect our heart according to TCM theory. 

Raymond: Yeah, right. So the Triple Heater then, trying to think about, now that I’m on the Lonny Jarrett analogy, like what was the Triple Heater analogy? Was that where like the, well I won’t try and guess. I’ll just talk about what I think about the Triple Heater. So we’ve been talking about, there’s all these different ways of organizing the body, right? And so we are talking about the meridians, I’ve also mentioned some of the organ pairs, too, like that have different names like tai yang and things like that. So a different way, and we’ve also talked about the five elements, which is another way of sort of looking and mapping the body. There’s also ways that you can sort of look at the different, what they call, the burners of the body, and so it’s about the heat and circulation. So in some ways, I know when we talk about Triple Heater, trying to think about maybe what the analogy is in Western medicine. I’ve heard some people reference it as lymph fluid and the way that the lymph system moves through as being kind of analogous to the Triple Heater. So it’s a way that is less solid than some of the other ones and it’s really more about circulation. So it’s about circulating, so you’re circulating, the energy that needs to be at the top of the body is doing the stuff at the top, and when it needs to move at the bottom, it’s doing that, and then when it gets down to the lower burner. So if you think about the lower, middle, and upper burner are kind of mostly all along the torso. So it’s not so much that the lower burner is your feet, I just want to make a note of that. The lower burner is more about the lower hara, the dan tien, and below the belly button, kind of around where the pubic bone is and then kind of moving up through the middle burner is more the digestion stuff of just below the rib cage, that we talked about, the stomach and things like that. The upper burner is the lungs and that sort of respiratory system that happens. 

Billy: When you were talking about the lymphatic system, that’s for a long time how acupuncturists have kind of tried to relate it to the western kind of model, because the triple burner, Triple Heater, triple warmer, san jiao. 

Raymond: Oh my god, there are like eighteen names for triple burner. 

[Raymond and Billy Laugh]

Billy: And I think that kind of speaks to its functions. It does so many things. It’s mysterious because it doesn’t necessarily have that same kind of structural relationship until, there was a study published in scientific reports, and if you go on nationalgeographic.com and you search, “New human organ was hiding in plain sight.” 

Raymond: Oh right. 

Billy: When this came out, all the acupuncturists had a collective orgasm that was amazing. 

[Raymond Laughs]

Raymond: I remember this. 

Billy: Right? Basically what it is, it’s called the interstitium and before when researchers dissected a body, they would not be able to see it because it’s just collapsed connective tissue, but once they looked at it on a live body, they realized that there was this line goes all over our entire body, surrounding all of our veins, arteries, organs, everything. 

Raymond: Mhm.

Billy: And what it does is it’s a web of collagen and elastin that fills with fluids to create compartments. So basically it is about this kind of water, fluid metabolism in the body. 

Raymond: Yeah, 

Billy: That we talk about with the Triple Heater. So, you know, you can imagine like all of a sudden this thing that we’ve been talking about amorphously, all of a sudden everyone’s like ”Oh my god!” 

Raymond: There it is! 

Billy: There it is. Whoomp! There it is. 

[Both Laugh]

Raymond: Oh my gosh. I can’t believe you just referenced, because just the other day I was reading some article, because I forgot that there were two songs. There was like the I-95 “Whoomp! There It Is”

Billy: Uh huh. 

Raymond: And then there was like whatever boy’s, I can’t remember now, but … 

[Raymond Laughs]

Billy: And it was “Whoot There It Is”

Raymond: Yes and I watched that video and I was like, remember that video? I was like “Oh yeah, I totally remember that song too.”, listened to it on the bus on the way to driver’s ed. So anyway.

[Both Laugh]

Raymond [Singing]: Memories about tag team, novelty rap song. 

[Both Laugh] 

Billy: Oh my god. 

Raymond: We got everything here on this podcast. 

[Raymond Laughs]

Billy: Oh yeah. 

Raymond: Anyway, I was thinking about that same phenomenon comes up. I remember going to a workshop and someone who does a lot of stuff with functional anatomy and functional movement work as they work with clients as a bodyworker, and they really helped me sort of reconceive seeing how the body moves, because that’s what our body is kind of meant to do and that in some ways, biologically speaking, that’s kind of what brains are for and the reason that we have such a big brain in this animal kingdom is because our bodies can move in a lot of different ways and a lot of different directions and has a lot of different capacities and things like that. When we think of bodies, we think about how we look at bodies when we find the body, a lot of that early pathology work came from people doing autopsies, so Billy was talking about, they discovered this organ, because it wasn’t showing up in those autopsies, because it wa sa live tissue that had essentially desiccated by the time it got onto the table and they were cutting up the body. So as a result, though, that sort of has informed in a lot of ways, like the way that we look at the body, and we named each muscle sort of individually, and we think of our muscles as sort of being the main ….


Raymond [From the Future]: Hi everyone, this is Raymond from the future. That story doesn’t have an ending because the audio just cut out. We had some technical difficulties with this episode. So I am going to just finish with a couple highlights of smart things that Billy Janes said, but there’s nothing else that’s going to come from me. 

[Raymond Laughs]

Raymond: So let’s cut to a few highlights of what Billy Janes had to say about Pericardium Triple Heater. 

Billy: I feel like it really gave, you know, the differences between the work that we do, we work with similar kind of theory and structures, but the ways that we work are different. You’re using the application of heat with your hands and applying pressure to these areas and it’s a different approach than the needle that goes through those layers into a channel that is at different depths to help move the energy. 

Billy: Yeah. It’s good. It’s another way, you know, these different models that we have, there’s other models out there and anatomy trains, if this whole thing with these points or whatever doesn’t make a lot of sense, anatomy trains can be another way of looking at it, which is essentially that connective tissues runs in these pathways and when you pull on them through movement, you can activate the whole pathway. They draw these pathways and they overlap almost exactly with what we’re talking about. It’s another visual way of looking at it, from a Western standpoint, if you’re more a Western kind of person. 

Billy: Yeah. So the Pericardium eight in the palm, that’s used a lot for manic, emotionally overwhelming, fiery, kind of experiences and with our’s we just pop a needle in that sucker and try to drain that heat out. But, it works also really well with some pressure. So, you know, doing a bit of, what we would call, acupressure or putting your thumb, with the nail in, forcefully into that area and holding it for, you know, a few seconds, maybe 30 seconds and then releasing and then waiting a little bit, and then going back in. That can really be helpful for navigating that kind of thing. 

Billy: No. I mean, you know, when I use Pericardium, I’m using it mostly for something emotional. Sometimes if people are like “I have a really hard time with boundaries”, then I’ll kind of assess, “Well, what are you talking about? Are you talking about social boundaries? Or you talking about interpersonal boundaries, like who you let in?” And if it’s interpersonal boundaries, I go with PC 6. If it’s boundaries like socially, I go with San Jiao 5, which are the inner and outer gates on the arm. So I work with those and then I use San Jiao because of the channel location, it goes up to the ears, so if someone is having issues with hearing or something like that, I’ll do some of the points that are closer to the hand, because we have this idea in our medicine that if you want to treat something, do it on the opposite side of the channel. So if I’m gonna treat something in the ear, I’m going to use something in the hand to treat the ear. Or like if they have a headache on the left side, or their neck is stiff or something like that, I’ll do something down on the hand for that for like the San Jiao. For me, it’s more like motor function than it is necessarily emotional, but I also have… If someone’s constipated, because we’re dealing with fluid imbalances, I will do a point on the arm, like in the San Jiao meridian as well as something on the foot to help with moistening the intestines and kind of calling the fluids into that area to help move things. Otherwise, I would say I use San Jiao mostly for kind of going in there and opening it up if there’s pain, you know, so more anatomically related to muscular issues. 

Billy: So when we were talking about the cycle, or the movement of the organs, the energy as it moves from the different channels. We talked a lot about kind of the overlay of the heroic journey through those different phases and the last time we were talking about the kidney and the bladder being this kind of dark, mysterious abyss where we have, you know, a lot of our ancestral kind of callings, but also the ability for us to be able to have a metaphorical death and rebirth. The supplemental fire aspect of this is likened to that “Gift of the Goddess”. That after the hero has kind of faced the demons or the dragon that must be slayed, which is actually the dragon within themselves, they then receive some sort of gift from this historically goddess figure, we don’t have to use such gendered language, but just for the purposes of this, I’m just saying the gift of the goddess, because that’s how you’ll be able to find it referenced throughout the internet. But this is this supplemental fire or this magical fiery gift that the hero then takes with themselves back to the community. So this idea that within us, within our hearts, within ourselves, there’s something precious and powerful that we’re able to find that maybe we can allow it to pass from the barrier or the inner gate and go out into the outer gate to benefit our community and so that this internal work and struggles that we are going through, and that kind of self exploration, does have a purpose in trying to assist our communities and so that’s that. 


[Music Begins]

Raymond: I agree with that. Thank you for bearing with us in this episode. If you have any questions, I know this is a little bit of a light skimming over the Pericardium and Triple Heater, feel free to check healingwithraymondandbilly.com, you can find our email addresses, there’s a contact form there as well. We have two more episodes in this season, we’re going to wrap it up and close out 2020 and close out this project. So thanks for sticking with us and we’ll see you in the next episode. 


[Outro Music] 

Transcription by kiatranscripts@gmail.com

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