As an acupuncturist and body worker, I have learned through the practice of Chinese medicine that the body is both incredibly mysterious and powerful. Working with the body gives us access to the soul, to the psyche, to the spirit, and to our emotions.
Acupuncture & The Emotional Body
Emotions are held in each of our cells, in every tissue, muscle, and organ. Our bodies will carry the emotions we have difficulty processing, expressing, or making sense of as we experience them. In a sense, our bodies try to protect our hearts and our spirits from these painful emotions.
This is where the acupuncture points become really interesting. We can see them as gateways into the energy systems of the body. By gently stimulating these points, our bodies can release the emotions that are stored unnecessarily, thus restoring energy back to the body, mind, and spirit. Interestingly enough, each acupuncture point (and there are hundreds) has a unique name that gives us a clue as to what its function or purpose is.
The Heart Protector
I’m sure that we can all relate to the amount of vulnerability it takes to express our emotions and open up our hearts to others. Since that’s at the forefront of our minds this month, let’s take a closer look at the function of the Heart Protector, otherwise known as the Pericardium.
Within the philosophy of Chinese Medicine, the Heart is considered to be the container for the Spirit. We can think of the Heart as an open bowl with the ability to contain and reflect our feelings, our thoughts, and our capacity for consciousness. By keeping our hearts open and clear, we have the ability to make meaning out of our life experiences, reflect on our present circumstances, and act appropriately in any given situation - no matter how nerve-wracking it may be. However, as is often the case when life experiences overwhelm us, we may lose our openness. As a result, we begin to feel symptoms of physical and emotional distress.
This is where the Heart Protector (Pericardium) comes into play. Its function is to help us decide what we allow into our hearts and what we don’t. The Heart Protector can regulate our nervous systems and increase the flow of blood within our bodies. This allows us to feel calmer and better able to respond to what life is asking of us. The Heart Protector channel runs along the inside of the arm, right next to the Heart channel.
The Palace of Toil
There is one particular point along the Heart Protector channel that is located right at the centre of our palms. This point is called “Palace of Toil” (Lao Gong). What a name! It speaks to the amount of work that it takes to put ourselves out there emotionally, and the amount of vulnerability it takes to let someone else into our hearts - our palace, so to speak.
When we are feeling exhausted by life, by all the work that being alive demands of us, we can use this point to help us feel less weary and daunted. This is especially true regarding the work of being in healthy relationship with ourselves and with others. Luckily, this point can be activated anytime somebody caringly holds our hand and lets us know that we are not alone in this world.
The job of the Heart Protector is to help us keep going in life even when we are at our most vulnerable. Knowing that our Hearts and Spirits are well protected, we can walk into the world open and clear, ready for whatever life has in store for us.
Wishing you all a very loving month of February!