Spirits of the Points: Three Heater (San Jiao)

By Neil Gumenick, MAc (UK), LAc, Dipl. Ac

As I write this article, I am especially moved by the situation we have been in due to the COVID 19 pandemic. While things hopefully have changed (at least to some extent) by the time you read this, right now the streets are nearly empty, restaurants, bars, and public gatherings closed, social distancing, isolation, people in masks, etc. The fire element is being severely challenged in all of us, and may be for some time.

The Need for Relationship

The qualities of love, warmth, connection and friendship are associated with the fire element. Human interaction is a basic need and for months, it has largely come to an abrupt and unexpected halt for many. The Three Heater Official is responsible for adapting to change, maintaining and regulating the warmth of the body, mind and spirit.

The Diagnostics

As stated in prior articles, in Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, patients whose primary imbalance is in the fire element will manifest a scorched or burnt odor, the color red or ashen gray (lack of red) lateral to the eyes, the sound of excess or lack of laughing, and the emotion of excess or lack of joy. (I wrote a detailed article on the Three Heater Official in the July 2015 issue of AT.)

The Points

ying yang - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The following may be particularly useful at this unique point in time for those needing support for their fire element and the Three Heater in particular.

Three Heater 4 (Yang Pond): As the source point of the meridian, it is the safest point to use, as source points cannot be over-tonified or over-sedated. They have a built-in safety mechanism that switches off when the correct balance is achieved, providing from a deep level – the source - the correct amount of available energy needed for the body, mind and spirit.

Source points are often the first points used on new patients, as they give an idea of how the patient's energy will respond – how much they have and how much they need. This is largely determined by the pulse change.

Some will respond readily to source points alone. Others may need more powerful points to get the necessary change. Sources are very grounding and reinforcing, and are often used to conclude and anchor a treatment requiring other stronger points first.

The Chinese character for "yang" refers to the sunny side of a hill – warm and bright. A pond is a body of still water – calm, restorative, cleansing, refreshing. From its depths, this point brings the correct amount of warmth, love, connection and joy to every Official and every level – harmonizing, adjusting and balancing. In these times of danger and isolation, more love and compassion may be needed from this precious reserve.

Three Heater 6 (Branch Ditch): This is the fire and horary point of the meridian. As the fire point of a fire meridian, it keeps the warmth sustained. A ditch is a narrow channel – in this case a conduit – with many branches, enabling the warmth to reach its many destinations within us, and the world around us. These channels must be open; cleared of accumulated dead ashes and other debris.

This point clears out and unblocks the channels. In human terms, these obstructions could be based upon excessive fear (isolationism) or, in the opposite extreme, recklessness blocking appropriate caution and safe distancing.

Three Heater 12 (Relax and Joy): This point, especially in times of danger and uncertainty, helps a sad and uptight person relax into joy, pause, and appreciate the beauty within and without. Although there is truly danger on a planetary scale as of this writing, it is still a beautiful planet, which is our home.

Here in Los Angeles, the skies have been bluer, the air cleaner, the ocean more beautiful, the plants greener, and the birds singing more sweetly than I recall in almost 40 years of living here.

Three Heater 16 (Heavenly Window): This is the Window of the Sky point of the meridian. Like all windows, it is not often used early in treatment, but when patients, though improving, are still "imprisoned" in some area(s) of their lives.

With the word Heavenly in its name, this point addresses the spirit directly. It opens a vision and view from the very core of a patient, beyond the hindrances and limiting beliefs of the mind. For those problems that seemed insurmountable, the point opens a way out – a resolution; an escape from an internal prison. It could be used for the patient who is unable to find a way to connect, to love again, to find joy, or to make the necessary adjustments to solve what seemed unsolvable. 

Author's Note: English translations of point names are those taught by Professor J.R. Worsley and published in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, Volume 1: Meridians and Points by J.R. Worsley; published by Element Books, 1982.

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