The Triple Heater

The Triple Heater is also called the Triple Warmer, the Triple Burner, or sometimes even, the Three Burning Spaces.  It is also sometimes known by its Chinese name Sanjiao.  It has no equivalent in modern western medicine.

The Triple Heater is part of the fire element in the human body.  The fire element is unique – it has two manifestations each of yin and yang – the other elements only have one manifestation each of yin and yang.  The Triple heater is part of the yang of the fire element in our bodies (the other is the Small Intestine).  The yin of the fire element in the human body is the Heart and Pericardium.

The Triple Heater is also different to the other organs and channels.  It is also used as a way to refer to different parts of the body.

The Triple Heater as Body Divisions.
The Upper Heater is above the diaphragm and so includes the heart and lungs.  The Middle Heater is from the diaphragm to the umbilicus (belly button) and so includes the stomach, spleen and liver.  The Lower Heater is from the umbilicus to bottom of the torso and so includes kidneys, bladder and intestines.  This division refers to the three processes of energy processing in our bodies – inspiration and exhalation (upper heater), digestion (middle heater) and elimination (lower heater).  In acupuncture you will see breathing difficulties sometimes called an “upper heater disorder” or a digestive upset called a “middle heater problem”.  (This will depend on the root cause of the problem referred to.)

The Triple Heater channel begins on the ring finger (the one closest to our little finger) near the outer boundary of lower part of the nail.  It then travels up the middle of the yang side of the arm (the outside with more hair on it) across the shoulder, up the neck around the ear and ends at the outside edge of the eyebrow.

The Organ
There is no physical structure that corresponds to the Triple Heater as there is with all the other organs.  It is a collection of functions.

The Functions
The Triple Heater distributes energy throughout the body.  One traditional description of the Triple Heater is “The Official in Charge of irrigation (or the waterways)”.  It sends the energy that is taken from the air, food and water we take in and sends it to the different parts of the body.

Like the other arm yang channels (the Small Intestine and the Colon) the points on the Triple Heater channel aren’t used much to treat the ‘organ’ (or in the case of the Triple Heater to effect its function).  The points are mostly used to treat local problems

36 Responses to “The Triple Heater”

  1. Madcap says:

    Hi Evan,

    I’m enjoying the posts, esp. Triple Heater and Pericardium, “my” meridians. At this point with the material you’re covering there’s not much to comment about, but I’m glad you’re doing it and look forward to more postings.

  2. Evan Hadkins says:

    Thanks Madcap.

    It helps to keep me writing knowing that you look forward to it.


  3. Alastair says:

    Hi Evan, thanks for the information short and sweet giving an informative over view of ots function. Very accesable. Thanks

  4. Evan says:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Alastair,

    I’m glad you like it. I have had some other commitments lately but hope to get back to this blog soon.

  5. andy says:

    I trained with a martial artist for awhile who had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve. Once, to mess with me, he grabbed my wrist and pinched it in two places. It didn’t really hurt, but it made me turn hot and start sweating and turn bright red, it was pretty hilarious! He said it was the ‘triple heater’, now I know what he was talking about!

  6. […] Acupuncture Is Easy Blog Archive The Triple Heater Posted by root 3 hours ago ( Dec 21 2007 thanks for taking the time to comment alastair i 39 m glad you like it acupuncture is easy is proudly powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Acupuncture Is Easy Blog Archive The Triple Heater […]

  7. […] Acupuncture Is Easy Blog Archive The Triple Heater Posted by root 4 hours ago ( Dec 21 2007 the lower heater is from the umbilicus to bottom of the torso and so includes kidneys bladder and intestines this division refers to the triple heater and pericardium my meridians thanks for taking the time to comment alastair acupuncture is e Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Acupuncture Is Easy Blog Archive The Triple Heater […]

  8. bodydetoxboy says:

    i am always astonished how Acupunture helps in dealing with my migraine. it works wonders on other diseases like anxiety and allergy.

  9. Acupuncture helped me a lot in relaxation. It takes away some of my muscle cramps due to physical stress.

  10. arthritisguy says:

    Acupuncture is really a good alternative medicine technique for common ailments such as allergies, minor headaches and pains. I have been practicing acupuncture for 4 years now.

  11. John Kerns says:

    Acupuncture has been known in China for ages, my mom introduced me to acupunture and i am since been amazed how it can reduce my migraine.

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  13. MrsDonut says:

    Intriguing stuff you talk about here. Almost a 1 sided argument don’t you think?

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  19. The article is good and concise – thanks. You may wish to read Heart Master, Triple Heater by C Larre and E de la Valee. They write (as you may know) about the classical text and their modern uses. Well worth the read.

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  24. Nice easy article to read – thanks.

  25. famolson says:

    Thanks for the info. Always wondered what a triple heater was. I am impressed by the things I learn from Acupuncture Is Easy site. Thanks again

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  29. Marty Toto says:

    Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  30. Evan says:

    No probs at all Marty

  31. Rudi says:

    Hi Evan, Thank you for the informative description of the triple warmer. I have a question regarding the point on my right hand ring finger at the right side of the nail. I have been having a lot of pain in that area to such an extend that if someone takes may hand and squeeze the finger that i will have excruciating pain that will make me slap that person very hard. I keep telling every one that it is due to an old injury when i was about five or six when my brother or sister accidentally closed a car door on this finger. The nail is slightly deformed. No after reading this i wonder if there is an acupressure point or technique to alleviate the pain i have there. Also my wife recently started to get this same pain in her finger and she has constant head aches that does not go away. The chyropractitioner says it is the muscle in her neck that causes her headaches and after a visit she will be fine for a while. Then the headaches will come back, but the pain in the finger is new. Is there any relation to the one i have, the one she has and her headaches.

  32. Evan says:

    Hi Rudi. If the pain is related to the acupuncture point then massage along the meridian should affect it. If not, then it is likely something else.

    Your wife should tell the chiro about the pain coming back. It may be habitual posture – slipping back into the same muscular habits. If it is a nerve problem (and muscles can lead to pinched nerves) then the pain may be ‘shooting’ i.e. move through the body – down the arm or from the neck to shoulder and so on.

    Check if the pain you both get is of the same kind: dull ache, knife like, pulsing, or moving and so on. They may be different.

    Without knowing more the best I can say is massage along the arm should provide some relief.

  33. cathy orth says:

    Where does the very important pancreas come in? This organ cannot regenerate where the liver and gallbladder can…you can live without your spleen. Why isn’t the spleen included? Is it not considered an organ of digestion?

  34. Evan says:

    In acupuncture theory the pancreas is included in what is meant by the ‘spleen’. It is one of the differences in terminology.

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