The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






San Jiao

The San Jiao (三焦) is a traditional Chinese medical (TCM) concept of a functional organ that is not found outside of TCM (see Zang Fu theory). San Jiao has been translated as "triple heater," "triple warmer," and "triple burner," the latter of which is probably favored because of the involvement of the San Jiao in metabolism (burner meaning "metaboliser"). Like most other organs, the San Jiao has a meridian named for it which is also a reflection of the energetic health of the organ. The Triple Warmer Meridian is located from the fingernail of the ring finger, up the outside center of the hand and arm, behind the top of the shoulder but above the shoulder blade, up the neck to behind the ear, then up and around the base of the ear to the top & front, then on the outer tip of the eye brow.

San Jiao
This article is part of the philosophy of CAM and Traditional Chinese medicine series of articles.

In TCM theory, the San Jiao is a yang organ paired with the pericardium which is the yin organ associated with it. Yang organs are typically hollow, whereas yin organs are more solid. The triple burner, however, is said to be primarily energetic and does not have a physical component, unlike all the other organs in TCM. The San Jiao occupies the trunk of the body, in three compartments (hence the "triple" in its name). The upper compartment is the chest down to the diaphragm - which is associated with respiration. The middle compartment is from the diaphragm to the umbilicus - which is associated with digestion. The lower compartment is from the umbilicus to the top of the pubic bone - which is associated with elimination. However, in dissecting a body, one would not be able to find a structure that could be called the San Jiao.

The San Jiao is said to be a metabolism mechanism similar to an old-fashioned water wheel that is turned by incoming water and creates energy for accomplishing a task, such as grinding grain in the case of the water wheel, or for metabolising and digesting food in the case of the San Jiao. The San Jiao is closely associated with the spleen functions of transformation and transportation, particularly the metabolism of incoming food. The San Jiao is also closely associated with the kidney's function in TCM. The San Jiao, however, is not limited to one metabolism function as the spleen or kidneys are, but is a general metaboliser which can be applied to a variety of metabolism needs.

Related to the fire Element of the Chinese Five Elements

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Last updated: 05-22-2005 05:50:25
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04