The location and function of San Jiao

J C M Health Ltd.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2001, February, 65 (February), pp. 26 - 32
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Chinese medical classics describe the location and function of sanjiao (the Triple Energiser). Chinese medicine's conception of sanjiao is examined in this paper using references in the classical texts. Classical material presents sanjiao as the 'unique fu': a hollow organ whose unusual structure includes all kinds of cavities and spaces in the body. The three biggest cavities in the trunk â the chest, abdominal and pelvic cavities â are associated with the upper, middle and lower jiao (the âthree burning spacesâ ). Other spaces in the extremities and muscles are called cou in the Neijing and these are as important as the âthree burning spacesâ in understanding sanjiaoâs physiology and pathology. Part 1 of this paper explores classical medical sources concerning sanjiaoâs location, shape and structure. Part 2 extends this discussion to include sanjiaoâs role in Chinese medical physiology. The cavities and spaces that comprise the structure and location of sanjiao form a network of fluid and qi passageways extending in all directions throughout the body. The cavities and spaces are a point of juncture and passageway for the qi, the body fluids, and their transformations. Sanjiao's network of spaces therefore provides a site and a thoroughfare, enabling the ascending and descending movement of qi and fluids, and the movement between interior and exterior â the coming in and going out of yin and yang. Chinese medicine's classical sources describe sanjiao's locations and functions in detail: they support Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)âs viscera-based concept of sanjiao, and explain less well-understood aspects of its nature and physiology.
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