Integrative Medicine Blog

Fire and Water: The Pillars of the Heart

Christopher Reilly L.Ac., MSA Thursday, February 04, 2016

Calming the heart with acupressure.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the heart is associated with fire, and fire-like movement. Fire brings light and warmth to the cold and the darkness; fire is the center around which we socialize and break bread together, a source of comfort and assurance. Similarly, the traditional view of the heart includes moving the blood throughout the body, but also includes a sense of social interaction, and connection between self and others. The acupuncture channel of the heart should always be approached with gentle hands, and a gentle mind.

A point that we use often for heart health in acupuncture, including palpitations, irregular or rapid heart beats and anxiety, is called "shen men," or "gate of the spirits." It is located at the crease of the wrist, on the palm side of the wrist just inside of the tendon for flexor carpi ulnaris (see picture). It can be gently massaged with the thumb of your other hand for 3-5 minutes on each side for heart troubles of any kind, at night for sleep difficulties and any other time where symptoms such as palpitations occur.