The Fire Element
Heart Protector/Triple Heater
In nature, fire is very powerful, bringing warmth and energy to humans, plants, and animals. The discovery of fire was one of the factors in the evolution of humans. The warmth of the sun and fire bring relaxation, peace, love, sharing, and community, lasting throughout the day and evening, all year long. In nature, when fire or heat gets either out of control or deficient, immense damage can take place, affecting survival. For example, forest fires can destroy numerous plants, animals, humans lives and homes. On the other hand, a lack of warmth and sun can cause crops to fail affecting winter survival.
In the theory of Classical Five Element Acupuncture, the Fire Element also symbolizes our hopes and dreams for the future coming to fruition. In this time of realized dreams, all we need to do is to be present and watch everything unfold from all the hard work we did in the creation process. Much like watching the seeds and plants we tend to in the Spring go on to bear fruit in the Summer. The Fire Element gives us the power of love, passion, relationship, the ability to have fun, enthusiasm, intelligence, clear thought, physical warmth and heat to transform and transport the Qi and Energy in our bodies. The four diagnostic traits of an imbalance in the Fire Element are a red or ashen color around the eyes, a laughing or lack of laughing sound of voice, a scorched odor, and an emotion of too much joy or lack of joy. The four Channel Officials of the Fire Element are Heart, Small Intestine, Circulation Sex (Heart Protector) and the Triple Heater.
The Heart Official, or Supreme Controller, is responsible for the order and control of the other Officials in the body. The heart is responsible for the production of blood and the force that is needed to distribute blood throughout the body. It is responsible for setting limits and boundaries and prioritizing tasks. When the heart is healthy, there is a sense of joy and enthusiasm. The heart houses the Shen, or Spirit, described as self awareness, self reflection, art, morality, purpose, and values that foster the human experience.
(Web that Has No Weaver, Ted Kaptchuk, O.M.D.)
When the Heart is out of balance, the other Officials begin to fall sick from lack of the Heart’s guidance, order, and regulation, or because they give up their tasks to the over-controlling Heart. Some physical and mental symptoms of the Heart being sick are panic attacks, apprehension, deep depression, angina, and cardiac arrest.
Paired with the Heart is the Small Intestine Official, responsible for separating the pure and impure Qi from our physical diet, and within the values and information of our mental experiences and awareness. A healthy Small Intestine can extract nutrients from the most processed foods, and find goodness and lessons in the ugliest of experiences. It is responsible for finding the pure essence in all things, distinguishing good from evil. A weak Small Intestine can lead to toxins accumulating in the body causing skin problems, swellings, arthritis, and blood clots. Problems in the shoulder, elbow, and ear may arise from excess impurities accumulating along the channel. They could also lead to inability to understand and sort out information, inability to articulate, having impure thoughts or fetishes, and inability to distinguish good from evil, all allowing confusion, depression, and anxiety to result.
The next Official of the Fire Element is the Circulation Sex Official, or Heart Protector. This Official protects the Heart from physical, mental and spiritual trauma. It is responsible for arterial and venous circulation and sexual secretions. It is also responsible for providing connections of spirit from person to person, person to nature, and one's connection throughout their own body via veins and arteries.
The Heart Protector receives blows from both accidental and deliberate injuries. A sick Heart Protector can lead to person being either over protective, not letting any love and warmth in or out leading to joylessness, grudging, intolerance, hatred or desperate loneliness. A sick Heart Protector can also be under protective, leaving the heart vulnerable to emotional and physical battering. Physical symptoms stemming from this Official’s sickness can be cold hands and feet from lack of circulation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, arteriosclerosis, Reynaud’s disease, frigidity or impotence due to lack of sexual secretion flow, or perverted sexual expression from too much flow.
The last of the four Officials is the Triple Heater which is paired with the Heart Protector. The Triple Heater is responsible for circulating Qi (Vital Energy), blood, and fluids, harmonizing digestion of liquid and solid food, and for maintaining an even temperature and balance of heat between the three burners. Physical symptoms of a sick Triple Heater can be hot and cold flashes, alternating chills and fever, cold extremities, red face or neck, blue lips, stiffness, or stabbing pains due to cold. Some emotional and mental symptoms of an imbalanced Triple Heater could be oscillating between enthusiasm and indifference or excitement and boredom, and inability to keep an appropriate balance and relationship with people and nature.
Each Official of the Fire Element plays it's part in maintaining love and warmth in the body. The Heart controls and rules the other Officials of the body. The Small Intestine separates the pure from the impure. The Heart Protector gives the power of self protection. The Triple Heater gives the power of self regulation. The Fire Element and its Officials are responsible for regulating the warmth and power in our internal and external environments.
References: Worsley, J.R., The Five Elements and the Officials, J.R. and J.B. Worsley. 1998