The classical acupuncturists of times past also stated that the joy, warmth & love of the heart was issued via the ‘envoy’, being the pericardium (heart protector). This is clearly shown in the Chinese characters the classical acupuncturists used to depict both the concept of the ‘heart’ & the ‘heart protector’. The Heart is drawn as the character ‘Xin’ which basically depicts an empty space with fire around it. The classical acupuncturists and Daoist’s would practice dao yin movements and meditation to keep the heart ‘empty’ & Yi/intellect to a minimum. In doing so they ensured that the fire element of the heart could flow unhindered or unrepressed & thus permeate joy, warmth, love & heavenly wisdom via the Xin Bao or Dan Zhong (also Ren 17 pericardium mu point) ‘The heart protector’.
Interestingly enough the character ‘Dan’ shows the concept of a storehouse with the sun in the middle and also has the radical for ‘flesh’ thus implying the body. So, here we have the heart protector depicted as a ‘storehouse’ within the body that houses & holds the ‘true fire in the heavens’, the sun. These characters encapsulate so many aspects that pertain to the ‘heart’ & ‘heart protector’ concept in acupuncture & Chinese medicine philosophy that it constantly keeps me in awe.
Running with the above statement & to highlight what I mean, concepts that the characters used in both the ‘heart’ & ‘heart protector’ can relate to, include emperor, heavens, guard, messenger, fire, wisdom, joy, happiness, laughter, love, warmth, clarity, mediation, protection, repression, sun, sage, envoy & much more… It goes without saying that these broad concepts can be related to health and disease & thus can also be used in both diagnosis & acupuncture treatment.
If we observe the Chinese characters used to depict the acupuncture points found on the heart protector meridian, we find that they are coherent with the essence of ‘Xin’ & ‘Dan’. For example, the character ‘Tian’ depicts a man standing upright with a line drawn above him representing the heavens, this is present in first two acupuncture points. ‘Tian’ represents the supreme or the heavens.
Within the characters of the fourth, fifth & sixth acupuncture points of the ‘heart protector meridian’ we find ‘Men’, ‘Shi’ & ‘Guan’ which all depict the two halves of a door or gate. ‘Men’ is this in its simplest form, with ‘Shi’ depicted as the two halves of a door (Men) with the ‘moon’ shining between. ‘Guan’ again shows the two halves of a door (Men) and the concept of weaving or joining/uniting.
Observing the seventh acupuncture point on the ‘heart protector’ meridian we find the character ‘Ling’, which essentially relates to a tomb of sorts or the imperial tomb. ‘Ling’ in this form is not to be confused with ‘Ling’ as in 'Ling Dao' the fourth acupuncture point on the heart meridian which is depicted as the heavenly rains falling into the mouths of three shaman women.
Thus we can see from the characters used to depict the acupuncture points on the ‘heart protector meridian’ relate very strongly to the concepts associated with the ‘Xin’ & ‘Dan Zhong’.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Giancarlo Nerini - Acupuncturist (Melbourne & Safety Beach)