Triple burner: Fire-energy yang organ

This organ-energy system, which is not recognized in Western physiology, is called the 'Minister of Dykes and Dredges' and is responsible for the movement and transformation of various solids and fluids throughout the system, as well as for the production and circulation of nourishing energy (ying chee) and protective energy (wei chee).  It is not a single self-contained organ, but rather a functional energy system involved in regulating the activities of other organs.  It is composed of three parts, known as 'burners', each associated with one of the body's three main cavities: thorax, abdomen, and pelvis.  An ancient Chinese medical text states: 'The Upper Burner controls intake, the Middle Burner controls transformation, the Lower Burner controls elimination.'

The Upper Burner runs from the base of the tongue to the entrance to the stomach and controls the intake of air, food, and fluids.  It harmonizes the functions of heart and lungs, governs respiration, and regulates the distribution of protective energy to the body's external surfaces.

The Middle Burner runs from the entrance to the stomach down to its exit at the pyloric valve and controls digestion by harmonizing the functions of stomach, spleen, and pancreas.  It is responsible for extracting nourishing energy from food and fluids and distributing it via the meridian system to the lungs and other parts of the body.

The Lower Burner runs from the pyloric valve down to the anus and urinary tract and is responsible for separating the pure from the impure products of digestion, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating solid and liquid wastes.  It harmonizes the functions of liver, kidney, bladder, and large and small intestines and also regulates sexual and reproductive functions.

Some medical researchers believe that the Triple Burner is associated with the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which regulates appetite, digestion, fluid balance, body temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure, and other basic autonomous functions.


Paired Organ Pericardium
Color orange red
Peak Hours 9pm-11pm
Physical Branches blood, tongue, throat, sweat, facial complexion
Functions regulates transformation and transportation of bodily fluids, and...

Note: Chinese; 'Sanjiao' Meridian: 'San' means three, 'Jiao' means 'burn'.  It's originally referred to as the 'Triple Burner', but 'Triple Warmer' and 'Triple Heater' are also commonly used.

Triple Burner: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Triple Burners are considered the Ambassadors or "intermediaries" for the body's Yuan (Original) Qi.  On a psychological level, they can be used to move Qi and lift depression derived from stagnation of Liver Qi.  When the Triple Burners, which regulate the consciousness, are full, the consciousness becomes stable and the Mind's intent is benevolent and kindhearted.  The Triple Burners are also linked with the Heart and Pericardium and are affected by the emotion of joy.  When the energy of the heart is strong and pure (without guilt), and the desires and thoughts of an individual are at peace, then the energy of the boy's sexual essence (Jing) will spread into the Triple Burners, and the Blood will flourish within the individual's vessels.  If the "fire of desire" is allowed to Heat and combine with the energy of the Triple Burners, the energy of the individual's sexual essence will overflow, mixing itself with the energy of the Mingmen and will leave the body via the reproductive organs and tissues.  This leads to Jing and Qi depletion.

The Triple Burner Channel Pathway, Acupuncture Points, and Internal Trajectories

Beginning on the fourth (ring) finger, by the outside corner of the nail, the triple burner channel passes between the knuckles of the fourth and fifth fingers to the wrist.  From here it ascends between the two bones of the forearm (radius and ulna), through the tip of the elbow, and up the back of the arm to the shoulder.  Behind the top of the shoulder it joins the small intestine and the governing vessel channels.  Then it rises over the shoulder to the collarbone region, descends internally to the pericardium in the upper burner, and then to the abdomen and the middle and lower burners.  Re-emerging from the chest at the collarbone, the channel ascends the side of the neck and around the back of the ear.  One branch rises internally to meet the gallbladder channel on the forehead, then descends to join the small intestine channel on the cheek.  The superficial branch continues to the front of the ear and crosses to the outer corner of the eyebrow, where it joins the gallbladder channel again.

Internal Trajectories of the Triple Warmer Meridian

Having passed up the lateral aspect of the arm from the ring finger, the triple warmer meridian passes to ST-12:

[It] comes in at ST-12, then passes down to CV-17, disperses [into the chest], and drops down into the pericardium.  It then passes down through the diaphragm, circles down through and permeates the triple warmers.  A branch starting at CV-17 passes back up to ST-12.

When the meridian "disperses" into the chest it is like a pervasive spray.  The stream widens and becomes less dense, the picture is one of rain covering and moistening rather than a river passing through.  Notice also that it does not spirally wrap the pericardium.  Rather, it "drops down" as if it filtered through after dispersing from CV-17 into the chest.

    This idea helps us see the relationship of the triple warmer to the breathing process.  Perhaps this relationship to breath and the movement of breath downward to below the umbilicus is related to the action of "dispersion into the chest."  Air is drawn into the lungs upon inhalation; once inside the lungs (inside the chest), it then mingles with the triple warmer pathway which is dispersing into the chest.  Then, it filters down to the the pericardium.  From there it may circle downward through the triple warmers.  This downward movement through the triple warmers may well be the means by which the qi of breathing arrives below the umbilicus where it is an important ingredient in the formation of the source qi and the nourishment of the source.

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