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What is Triple Warmer in Chinese Medicine? What is Triple Warmer Function? Omnipresent Connective Tissues including Fatty Membranes and Fascia of the Body are Major Component of the Triple Energizer (aka Sanjiao, Triple Warmer, Triple Heater, Triple Burner) and its Function

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Many ask ‘What is Triple Warmer in Chinese Medicine?’ and  ‘What is Triple Warmer Function?’ The Answer is Omnipresent Connective Tissues including Fatty Membranes and Fascia of the Body are the Major Component of the Triple Energizer (aka Sanjiao, Triple Warmer, Triple Heater, Triple Burner) and its Function 

In Professor Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nanching, the word membrane is mentioned at least 17 times, mostly within the commentaries in association with discussions about the Triple Energizer. It should be noted that what was called membranes as mentioned in the Nanching would be called connective tissue today. In Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nanching, in the commentaries on the 31st Difficult Issue, Huang Wei-san said: The Triple Burner encloses all the depots and palaces externally. It is a fatty membrane covering the entire physical body from the inside. Although it has no definite form and shape, it represents a great palace among the six palaces. Hence, the final section [of Difficult Issue 31] states that it has three ruling centers and, in addition, that it has a specific location where it accumulates its influences. In the commentaries on the 38th Difficult Issue, Li Chiung states, ‘The Triple Burner represents nothing but membranes’. Regarding the nature of the Triple Burner, Katō Bankei states that ‘it (i.e. the Triple Burner) moves in between the palaces and depots’ and that ‘it resembles an external wall’, which ensures privacy and affords protection from negative influences. (Emphasis is mine)

In the commentaries on the 31st Difficult Issue, regarding the root and the origin of the Triple Burner, scholar Yeh Lin states, ‘It is a fatty membrane emerging from the tie between the kidneys.’ Also in the commentaries, Huang Weisan said, ‘The Triple Burner encloses all the depots and palaces externally. It is a fatty membrane covering the entire physical body from the inside’. The word unique, as the term palace of uniqueness occurs only two times in Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nan Ching. In both cases, it refers to the Triple Burner as the ‘palace of uniqueness’. (Emphasis is mine)

In ALL of these ancient references to the Triple Burner, or what I call the Triple-Energizer Metasystem, the description of the Triple Burner matches exactly the modern-day description and function of the Connective-Tissue Metasystem of membranes, with regard to being an external wall and with regard to being a ‘fatty membrane’ in that it is an omnipresent system of fatty membranes distributed throughout the entire body that exudes lubricating hyaluronic acid to make adjoining surfaces glide.

The following excerpts are from the book The ‘Mystical’ TCM Triple Energizer. Its Elusive Location and Morphology Defined. This comprehensible educational book is indispensable for anyone wanting to know more about the composition and the location of the Sanjiao (aka San Jiao, Triple Warmer, Triple Heater). This illuminating book can be purchased by clicking any of the BUY buttons at the bottom of this page.

35.1 The Triple Burner Encloses All the Depots and Palaces Externally

In the 31st Difficult Issue in Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nanching, in the commentaries on page 355, Huang Wei-san said: The Triple Burner encloses all the depots and palaces externally. It is a fatty membrane covering the entire physical body from the inside. Although it has no definite form and shape, it represents a great palace among the six palaces. Hence, the final section [of Difficult Issue 31] states that it has three ruling centers and, in addition, that it has a specific location where it accumulates its influences. (Emphasis is mine)

Huang Wei-san could not have made the matter clearer than when he said that the Triple Energizer ‘encloses’ (or encases or surrounds or enfolds) all the ‘depots’ and ‘palaces’, meaning solid and hollow organs externally. He goes on to say further that the Triple Burner is a ‘fatty membrane covering the entire physical body from the inside’ (emphasis is mine). No organs just levitate inside of the human body. Every organ is held in place by a network of fascia and fatty membranes that surgeons believe are inert structures that can be simply dissected and discarded in the biohazardous waste bin. Modern anatomy confirms that various types of connective tissue cover every organ and structure inside the body right down to membranes, covering individual cells like bags or packaging wrap. Regarding the membranes (huang) of the body, Maciocia (18) sums up the situation succinctly when he noted that the various organs inside the abdominal cavity are not just suspended in a vacuum and interconnected by acupuncture channels. Rather, the membranes wrap, anchor, and connect the various organs and the Triple Burner causes the continuous movement of Qi in and out of the Membranes. I believe that this is because the membranes are the Triple Burner, by another name.

35.2 The Triple Burner Represents Nothing but Membranes

In the commentaries on the 38th Difficult Issue on page 396 of Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nan Ching, Li Chiung states, ‘The Triple Burner represents nothing but membranes attached to the upper, central, and lower opening of the stomach. The Triple Burner has a name, but no real form.’ In this text, Li Chiung states very clearly that ‘the Triple Burner represents nothing but membranes’. This is what I believe to be the case where the Triple-Energizer Metasystem is a ubiquitous maze of omnipresent membranes or connective tissue that permeates the entire body by wrapping all the numerous organs and structures with connective-tissue fascia like a bag, thereby allowing communication between every cell in the body via the fascia and the lymphatic system that is supported and held in place by the structural framework and scaffolding of the connective-tissue fascia that is omnipresent.

35.5 Modern Research Shows Membranous Retinacula Contain Hyaluronic Acid-Secreting Cells

Interestingly, the Triple Burner is assigned the role of circulating fluids throughout the entire body. In the reference ‘it steams inside of the membrane’, Katō Bankei is alluding to the fact that most membranes produce fluids. The book Human Biology (124), under the heading ‘Body Membranes’, describes the four types of body membranes that line body cavities and the internal spaces as mucous, serous, and synovial membranes and the meninges. The article notes that mucous membranes line the tubes of the digestive, respiratory, urinary, and reproductive systems and secrete protective fluid mucus. The article says, ‘Serous membranes line and support the lungs, the heart, and the abdominal cavity and its internal organs. They secrete a watery fluid that keeps the membranes lubricated.’ The article further states, ‘Synovial membranes composed only of loose connective tissue line the cavities of freely movable joints. They secrete synovial fluid into the joint cavity. This fluid lubricates the ends of the bones so that they can move freely.’ The meninges are membranes found within the dorsal cavity and are composed only of connective tissue and serve as a protective covering for the brain and spinal cord.

Regarding the nature of the Triple Burner, Katō Bankei states on page 398 that ‘it (i.e. the Triple Burner) moves in between the palaces and depots’ and that ‘it resembles an external wall’, which ensures privacy and affords protection from negative influences. The numerous connective-tissue structures absolutely do reside in between all the palaces and depots (hollow organs and solid organs) throughout the three major body cavities as a scaffolding support structure. Likewise, the Triple-Energizer Metasystem in the form of Connective-Tissue Metasystem does wall off all the palaces and depots (hollow organs and solid organs, respectively) throughout the three major body cavities by covering them externally for protection and support.

35.6 Like the Triple Burner, the Fascia Is Described by Modern Researchers as an External Wall

In the commentaries on the 31st Difficult Issue on page 354 of Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nan Ching, regarding the root and the origin of the Triple Burner, scholar Yeh Lin states, ‘It is a fatty membrane emerging from the tie between the kidneys.’ Also in the commentaries on page 355 of the 31st Difficult Issue, Huang Weisan said, ‘The Triple Burner encloses all the depots and palaces externally. It is a fatty membrane covering the entire physical body from the inside’ (emphasis is mine). Once again, the description of the Triple-Energizer Metasystem matches exactly the description and function of the Connective-Tissue Metasystem with regard to being an external wall and with regard to being a ‘fatty membrane’ in that it is a membrane that exudes lubricating hyaluronic acid.

Every single tissue in the body is either connective tissue or other-than connective tissue. Connective tissue exists throughout the entire body and enmeshes and covers every tissue type and every organ that is not connective tissue. This omnipresent connective-tissue matrix makes up the Connective-Tissue Metasystem. It appears that wherever the Connective-Tissue Metasystem exists, so does the Triple-Energizer Metasystem.

35.13 Structure without Function Is a Corpse; Function without Structure Is a Ghost

Concerning the global nature and vitally important functionality of fascia, in the 2014 article ‘Fascia & Tensegrity’, Myers (110) explains that the omnipresent composite neuromyofascial web operates throughout our entire body and allows our body to perform optimally from moment to moment as gravity and many other surrounding forces impact us. He succinctly and poetically explains, ‘Structure without function is a corpse. But function without structure is a ghost.’ The currently held belief that joints perform their assigned role solely due to muscles impacting bones does not satisfactorily explain the intricacy and fluidity of human stability and movement. It is extremely obvious that because fascia responds locally as well as systemically throughout the body, the unappreciated and forgotten fascia plays a key role in the graceful processes and balance associated with human movement. Myers emphasizes that we simply must comprehend and appreciate the ‘geometry of tensegrity’ as it relates intimately to all movement within and throughout the body. Myers shows here that fascia and connective tissue respond systemically as well as locally throughout the entire body. As seen elsewhere throughout this book, this is also the case for the Triple-Energizer Metasystem.

35.14 The Fascia: The Forgotten Structure that Has Numerous Biological Roles

Here, Stecco et al. (45) describe fascias, connective-tissue fibers, primarily collagen, which are omnipresent throughout the body as a ‘unique’ ‘body-wide proprioceptive/communicating organ’. The word unique, as the term palace of uniqueness occurs only two times in Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nan Ching. In both cases, it refers to the Triple Burner as the ‘palace of uniqueness’. I discuss the communication aspect of the Triple-Energizer Metasystem and the synonymous Connective-Tissue Metasystem in detail elsewhere in the book.

Summary of Chapter 35

In Unschuld’s (1) translation of the Nanching, the word membrane is mentioned at least 17 times and always in connection with the Triple Energizer. What was called membranes in the Nanching would be called connective tissue today. Huang Wei-san (1), on page 355, said, ‘The Triple Burner encloses all the depots and palaces externally. It is a fatty membrane covering the entire physical body from the inside. Although it has no definite form and shape, it represents a great palace among the six palaces’ (emphasis is mine). Li Chiung (1), on page 396, states, ‘The Triple Burner represents nothing but membranes attached to the upper, central, and lower opening of the stomach. The Triple Burner has a name, but no real form.’

Regarding the Triple Burner, Katō Bankei (1), on page 398, states, ‘It steams inside of the membrane; it moves in between the palaces and depots. It resembles an external wall’ (emphasis is mine). The numerous connective-tissue structures absolutely do reside in between all the palaces and depots (hollow organs and solid organs respectively) throughout the three major body cavities as a scaffolding support structure. Likewise, the Triple-Energizer Metasystem in the form of the Connective-Tissue Metasystem does wall off all the palaces and depots (hollow organs and solid organs respectively) throughout the three major body cavities by covering them externally for protection and support. In response to injury or infection (peritonitis), membranes exude fluid and wall off or localize infection to prevent germs spreading. The Triple Burner certainly is a fatty membrane covering the entire physical body from the inside. The description of the Triple-Energizer Metasystem matches exactly the description and function of the Connective-Tissue Metasystem with regard to being an external wall and with regard to being a ‘fatty membrane’ in that it is a membrane that exudes lubricating hyaluronic acid.

It is obvious that the Triple-Energizer Metasystem is a ubiquitous maze of omnipresent membranes or connective tissue that permeates the entire body by wrapping all the numerous organs and structures with connective-tissue fascia, like a bag. This further allows communication between every cell in the body via the electrophysiological properties of the fascia. Along with the fluid supply and communication systems provided by the Triple-Energizer Metasystem, the Connective-Tissue Metasystem supplies the omnipresent structural framework and scaffolding for every organ and tissue system within the body that is not itself connective tissue.

Every single tissue in the body is either connective tissue or other-than connective tissue. Connective tissue exists throughout the entire body and enmeshes and covers every tissue type and every organ that is not connective tissue. This omnipresent connective-tissue matrix makes up the Connective-Tissue Metasystem. Wherever the Connective-Tissue Metasystem exists, so does the Triple-Energizer Metasystem, for they are intimately related.

REFERENCES:

(1) Unschuld, P. U., Nan Ching: The Classic of Difficult Issues (e-book edn, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986), 771. With commentaries by Chinese and Japanese authors from the third through the twentieth century.

(18) Maciocia, G., ‘The Triple Burner as a System of Cavities and a Three-Fold Division of the Body’ (2011). Available from <http://maciociaonline.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/triple-burner-as-system-of-cavities-and.html>.

(45) Stecco, C., V. Macchi, A. Porzionato A, F. Duparc, R. DeCaro, ‘The Fascia: The Forgotten Structure’, Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 116/3 (2011), 127–38.

(110) Myers, T., ‘Fascia & Tensegrity’ (2014). Available from <http://www.anatomytrains.com/fascia/>.

(124) Mader, S. S. and M. Windelspecht, Human Biology (10th edn, McGraw-Hill, 2011).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

I wish to sincerely thank Dr Paul U. Unschuld for the selfless and tireless work he has committed to make many ancient Chinese medical classics available in English for study and research. My book is based predominantly around his scholarly work ‘Nan-Ching: The Classic of Difficult Issues’. I also wish to sincerely thank Professor Unschuld for permission to use citations of his translation in my book. His translation of ‘Nan-Ching: The Classic of Difficult Issues’ can be purchased from the following link: https://www.amazon.com/Nan-ching_The-Classic-Difficult-Comparative-Studies/dp/0520053729

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             Sanjiao’s Mystique Demystified

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