The Heart Protector
In Chinese Medicine the functions of the Pericardium are said to be the same as for the Heart. Therefore, the Heart and Pericardium are both responsible for:
Governing the Blood and Dominates the Blood Vessels Housing the Mind and Shen
- Governing the Blood and Dominates the Blood Vessels
- Manifesting in the complexion
- Opening into the tongue
- Controlling sweat
Detailed discussion of these functions can be found in Functions of the Heart.
Although the function of the Pericardium is closely connected to the Heart, it does have one very distinct and independent role in Chinese Medicine. This is hinted at in its other name – the Heart Protector…
As the Supreme Controller and residence of our highest self, the Heart is considered in Chinese Medicine to be too pure and precious to deal with the everyday stuff of life, especially when this becomes challenging or polluted. Therefore, the Pericardium steps in as the secretary or PA to the Heart – filtering the emotions of the other organs, such as anger, fear, grief and worry, to ensure that the Heart doesn’t become too self obsessed, overloaded, or distraught.
When the Pericardium is functioning well, it allows through the amount of positivity and negativity that the Heart can process and learn from, which helps the Heart to experience its own emotion, Joy.
If the Pericardium is not functioning well, two possibilities arise. Either the Heart can become too open and exposed to the realities of life – leading to an acute sense of vulnerability, or it can shut down too much and cut the Heart off from being exposed to anything at all. This results in a state of emotional insensitivity and detachment.