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The Triple Burner-Inspiration to Converge


Wow! what is that? Its role on this cosmic ‘bodyteam’ is called the ambassador. Firstly, I see it as our core, like a divine family within us. Mama, Papa, Sister (a line from the old sitcom Happy Days when Richie Cunningham was asked who he lived with just came to my head..)

It includes the Upper Burner (the Heart, and Lung), Middle Burner (the Spleen and Stomach) and Lower Burner (the Liver, Intestines, Bladder and Kidneys).

As stated in the classical medical textbook, Yellow Emperors Classic of Medicine, the Upper Burner opens outwards, spreads the five tastes of the food essences, moistens and pervades the skin, fills the body, and is like mist. It runs from the base of the tongue to the entrance of the stomach.

The Middle Burner receives vital energy, expels the wastes, steams the body fluids, transforms the refined essence of food, and connects upwards with the Lungs. The Middle Burner runs from the entrance to the stomach down to its exit at the pyloric valve.

The Lower Burner directs the separation of the clean fluids from the dirty fluids, and facilitates the excretion of urine.” The Lower Burner runs from the pyloric valve down to the anus and urinary tract.

Notice that the Triple Burner is described in terms of what it does. It is called a “concept” because it really exists as a function, rather than as a physical organ.  Ancient Chinese medical text states: ‘The Upper Burner controls intake, the Middle Burner controls transformation, the Lower Burner controls elimination.’  On a spiritual level this seems akin to how we receive things in our life. Things, people, experiences come into our sphere and we then choose how to take them in, transform them and eliminate them. Some stay around for just a moment and others for years or a lifetime each one serving a valuable purpose in our growth on this planet.

When I think of the number three I am reminded of me and my two siblings. It’s a huge change from two. Suddenly, it becomes a party with three. And boy, it was so essential for us to get along since we had to deal with each other all the time. So, with these three pairs of organs they too need to get along. They are all coming together here to see how they get along. That’s what I love about Chinese medicine, it is all about looking at the whole picture.

Since this is the last organ network out of the whole series, (large intestine-lung, kidney-bladder, liver-gallbladder, small intestine-heart, stomach-spleen) paired with the pericardium, I like how it incorporates such a vast terrain in the body. It rises up allowing us to survey the big picture. It gives us three elements, three areas of the body and brings them together.

Meridian Channel (energy pathway): Starting at the tip of the ring finger this channel travels up the arm to the collarbone. It then descends to the chest, abdomen and lower burner like a Sheep dog rounding up the pack! Ascending back up to alongside of the neck around the ear it splits into two channels one ending on the cheek, the other on the outside of the eyebrow.

Emotion: Paired with the Pericardium and the Heart, Joy

Color: Orange Red. The drawing is green, yellow and orange to represent the three chakra colors of the heart, solar plexus and sacral area

Element: Fire though it brings together air, fire and water.

Yin or Yang: Yang

Essential Oil: Since we are combining three areas of the body, a blended oil sounds appropriate. Try a bit of ginger, bergamot and geranium (for men pine or cedarwood). This combination can be rubbed on the whole torso with a carrier oil to meet the needs of warming, soothing and flowing the three areas.

Mudra (hand position): The three part sequence where you bring the hands together in prayer gesture to start. Separate the index, middle and ring fingers leaving the pinkie and thumbs touching. This creates a bowl where the base of the palms and the pinkie and thumbs gather the energy yet the open top of the other fingers allow newness to come into the bowl. Hold this at your chest area until you feel you have gathered enough energy from Source. Bring all the fingers in like a Venus flytrap plant where the middle knuckles come together on the four fingers and the thumbs are side by side. Hold this at your core where you transform this energy you have received. When you feel it has worked its way through you allow it to be released by pushing the knuckles down to the third section of the fingers so the backs of the fingers are touching then progressing to the backs of the palms. It resembles an inverted prayer position. Holding this at your sacral area one can imagine the spent energy being excreted back to the earth where it can be recycled. (from G Hirschi’s Yoga in Your Hands)

Happy Spring Equinox as we come together celebrating our oneness!

M Burke
ARCB Reflexologist

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