The Pericardium is also known as ‘The Master of the Heart’ because of its connection with the Heart. However, it is also connected to the Triple Burner so the functions of the Pericardium is that of an independent organ that holds its own channel.
The Pericardium as an Organ
The Pericardium wraps around the Heart, protecting it from pathogenic attacks and redirecting them to itself. Many classical books refer to the Pericardium as an adjunct to the heart. However, the theory of Internal Organs states that functions of the Pericardium are like the Heart so in importance, the Pericardium is secondary to the Heart. This organ relates to the Upper Burner due to characteristics of the Four Levels described as delirium, mental confusion, aphasia and high temperatures.
The Pericardium is usually referred to in herbal medicine for diseases due to Heat. Acupuncture on its channel aids the blood, whether it revitalizes blood with P-6 Neiguan or cools down blood with P-3 Quze. Pericardium points correlate with mental and emotional states of mind, so acupuncture soothes the Mind.
The Pericardium as a Channel
The functions of the Pericardium-Yin as an organ relates most to the Heart. The functions of the Pericardium-Yang as a channel relates mainly to the Triple Burner.
As a channel the Pericardium is different from the Heart because it governs over the area at the center of the thorax called the Shan Zong. The channel has access to the chest including the Heart and Lungs to thrust forward the Gathering Qi/Zong Qi and blood. Pericardium patterns manifest as oppressions or chest pains, tightness, distension and stuffiness.
The Mind and The Ethereal Soul
As the ambassador, the Pericardium aids the heart in housing the Mind. The Heart and the Pericardium feel the Deficiency of Blood, so they produce a depressed and anxious emotion. Heat from Blood will agitate the Pericardium producing restlessness and Phlegm obstructing the Pericardium causes Mental confusion.
The Pericardium is the main influence in connecting with people in any kind of relationship. The Terminal Yin channels connect the Pericardium and the Liver. Therefore, the Pericardium aids the Ethereal Soul in moving from the ego to others in social interactions.
- P-6 Neiguan stimulates the mood
- P-7 Daling settles anxiety
- P-5 Jianshi resolves Phlegm
The points on its channel are also often used to treat emotional relationship problems. Maintaining a balanced emotional sphere of the ‘Emperor Fire’ is the main protective function of the Pericardium.
The Pericardium and the Minister Fire
The Minister Fire is considered the Fire from the Gate of Life within the Kidneys and connects to other organs. The Minister Fire rises to the Liver, Gall Bladder and Pericardium, similar to a Dragon flying on top of Mountains. Then, it falls to the Kidneys like a Dragon descending to water.
In terms of the Five Elements, the Pericardium is the Minister Fire. However, in terms of Internal Organs, the Kidneys contain the Minister Fire. The Minister Fire is managed by emotions, so in stress, it tends to harass the Pericardium; inducing anxiety, insomnia and restlessness.
The Pericardium and the Uterus
‘Luo of the Envelope of the Heart’ refers to the Uterus attaching downwards to the Kidneys and upwards to the Heart. It connects to the Kidneys through the Uterus Channel or the ‘Bao Luo’ and to the Heart through the Uterus Vessel or the ‘Bao Mai’, that relates to the Pericardium.
The Pericardium, in turn, affects menstruation. For instance, in Blood Deficiency, the Pericardium causes scanty periods and could potentially cause amenorrhoea. Conversely if Pericardium- Fire is present, the heat of the blood causes heavy periods. In Blood stasis, the Pericardium induces painful periods. The connection of the Mind and the Uterus is explains the emotional problems that start during menstruation cycles in women.