"Spirits of the Points: The Heart Meridian"
Professor Neil R. Gumenick
M.Ac. (UK), C.T. (Adv.), L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Historical Perspective

The early Chinese considered their emperor to be God's representative on earth. As such, the emperor manifested those traits that we would all want in a leader, a president or a chief executive: goodness, wisdom, fairness, truthfulness, unselfishness, love for all. These qualities gained him (or her) the love, devotion, and respect of his people. He was ultimately responsible for order in the kingdom, leading in the way of the Tao, overseeing, controlling, coordinating, delegating, arbitrating, prioritizing, reconciling differences, and assigning tasks. His people welcomed his control because of the love and joy they received from being aligned with him. His will was carried out with the help of his loyal ministers (Officials) upon whom he depended and who depended upon him.

The Supreme Controller Within

We all have a Supreme Controller within ourselves - connected to the same Divine source. His ministers are the other 11 Officials (organs and functions). More than just a physical pump, we feel our deepest love and passions in the heart. We speak of feelings as being "heartfelt," having a "heart-to-heart" talk, or having a "heart of gold." We also know feelings of being "heartbroken," being "heartless," or "wearing our heart on our sleeve." All of these colloquialisms refer to the spiritual aspect of this Official.

Belonging to the element Fire, the Heart Official is associated with warmth, laughter and enthusiasm. Just as the summer season, associated with the Fire element, brings blossoming and maturing - the flowering of all the seeds planted in the spring - love is the blossoming of a human being. It is indeed who we are in full "bloom." Nowhere is such love felt more deeply than the Heart. Love is the current that connects us to each other as one, reaching the furthest corners of the kingdom of the body/mind/spirit with each heartbeat.

When the Supreme Controller is sick, there is no one to guide, to love, or to lead. There is no one to give the orders or to set boundaries. There is little or no warmth, love, enthusiasm or happiness. Life seems to have no purpose or meaning. With no leader on the throne, every Official will cry out in distress and symptoms can arise anywhere. Fear and panic may ensue. Rebellion and eventual resignation may result.

The Points and the Causative Factor

Each of the acupuncture points has a name, translated from the Chinese calligraphy, which offers insight into the unique spiritual gifts the point is capable of delivering. The points have greatest impact if we know what a patient's primary elemental imbalance (Causative Factor AKA "CF") is. The CF is the element among five (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, or Wood) that is the weak link in the system and most in need of support. Every human being is born with a CF, or develops one in the formative stage of life. Once established, it does not change to another element over one’s lifetime although, over time, the primary imbalance will and must affect every other element and Official, as all are connected like a family, and symptoms may appear anywhere.

The thrust of this style of acupuncture is to restore to and balance the CF Element and its Officials. In so doing, all Elements and Officials will reap the benefit and symptoms will tend to clear in every element. Thus, the most effective and impactful points to treat will be those on the meridians of the CF.

The Causative Factor is determined by sensing the color in certain specific areas of the patient's face, the sound of the voice, the emotional expression, and the odor. This diagnostic process is central to the practice of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture. For more extensive discussion of diagnosing a Fire CF, see "The Heart Official" Acupuncture Today, September 2013, Vol 14, Issue 09. Note that, in this system, we further diagnose which side of the Fire element is primarily imbalanced – the organ side (HT and SI), or the function side (PC and SJ) and tend to focus treatment on the most affected side. This can only be determined by interacting with the patient. Thus, the points below would be used on Fire CFs in whom the primary imbalanced side is HT/SI.

The author realizes that there are many interpretations and uses of these points in various traditions, and the following is not meant to encompass all possibilities. The English translations are those passed by my teacher, Professor J.R. Worsley.

Spirits of the Points

Heart 2 Blue Green Spirit
This point name evokes the color of new growth, like new leaves in Spring emerging from the depths of winter (the color of the Water element in which the seeds had lain dormant – gathering resources) and are now bursting into life. Though not commonly used due to its intensity, the point is used for those patients who are in need of a profound rebirth of spirit. They may appear lifeless, unmotivated, resigned, depressed, and disordered and, in spite of our previous efforts with more gentle points, the spirit has not responded and seems unable to burst forth, flourish and grow. We would not tend to choose this point in the early stages of treatment, but when nothing else has sufficiently worked. In Professor J.R. Worsley’s publication "The Meridians of Ch’i Energy: Point Reference Guide", this point is forbidden to needle, and only up to 5 direct moxas are indicated for tonification.

Heart 3 Little Sea: Water Point
A sea is a reservoir from which energy can be accessed. The term "little" meant "inner" rather than "small", so this point refers to a deep, internal reservoir of energy to bring vitality, power, lubrication, flexibility, and cleansing to the Supreme Controller. Our inner Supreme Controller must be kept strong, clear of vision, able to see things from many points of view in order to dispense love and wisdom fairly and appropriately – within and without. This is the water point on the meridian. Water controls fire. Too much and the flames are drowned out, too little and things burn too hot and dry out. This point, as the ambassador of the Water element, provides access to this sea of vitality, bringing and balancing just the right amount of fluids to this Official. We consider this point for the patient who is exhausted and in need of access to this abundant reservoir, or whose vision has become toxic, rigid, dry, and narrow, or who is out of control, racing about, burning the "candle at both ends", overwhelmed as if in a perpetual storm, and needing the calm, controlling influence of water.

Heart 6 Yin Mound
A mound is a heaped pile of earth, elevated above the area surrounding it. Thus, from its top, one can see a great distance and with a higher perspective. As a "yin" mound, it exists on the shady side of the hill, from which one can perceive the more quiescent, deeper and inner aspects of oneself and others. The Supreme Controller reigns over all Officials and all levels – body, mind, and spirit. As such, he must be able to see everything, in both outer and inner aspects, from a high and stable vantage point in order to maintain peace, prosperity, and order in the Kingdom. We would tend to call upon this point for the patient who is so overly outer-directed, madly pursuing and attached to material things and accomplishments, that he or she has lost sight of the inner self, unable to find within a quiet, empty, calm, restful, and meditative state from which to best rule the inner Kingdom.

Heart 9 Little Rushing In: Wood Point
The most common use of this point is to summon energy from Wood to Fire, specifically to the Heart. According to the Sheng Cycle, Wood feeds Fire. The "mother" of the heart is the Liver. If we find, by pulse diagnosis, that there is a relative excess of energy in the Liver, tonifying this point, will effectively transfer the excess from the mother (LV) to the child (HT). It is akin to putting the correct amount of logs from the woodpile upon a deficient fire, increasing its strength, warmth, and brightness. A steady supply of Wood is necessary to keep love alive.

Again, we have the term "little", meaning "inner", and referring to our deepest core. As the Wood point on the meridian, Little Rushing In brings the qualities of Wood to the depths of the Supreme Controller: clarity of vision, self-assertion and direction, a sense of new beginnings, hope, and optimism. We know that the energy of Spring, associated with the Wood element, comes forth with great force, as evidenced by a new sprout bursting forth from its seed casing. Thus, the effect of this point, used for its spiritual connotation, can be a new awakening for those who have lost hope, a brilliant change of state, seeing suddenly with fresh eyes - rushing to our core, without hesitation, confusion, or doubt.

© 2019 Neil R. Gumenick / The Institute of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture Inc.

Professor Neil R. Gumenick is Founder and Director of The Institute of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, which offers training in this profound system of body/mind/spirit medicine. He has maintained a private practice in Santa Monica, CA since 1981 and is a Professor at YoSan University and Emperor's College. Neil holds three degrees and an advanced teaching credential from The College of Traditional Acupuncture (UK) awarded by the late Professor J.R. Worsley. Neil was recipient of the 2007 AAAOM Pioneers and Leaders in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Award, and is one of the world's foremost practitioners, teachers, and writers on the subject of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture. He can be reached at or at (310) 453-2235.

2926 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90404-9900
(310) 453-2235