Two of the most distressing things I see in clinic (virtually every week), are patients suffering from poor self-esteem, and patients that can’t find joy and contentment for the little things in life.
In the Yellow Emperor’s Classic (Huáng Dì Nèi Jīng/黃帝內經):
“The pericardium is like the court jester who makes the king laugh, bringing forth joy (Ni 1995, p.34).
In Chinese medicine, the Heart (Xīn/心) emotion is a curious one – Joy! I’m sure when you look at the other organs emotions, you will likely desire Joy more than any of the others. I know I do.
But what is this Joy really? Is it the feeling you get when you jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Maybe it is sitting outside and staring at your beautiful garden? Joy is all these feelings, and plenty more. There are definitely varying levels of Joy that we feel and that’s where it can get a little tricky. Why? Because ‘Adrenaline Charged Joy’ is the most Yáng emotion we express – even more than anger. Therefore, it can be sustained for the LEAST amount of time of all the emotions. And yet, this is the Joy that most people are striving for in their daily lives.
In good news, acupuncture can help by gently guiding the patient’s Heart Shén back into balance, peace, harmony, thereby leading the person to feel ‘Contented Joy’. As the Dào Dé Jīng states (XLVI):
“…in being content, one will always have enough” (Lau 2001, p.69).
But what about self-esteem? Self-esteem is the domain of the Heart. When the Emperor is joyful and content, there will be a strong sense of self. But self-esteem can be affected by external influences or internal influences, and that is where the Pericardium comes in. The Pericardium is also called Xīn Bāo/心包, variously translated as ‘Heart’s Embrace’, ‘Heart Shield’, or ‘Heart Wrap’, or the physical, and meta-physical Heart protector. The Heart is King/Emperor, and the Pericardium is charged with entertaining the Heart. But the Pericardium is also the physical ‘Bodyguard’ of the Emperor Heart. Therefore, if you want to access the Heart, you need to come through the Pericardium first.
In this presentation we will analyse the Pericardium and the Heart organs, including how they have been represented over the past 2500 years, both philosophically and medically. Afterall, Chinese medicine is rooted in its philosophy. We spend time exploring self-esteem, joy, contentment, and how they can be treated by offering clinically relevant acupuncture point combinations that can be used on your patients immediately. Join me for a fascinating look at a snapshot of China’s medicine and philosophy.