The Pericardium Channel

The Heart and Pericardium are Two Aspects of One Organ

The basis of this argument is that the way the Heart and Pericardium are discussed in the Nei Jing clearly suggests that their division into two organs was not true in all the schools of acupuncture that the Nei Jing is a summation of. For example in CH. 2 of Ling Shu – when the Heart channel Shu transport points are listed, they are all Pericardium Shu transport points on the Pericardium channel. So clearly for that author, the Heart channel was then what we would call today the Pericardium channel. Nei Jing Ling Shu Chapter 71  – 12,13 also states that the Heart channel Shu transport points are all points which we today would identify as Pericardium Shu. It seems like a strong reiteration of the idea presented in Ling Shu 2. In another listing in the Nei Jing, the Yuan Source point of the Pericardium P. 7 Da Ling 大 陵  is listed as the Yuan Source point for the Heart. This idea is even expressed in Nan Jing 66, where the Heart channel Yuan source point is listed as Da Ling 大 陵, which we would call P. 7. While the modern day Heart channel is referred to as simply the  ‘Shao Yin channel’. From a six phase point of view Pericardium and Heart have to be different channels. Granted much of the Nei Jing is devoted to promulgating a  6 phase, 12 channel system but there are strong suggestions of variant views that would argue for the fundamental unity of the Heart and Pericardium channel.

Nei Jing Ling Shu 41 – 2  – says that the ten Stems move through arms, and the 12 Branches  move through the legs – This lends credence to the idea that there are 10 bilateral arm channels and 12 leg channels. Here we see again the suggestion that the ancient heart channel was the modern pericardium channel. Add to this idea the ubiquity, throughout the Nei Jing, and to this day, in modern acupuncture, of the term Wu Zang Liu Fu 五 臟 六 腑. This is the term Five Zang and Six Fu. CH. 2 of Ling Shu references the 25 Shu -transport points of the Five Zang and the 36 Shu-transport points of the Six Fu. 25 and 36 are reiterations as 5X5 and 6X6. So clearly there is a re-emphasis on five Zang channels. Clearly we frequently see in the Nei Jing a Heart channel / Pericardium channel conceptual fusion. Another piece of evidence that points to this ambiguity is the proliferation of names for the Pericardium.

•Pericardium as Tan Zhong (or Shan Zhong) 膻 中
•Pericardium as Xin Bao 心 包
•Pericardium as Xin Bao Luo  心 包 絡
•Pericardium as Xin Zhu 心 主

It is interesting to examine the Ma Wang Dui medical documents –the Zu Bi and Yin Yang  – Shi Yi Mo Jiu Jing. Bear in mind that these are extant medical documents which are at least contemporaneous historically with the writing of the Nei Jing, or which may predate the Nei Jing.  Both these documents reflect an eleven channel system with five channels on the arms. The pericardium channel is not present but the heart channel seems to overlap the territory of the current Pericsrdium channel.

It is interesting to note that eight of the nine Pericardium channel points were first described in the Nei Jing, perhaps suggesting their greater antiquity, whereas only three of the nine Heart channel points are referenced in the Nei Jing.  It is interesting to me that both the Heart and Pericardium channels have nine points, as if they are replications of each other. To me the modern Heart channel points feel like a later interloper, created with 9 points to match the now- pericardium channel, but the points are placed seemingly abstractly. Where we can see the palpatory utility of the pericardium channel points, the ½ cun distinctions of location from Ht4 to Heart 7 seem more like abstractions rather than like the generally physically strong reflexes of the majority of points on the channels. It is also interesting to speculate on the origin of the idea that you should not needle the heart channel. Clearly this idea was prevalent in a number of Chinese traditions. The Nei Jing clearly points to the idea that the Heart channel has no Transport points. Literally though, this passage just says that the channel has no ‘Shu’ 俞 This means maybe that the channel has no transport points, or more generically, that the channel has no acupuncture points! Or more abstractly, that the channel has no transporting of subtle substances (this is the original meaning of Shu).

I would say ‘heart within the  heart’ of Guan Zi  = abode of absolute external heart is the heart wrapping 心包  =  pericardium of Nei Jing
– hence Su Wen 9 – 38 says:

“The heart . . . is the Great Yang in the middle of yang”   為陽中之太陽
Su Wen 5 – 173:

the Qi of Thunder communicates with the Heart    雷氣通於心

and Nei Jing Ling Shu 71 – 12 says
“The Heart is the great master of the five Zang and Six Fu, the abode of the Jing and Shen, strong and immovable, evil cannot appear  here”
心者,五藏六府之大主也,精神之所舍也,其藏堅固,邪弗能容也。

Ling Shu 2 says that the Heart expresses itself through the 5 Shu points of the Pericardium channel

The Heart channel has no Yuan Source point. The Yuan Source point of the Pericardium P. 7 Da Ling 大 陵is listed as the Yuan Source point for the Heart

  • – Ma Wang Dui documents –the Zu Bi and Yin Yang  – Shi Yi Mo Jiu Jing both are absent a pericardium channel
  • – Nei Jing Ling Shu 41 – 2  – 10 Stems move through arms, 12 branches through legs – therefore 10 arm channels and 12 leg channels. There is no Jue Yin channel of the arm.
  • – The persistence of the ‘Wu Zang Liu Fu’   五 臟 六  腑 term
  • – CH. 2 of Ling Shu references:
    • —– The 25 transport points of the Five Zang
    • —– The 36 transport points of the Six fu
  • – Historically the Heart channel was not needled in some traditions
  • – Nine point symmetry with Heart channel
  • – 8 of 9 Pericardium channel points derived from Nei Jing whereas 6 of the Heart channel points are derived from later texts (except for Heart 3, 5 and 7)
  • – Pericardium as Tan Zhong (or Shan Zhong) 膻 中
    • —– Meaning of Tan as Honest, trustworthy
    • —– Center of ‘four sea’ three Dan-Tian system
    • —– Meaning of Mian    Hui and  Dan     radicals
    • —– Relationship to Tian Tan 天 壇templeimagery
    • —– The virtue of Propriety  Li and Sacred Connection Ming Li   明禮performance of Rites
  • – Pericardium as Xin Bao 心 包
    • —– Etymology of Baoascontaining Wrapping the child
    • —– C.V. 17 as variant name Yuan Er 原 兒 the original child
    • —– Protecting
    • —– Expanding
    • —– Containing
  • – Pericardium as Xin Bao Luo  心 包 絡
    • —– Pericardium as the Luo of the Heart
    • —– Shi 使 envoy function of the Chen Shi 臣 使
    • —– Relationship to vessels 眿
    • —– The Bao Luo  包 絡 – uterus to kidney
    • —– The Bao Mai  包 眿 – uterus to heart / pericardium
  • – Pericardium as Xin Zhu 心 主
    • —– The Chen臣function
    • —– The Shi 使 function
  • – Pericardium as Jue Yin 厥 陰
    • —– Meaning of Jue
    • —– Emphasis of identification of Pericardium with Jue Yin evidenced in the name of U.B. 14 as Jue Yin Shu
    • —– Phase of Jue Yin according to John Pirog
      • —– —– Centripetal movement toward Shao Yin
      • —– —– Centrifugal movement out to Tai Yin and the Yang phases
    • —– Jue Yin as He – closing – community, family meal
    • —– Jue Yin as the reservoir of blood that surrounds the Heart and supports movement around the pivot of the Shao Yin (Wang Ju-Yi)
  • – Pericardium as a circling structure
    • —– Hui 回radical
    • —– Ancient form of Hui 回as wrappingaround a spiral
    • —– Bao 包character
    • —– Wheel of Life, wheel of destiny, wheel of fortune, the wheel of birth death and rebirth
    • the Pericardium and the twelve spokes of the Heart chakra
      • —– —– 12 Vrittis
      • —– —– 12 year cycle of Jupiter related to 12 branches
      • —– —– Jupiter corresponding to Wood
  • – Pericardium as mediator of evolutionary impulses
    • —– The cycle of the Hun   and Po 
    • —– The circle of the Zong Qi宗 氣
    • —– The pericardium as an organ of the passions
      • —– —– involvement in the world,
      • —– —– desire and aversion
      • —– —– attachment
      • —– —– moral and immoral impulses
    • —– The Jue Yin personality
      • —– —– Inward and outward impulses
        • —– —– —– warmth and relational impulse
        • —– —– —– aversion to contact
      • —– —– Seduction, love and sex
      • —– —– drama, intrigue, gossiping
  • – Pericardium and the emotions
    • —– Eighth chapter of Su Wen – expressing Xi   – joy as in singing and drumming.
    • —– Le    – drums and bells tuned to the five tones, on a wooden stand, music, ecstasy –  Spiritual awe
      • —– —– Book of Rites – Heart issues the five tones
    • —– The gradient of Pericardium to Heart is the final product of uniquely human emotion of natural remorse
      • —– —– Unicellular – bliss
      • —– —– Insectoid – irritation
      • —– —– Reptilian – fear and territorial anger
      • —– —– Mammalian  – sadness, longing
      • —– —– Human – natural remorse

As Meher Baba says, “Humanness starts at the Heart”. The implication is that the processes of the lower chakras below the heart represent earlier evolutionary states.

  • – Pericardium and the redemptive emotions
    • —– humility – Chen 臣
    • —– Trustworthiness  – Shi  使
    • —– Propriety  – Tan Zhong, Le
    • —– Joy – Xi Le
    • —– Community – Xi Le, He
    • —– Harmony  – Xi Le
    • —– Gratitude  – Xi Le
    • —– Natural remorse  – Jue
  • – Pericardium as the afflictive emotions
    • —– Guilt
    • —– addiction
    • —– manipulative
    • —– victim complex
    • —– overly dramatic
    • —– Vulnerability and lack of boundaries
    • —– letting people in versus putting up walls
    • —– a sensitive / protective nature
    • —– More ghost points and ghost names than any other channel – P. 5, P. 7, P. 8
  • – Pericardium as extroverted
    • —– Maximal External Reach of Liver and Pericardium channels (P. 9 to tip of fingers and GV. 20 to top of head)
    • —– Centrifugal movement of Jue Yin out to the blood vessels and to the extremities (read Wang Ju Yi and John Pirog for this description)
    • —– Pervading and spreading mist of upper jiao
      • —– —– Fills the body,
      • —– —– moistens the skin
    • —– The Heart Spreading of the five flavors through the body Wu Wei 五 味– a very early description. Idea of Wu Wei as 5 elements in Earth
    • —– Relational
    • —– Movement of the  Shi – Envoy 使
    • —– The pulse transmitted
    • —– T cell antibody activation – thymus gland
  • – Relationship of the Pericardium to Blood
    • —– Inward Blood connection
      • —– —– Connection of blood inward (Jue Yin closing 闔function Ling Shu 5) around the Shao Yin pivot 樞
      • —– —– Jue Yin as more substantial and connected to Blood than the Shao Yin
      • —– —– Pericardium as the reservoir of blood that surrounds the Heart and supports movement around the pivot of the Shao Yin (Wang Ju-Yi) Protecting Heart blood from pathogenic heat
      • —– —– Connection to uterus blood and menstrual blood – the xin Bao, Bao
    • —– Outward blood connection
      • —– —– Blood connection as a spreading out and transmitting of influences through the circulatory system
      • —– —– Relationship of pericardium channel to cardiovascular health
        • —– —– —– Blood stagnation shown at P. 4, 5
        • —– —– —– Blood heat shown at P. 8
      • —– —– Pericardium as the generator of the small  vessels of blood – seen in relation to the Liver’s function of dredging the channels
  • – Connection of the Pericardium to the Yin Wei channel
    • —– P. 6
    • —– Movement down and in of Yin Wei  (see my notes on Yin Wei energetics)
    • —– Crossing of the three Yin channels by the Yin Wei channel + nature of the Wei as wrapping / connecting
    • —– Horizontal movement predilection of the Wei Channels – relationship of Wei 維 to Luo 絡
    • —– Detoxification – association of Pericardium with clearing of a ‘toxic’ heat from the blood.
    • —– Downward sinking of heat, Qi and blood
  • – The Pericardium / thymus inter-relationship
    • —– Bone marrow – thymus connection – T cells derived from Bone Marrow (Kidney) activated by thymus (hence the T)
    • —– T cell activation and circulating function
    • —– T cell apoptosis in the thymus and the discrimination of Self / not-Self
    • —– Connection to hyper and hypo immunity
  • – Pericardium as an organ of Fire
    • —– Catching the overflow of the Imperial Fire according to TCM theory
      • —– —– Function of Chen 臣
    • —– Mediating and Disseminating the Imperial Fire –
      • —– —– function of Shi 使
    • —– Pericardium as Xin Zhu 心 主– Xin Zhu as ministerial Fire 相 火
    • —– Relationship of Ministerial fire to Yuan source Qi and the Ming Men Fire – see Nan Jing 66
    • —– Pericardium as the final ascension point of the Ministerial Fire (Xiang Huo) after it has moved from Right kidney – ming men to Liver and Gall Bladder to Pericardium. This is a pathway of Shao Yang heat transmission sometimes called 相火妄动 ‘xiang huo wang dong’ ministerial fire frenetically moving
    • —– Pericardium as mediator and protector of the Heart in instances of rapid invasion of pathogenic Heat
      • —– —– Heat at the Ying Qi level
      • —– —– Heat entering the Pericardium
  • – The Pericardium as an organ of Wood
    • —– U.B. 14 as 厥陰俞’Jue Yin Shu’ not Pericardium Shu
    • —– Uterus connection
    • —– Commonality of Blood management
    • —– Channel architecture if Pericardium is Wood – Wood as the middle (and wrapping) channel in both arm and leg (Su Wen 12 (64?) comment on Wood (Spring) ruling the Jing Mai 經 眿 )
    • —– Green Tara as Goddess of the Chest
    • —– Hildegaard Von Bingen’s  ‘Greening Power of Christ’
    • —– Green emanation of the Heart chakra
    • —– Meaning of Fei    Lung  – the green canopy
    • —– Hua Gai 華蓋’flowery or flourishing bower’ as a common reference to the chest
    • —– C.V. 18 Yu Tang 玉 堂a ‘Jade Hall’ as terminus of Liver channel (Nei Jing Ling Shu 本 結)
    • —– CV. 17 (as ‘Ru Zhong’ 乳中in the Nei Jing Ling Shu) as crossing point of the Liver and Gall Bladder channels
  • -Pericardium in relation to the kidney
    • —– Immune system immature T cells derived from bone marrow
    • —– Kidney channel feeds into pericardium channel in 12 hour clock cycle
    • —– Course of the external kidney channel to Pericardium region
    • —– Anatomy and physiology of the western medical pericardium as a bilaminar sac containing fluid
    • —– Water connotations of the first three pericardium points –
    • —– Regulation of phlegm stagnation P.3, P.5, P.6
    • —– Upper Jiao of triple burner system – mist (Ling Shu 30)
    • —– UB. 16 Du Shu and ‘Shen Xue’ extra point –the kidney water coming to the Heart
    • —– Bao Luo 包 絡   – the Uterus to kidney connection
    • —– Xin Bao Luo 心包絡connection
    • —– Pericardium inner channel connecting to the ears
  • – Pericardium and the structures of wood
    • —– Uterus
      • —– —– Hui 回 (from Tan Zhong 膻 中)-  ancient variant form containing Si 巳 the embryo radical contained in Bao 包
      • —– —– Bao包 – containing Si巳
      • —– —– Bao Mai  包 眿- Uterus-Heart connection “It is attached to the heart and forms a network inside the uterus”  – Su Wen
      • —– —– Bao Luo 包 絡   – Uterus to kidney connection
      • —– —– Xin Bao Luo connection
    • —– Liver – Pericardium interconnection
      • —– —– U.B. 14  – Jue Yin Shu
      • —– —– U.B reaction zone for liver
        • —– —– Ub. 14, 17, 18, 19
    • —– Diaphragm and solar plexus
      • —– —– Classic variant location of Pericardium as below the Heart and above the diaphragm
      • —– —– Function of P. 6 in clearing the Yellow court (the Solar plexus)
    • —– Chest as structure of Wood
      • —– —– Gall Bladder and Liver channel inner and outer structures related to the form of the Wood Qi
      • —– —– Liver channel terminating at U.B. 18 Yu Zhen (Ling Shu  Ch. 8 Ben Jie – Yu Ying 玉 英)
      • —– —– GB. Channel passing through CV. 17 (Ru Zhong 乳 中)
      • —– —– Expansion of chest and ribs connected to Shao Yang – as the outer movement of Pericardium
    • —– Pericardium and the throat (as an organ of Wood)
      • —– —– Zong Qi rising to sternal notch
      • —– —– Yin Wei clearing from throat and CV. 22 and 23
      • —– —– Function of P.5 and P. 6 in clearing the throat  – P. 5 = ‘Heimlich’ point
    • —– Pericardium and the brain
      • —– —– Kidney – marrow connection
      • —– —– Brain as organ of wood
      • —– —– Pericardium inner channel connecting to the ears
      • —– —– Heart as expressing in the portal of the ears
      • —– —– Liver channel reaching to top of head
        • —– —– Connection to ancestors
        • —– —– Si Shen Cong and the five elements
  • —– Pericardium relationship to Anatomical Spleen 
    • —– —– Sp. 21 Da Bao Great Luo
    • —– —– Anatomical spleen feeding refined Shen energy to Pericardium
    • —– —– Triple burner relationship to Spleen energy
      • —– —– —– Clock cycle
      • —– —– —– Water metabolism
  • —– Pericardium and Stomach relationship
    • —– —– Regulation via the 12 hour cycle
    • —– —– Regulation of gluttony via propriety
    • —– —– Regulation of stomach fire blazing upward resulting in addictions, craving, mania etc.
    • —– —– In the Kai-Shu-He phase classification Both are He  closing, concentrating channels. Literally (from the character) a blood offering and a meal for those drawn within
  • —– Pericardium and the ancestors
    • —– —– Zong Qi
    • —– —– Yellow Emperor
    • —– —– Pericardium in relation to the Po instinctive intelligences
    • —– —– Pericardium in relation to the Hun integrative intelligences
  • —– Pericardium in relation to Heart and Lung channels
    • —– —– Middle is wood – the Luo is wood medial to lateral ordering of the leg and arm channels
    • —– —– Pericardium as connecting to Heart internally and lungs externally
  • —– Pericardium as upper burner 
    • —– —– Pervading mist
    • —– —– Upper light
    • —– —– Heart, triple burner and Pericardium all lack the Rou radical
  • —– Pericardium as between Liv 14 and Lu 1
    • —– —– Realm of Heaven (P.1 天池, P.2 天 泉) therefore outside of time
    • —– —– Completion / beginning of 365 point / day cycle
    • —– —– Completion / beginning of 12 hour cycle
  • —– Pericardium and Triple Burner relationship
    • —– —– Blood versus Qi
    • —– —– Light versus warmth
    • —– —– Movement of fluids (first three points referring to water)
    • —– —– Inward and outward protection
  • —– Time: 7 PM to 9 PM.
      • —– —– Social connection – music, harmony
  • —– The Pericardium as a constitutional type
    • —– —– Green – red coloration to face
    • —– —– Strong nose and wide bridge of nose
    •  
  • —– Animal:  snake
  • —– Branch: Chou   a bound hand, slavery,  – a clown, an actor
  • —– Ninth Station of the Cross: Jesus falls the third time Falls to level of the Qi
  • —– Tree of Life  – first branch on the left
    • —– —– The Humility of his mode of life. On the second branch, the humble mode of life which he condescended to adopt. His Gratitude.
  • —– The Points
    • —– —– P. 1 Tian ChiThe heavenly pool
    • —– —– P.2  Tian QuanA Heavenly Spring
    • —– —– P. 3 Qu ZeThe Shen creatures live here in this moist wetland
    • —– —– P. 4 Xi Menthey pour inwards to the Qi realm and the body
    • —– —– P. 5 Jian Shi mid point. Heroic intervention Heart center
    • —– —– P.6 Nei Guanjourney to the earth
    • —– —– P. 7 Da Linga gathering of earth spirits
    • —– —– P. 8 Lao Gongthe funeral pyre of the earth spirits
    • —– —– P. 9 Zhong ChongTheir streaming out of the earth realm Zhong Chong is the ministerial fire

Pericardium Channel Clearing Questions and themes

  • —– Sex
  • —– Romantic longing
  • —– Self control
  • —– Surrender to others
  • —– struggle in relationship
  • —– craving
  • —– Longing
  • —– aversion
  • —– Impatience
  • —– What do you seem to always want and never get?
  • —– Ancestral desires and aversions
  • —– instructions from Heaven – the ‘Mandate of Heaven’

Treatment Strategies for Pericardium Channel

Massage / Needle all blocks in Pericardium channel from P.3 to P. 7

Bleed or needle P.9 Ghost release Red Thyme

Needle / acupressure at P. 1

Determine element involved – needle the element phase of the arm

Fire  –  P.8 and C.V. 20 and 21 Rose

Water    the palm center,  P.3, C.V.19 & C.V. 24       Sandalwood

Wood  – P.9 and P.4 C.V. 18 & C.V. 23       Frankincense

Earth  –  P. 7 and P.7¼   and P.3⅓ and C.V.16 and St. 9sage

Metal  –  P.7 to P. 5  C.V. 15-14 & C.V. 21 & 22Myrrh

Rose at C.V. 20& 21    & 17treats Fire

Sandalwood at C.V.19 & 17 & C.V. 24treats Water

Frankincense at  C.V. 18 & 17  & C.V. 23treats Wood

Sage at C.V. 16& 17treats Earth

Myrrh at C.V. 15-14 & 17 & C.V. 21 & 22treats Metal

Red Thyme at C.V. 15 & 14 for de-possession