Day 34: Fire Element; Heart and Small Intestine

Mary EK Denison
6 min readMar 2, 2020
Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Fire is a principle of life. It is the sun, an element we cannot live without. It creates warmth, nourishes all of earth, is brilliant and lively, energizes all with its’ vitality and rises up. Its emotion is Joy. Too much Fire makes us feel parched, dry, and when lodged in our body can show as painful joints, fever, mania. Too little Fire and there can be a lack of spiritual and emotional warmth, poor circulation, coldness sexually, the extremities can feel cold, and there is lack of Joy, or depression. The Spirit of Heart is Shen, the light that shines through our eyes. How bright or dull the look in your eyes will show you the state of the Heart.

Its season is Summer and things are flourishing and growing when all is well. Same with humans because the Heart rules the Mind, and thoughts are good. When things in this element are not doing so well, the person may have trouble finishing what was started, losing feelings, and may feel a heaviness in the chest.

The heart is the first thing formed when life is being created. Its beats may start around five weeks, but may not be detected. (I saw on an ultrasound my son’s beat as a “yolk sac”, some may refer to it as a flutter.) But, whatever it is called, all is there for this heart to be formed and the essence of it is already there (I believe the Soul lives there), and it is formed before the brain. The heartbeat is self-initiated from WITHIN the heart — it has its’ own intelligence; therefore, it does not need the brain to keep beating. According to HeartMath Solution, the heart not only sends messages to the brain which the brain understands but obeys. What’s in your heart will rule your thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

The Yin Heart Meridian has three branches and each one begins in the heart. One branch runs through the diaphragm which connects to the Small Intestine, the second one runs along the side of the throat and meets the eye (hmmm, which other organ goes to the eye?), and the third branch runs to the Lung ,and then emerges in the underarm, where the first detectable point is, H1. It then runs down the midline of the inside of the arm through the wrist and ends at H9 at the inside tip of the little finger. Here it connects to the Small Intestine Meridian, its Yang partner.

Pathologies in the Heart organ will manifest as palpitations, heart pain and rib pain, thirst, insomnia, dry throat, and night sweats. On the pathway it can manifest as pain in the medial aspect of the upper arm and a heat sensation in the palms.

The Small Intestine Meridian begins on the outside of the tip of the little finger, SI1 and runs along the outside of the hand and passes upward along the posterior aspect of the arm and circles behind the shoulder with a bit of a zigzag in the scapula. Here it meets with the Du/Governing Meridian. The Meridian divides into two branches, where one enters internally connecting with Heart, diaphragm, and stomach. The second one runs along the side of the neck to the cheek and outer corner of the eye and then enters the ear, SI19.

The Heart rules the thoughts, the Small Intestine sorts things out. It does that in your body by sorting through the foods you eat, sorting the good from the bad, sending the good into your body and passing the bad to the Large Intestine to eliminate it from your body — letting go. NOTE — if you’ll notice, the Yang Meridians are the larger with more points, and the Yin Meridians have less points on them.

The Pathologies of the SI Organ can show as frequent urination (it connects to the Bladder Meridian) distention and pain in the lower abdomen, sore throat, swollen cheek, deafness (as can Kidney), yellow sclera in the eyes. Along the pathway there can be pain along the posterior border of the lateral aspect of the shoulder and arm. I must say that when I’m giving a massage, many people have triggered points in their scapula muscles… trying to sort through life.

There are two other meridians associated with the Fire element, they are called the Pericardium (Circulation Sex) and the Triple Burner/Heater/Warmer, and it has been referred to the San Jiao, also. The Heart is considered sacred — the “Sovereign Ruler” or “Emperor” and rarely does anyone go straight to the King, but instead goes through his official ambassador. The Pericardium technically does not have its own organ but is the lining of the muscle surrounding the heart. The Pericardium takes on the role as protector so that the Heart can be buffered from the hard blows that the Pericardium takes on. It is in charge of blood flow and sexual secretions. Therefore, it is associated with the Heart in terms of love relationships and the pulse of life.

The Yin Pericardium Meridian has its own channel pathway and points, starting in the chest in its pertaining organ and descends through the diaphragm to connect with the Upper, Middle, and Lower portions of the Triple Burner. A second branch crosses the chest to the surface of the ribs where the first point P1 is in the 4th intercostal rib space, 1 cun (inch) lateral to the nipple. It continues down the medial aspect of the arm through the palm and ends at the tip of the middle finger, P9. Remember when that point used to get pricked at the doctor’s office when they just needed a small amount of blood in that very thin tube? Remember how it hurt?

Pathologies in the organ can manifest as palpitations, heart pain, mental restlessness and disturbances, and a flushed face. Along the pathway can show a stifling feeling in the chest, swelling in the axilla (under arm), spasms in the upper limbs and heat in the palms. P6 is a point about two inches above the inside of the wrist crease and is used often to calm down anxiety and open up the chest so that feelings of tightness there can get relief. If you make a fist, P8 is below where your middle finger rests, and that is called the Crucifixion point and clears Heart fire and quiets the spirit.

The Triple Burner, the sixth Yang Organ, begins at the outside tip of the ring finger, TB1 and moves over the back of the hand and runs upward passing through the outer elbow, along the lateral aspect of the arm and reaches to the posterior region of the shoulder, enters the chest underneath the breastbone. An internal branch passes through the Pericardium, penetrates the diaphragm and connects the three burners. An external branch ascends towards the shoulder and runs up the neck, internally, to reach the posterior area of the ear, penetrates the ear and comes out in front of it and goes to the outer end of the eyebrow, TB23, where it connects to the Gall Bladder Meridian. An interior branch circles the face.

Though there is no physical organ and it is called the Invisible Organ, it very much has a great role in regulating the waterways and has a functional relationship with mainly the Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys. It can include the Intestines and Bladder because all of these organs have something to do with water. It is describes in the Nei Jing as this: The Upper Burner is a Mist, or vaporized water, — like when you blow your breath on a mirror — the Lungs. The Middle Burner is a Foam, or the digestive churnings of your Stomach and Spleen and the Lower Burner is considered the Swamp excreting the impure substances, from the Kidneys, Small and Large Intestines, and Bladder. It can also be explained that the Upper Burner is your head and chest, the Middle Burner is below your chest but above the navel, and the Lower Burner is below your navel.

Pathologies in the organ level can be edema, enuresis, abdominal distention, tinnitus, congested and sore throat. In the pathway it can show as swelling in the cheek, pain behind the ear, pain in the shoulder and lateral aspect of the arm and elbow.



Mary EK Denison

My vocation is in alternative health therapies; cosmetic acupuncture, oriental medicine, esthetics… Subscribe for a monthly newsletter