Sort it out….It’s the Small Intestine!
We are supposedly now coming in to the summer months and the organ that is usually associated with this fiery season is the Heart. However we mustn’t forget its’ sometimes over looked partner the Small Intestine. The Small Intestine is the Yang to the Heart’s Yin but their connection is not always at first apparent.
The Small Intestines job in both Western and Chinese medicine is to sort the pure from the impure. It takes the food stuff from the stomach which it then divides in to what is useful to the body and what is not. That which is waste is passed on to the large intestine for excretion. However as always the Chinese system takes it further as all the organs are seen to have a physical, an energetic and spiritual function. The energetic and spiritual function of the Small Intestine is the same, it sorts the pure from the impure.
This is where the connection between the Small Intestine and the Heart can be seen. It is the ‘sorting’ aspect of the Spirit that resides in the Heart. It is the aspect of consciousness which enables us to decide between what are the correct and healthy actions as opposed to those that are bad or unethical. An imbalance here can lead to a person having negative behaviour patterns and very little conscience. Sounds like a lot of the members of parliament could do with a little work in this area!
Clinically though the Small Intestine is used more frequently because of the pathway of its meridian. It starts at the nail of the little finger, comes up the arm, over the elbow, around the back of the shoulder to join the spine, then across the neck to the face and ear. Stagnation of energy along any part of this pathway can lead to pain, resulting in seemingly diverse problems such as tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, stiff neck, trigeminal neuralgia and even tinnitus.
There is even a point on the side of the hand known as S.I.3 or ‘Back Stream’, which has the ability to open up the entire Du meridian, which travels the length of the spine and is therefore indicated for back pain that is the centred in the middle of the back. This Du meridian also enters the brain so this point can treat headaches as well as creating a lovely ‘spaced out’ feeling.
Another interesting point along the Small Intestine channel is found along the outside of the forearm. This is known as S.I.7 or ‘Branch of the Upright’. It is here that the S.I. meridian joins with the Heart meridian and has a pronounced effect on regulating and calming the Spirit. This point can be seen as a type of exhaust where emotions can be let out via the Small Intestine if they are becoming too injurious or pathogenic for the Heart organ. It is for this reason this point is indicated for manic-depression, fear and fright, sadness, anxiety and the ‘knotting of the 7 emotions’. Quite a claim for an often over-looked organ.