Pericardium: The Heart Guardian

Pericardium Function & TCM Guide

The Pericardium is the only Zang organ that has no separate physiological functions. This is why it’s sometimes not included.

However, it has a very close relation with the Heart (it is in fact a “bag” surrounding the Heart in which TCM believes it’s there for good reasons). And one of its main functions is to protect the Heart from external pathogenic invasions.

The Lingshu notes, “Therefore the pathogenic factors that intend to attack the heart must first attack the pericardium.”

Heart Fire Regulator

But other than its other functions, which are similar to the Heart, in terms of aiding the Heart in regulating its excess chi, the Pericardium is considered a very important “organ.”

The Heart (fire) chi can be easily disregulated, mostly raised, to an abnormal state by illnesses, injuries or emotional/mental disturbances.

Now this is the time “Peri” starts to flex its muscle, i.e. to dissipate the excess Heart chi and direct it to two of the “Five-center Heats” in the center of the palms. From here, the excess chi will be released naturally.

These “heat-release” spots are considered the gateways of the body’s energies. They are usually massaged not only to reduce the body’s temperature during a fever, but also for healers to radiate energy from.

In TCM, it is believed that there are five centers (called “gates” or “gateways”) where the body chi is able to “communicate” with its surrounding environment, and thus regulating the chi level.

The other two centers, the “bubbling spring,” are at the center of the feet; and they contain a lot of energy! They are also the first point (K 1) of the Kidney meridian. The traditional Ayurveda system treats them as the Earth chakras which balance the whole body.

The last gate is the face. Whenever any of the organ chi is abnormal, it shows on the face naturally.

Triple Energizer Workout

The Triple Energizer (San Jiao) is the paired “organ” of the Pericardium.

Like the Pericardium, Triple Energizer or Triple Burner acts as a “big bag” encompassing three sections of the body.

The Upper Energizer is located above the diaphragm (includes the chest, neck and head); the Middle Energizer is between the diaphragm and the umbilicus (includes the stomach, liver and spleen); and the Lower Energizer is below the umbilicus (includes the lower abdomen, kidneys and bladder).

One of the more important functions of Triple Energizer is to distribute Original Chi, rooted in the Kidney, to all the Zang Fu organs.

Besides regulating chi and yang warmth, and balancing the body’s fluids, building muscles which hold the related Zang organs are equally as important.

One of the most common external exercises to build internal muscles, and therefore regulating the Triple Energizer chi flow is by lifting the hands up above the head and then moving them down smoothly.

Yoga Palm Tree Pose

The yoga Palm Tree pose is a good example. The Palm Tree pose is great for spinal alignment as it lengthens the entire body.

Not only does it give the body a good stretch, and thus correct the posture, it also opens the heart, rib cage, thorax, your throat and and chest, or in short, the TE.

This is the way to do it:

Slowly inhale, raise arms over head (palms facing each other) with fingers stretched, and rise up onto toes while straightening the entire body.

Hold for a few slow deep breaths (while gazing at the finger tips). Then slowly exhale and lower arms and heels touch the ground.

Another variation is to interlock your fingers and turn the palms outward. In this variation, you are also flexing your fingers.

Take note when exhaling …

Bend your elbows, bring the palms down (fingers still interlocked and palms facing outward) to the front of your face.Then slowly rotate them to face upwards as you straighten your arms. Unlock fingers.

The Palm Tree pose, albeit simple, gives your lungs space to breathe and cleans your windpipe which makes it a very good exercise against breathing problems such as asthma and bronchitis.