In Chinese medicine the heart is thought of as the most significant of all the internal organs, and is frequently known as the “emperor.” Its primary functions are to regulate blood and house the shen. Like many other Chinese concepts, there’s absolutely no precise English equivalent for the word shen.
The Heart, The Emperor of the Internal Organs
It encompasses many unique ideas, such as consciousness, thought, intellect, insight, and cognition, in addition to the emotions and the soul. This reflects one of the basic ideas of Chinese medicine, which our physical body and soul are one, they are inseparable. In reality, every internal organ has a representative non-material function. Because the heart houses consciousness, however, it’s the emperor.
The heart channel is one of the shorter channels and has just 9 acupuncture points on it. It originates from the center itself and travels down the inside of the arm to the tip of the pinky finger (why heart ailments are sometimes felt in the arm).
Some of the more obvious conditions that this channel treats include chest pain, palpitations, and irregular heartbeats. Since the heart houses the emotions (not the mind!) , this channel is quite important for calming the shen, treating anxiety and panic attacks, and helping people relax more easily so that they can fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly throughout the night.
The acupuncture channels are similar to a large connected net, with main pathways and secondary branches. For instance, one branch of the heart channel ascends into the root of the tongue while the other goes up the throat, crosses the cheek, and joins with the tissues surrounding the eye. Because the heart belongs to the fire element, making it an ideal channel to needle when there are indications of heat (pain, redness, inflammation, infection) in those regions like tongue ulcers, sore throats, or irritated eyes.
One of the main ways to keep your heart healthy is to eat nutritious foods. More than any other internal organ, it’s your heart that needs adequate supplies of nourishing blood to do its job. Since food is among the most essential building blocks of blood (another being air), eating well and eating enough is absolutely crucial for heart health.
Some of the top foods for constructing blood include red meat and beets, which are equally high in iron, and leafy greens, that are high in chlorophyll, a molecule that’s virtually identical to hemoglobin and readily converted into it.