Also known as the triple burner or san jiao, the triple warmer meridian is unique in that it is not energetically tied to a specific organ in the body. In fact, this meridian helps to regulate all the organs and energy in the body. This is why the triple warmer is often referred to as the organ with function, but no form.
Recently, however, scientists have discovered a new organ-like structure in the body called the interstitium, which is a network of chambers attached to the major organs of the body.1 This discovery is leading many people to believe that the interstitium is indeed the triple warmer meridian. It’s clear that the interstitium does share a number of similarities with the triple warmer, most notably that they both assist with the transportation of fluids throughout the body.
Triple warmer meridian location
The triple warmer meridian consists of 23 acupuncture points. The meridian begins at the tip of the ring finger and passes between the knuckles of the ring and pinkie fingers. It then goes between the two bones of the arm and to the shoulder via the tip of the elbow and back of the upper arm.
From the shoulder, the triple warmer then descends to the chest to connect with the pericardium meridian, then ascends back up to the collarbone. Finally, this meridian goes up the side of the neck and around the ear before ending at the temple.
Triple warmer meridian function
The triple warmer not only transports, but also assists in transforming fluids and solids so they can be used or eliminated by the body. Additionally, this meridian is believed to play an important role in circulating qi, or vital energy, throughout the body.2
The triple warmer meridian gets its name from its 3 parts, or burners, known as the upper, middle, and lower burners:
- Located above the diaphragm, the upper burner regulates intake. It includes the head, heart, pericardium, throat, and lungs.
- The middle burner extends from the diaphragm to the naval. This burner controls transformation and includes the stomach, spleen, liver, and gallbladder.
- The lower burner regulates elimination. It is located below the diaphragm and includes the kidneys, bladder, large and small intestines, uterus/testes, and genitalia.
In addition to controlling transformation and transportation within the body, the triple warmer is also said to regulate our stress and immune system responses. In our stressful modern lives, it is more common to have excess heat in the triple warmer meridian, leading to excessive activation of our fight-or-flight response and setting the stage for chronic inflammation.2
The triple warmer is a yang meridian that is paired with the yin pericardium meridian, which is known as the protector of the heart. It is also connected to the 4 back molars, or wisdom teeth, and much of the middle and lower vertebrae starting with the 9th thoracic vertebrae and ending with the coccyx. Thus, an unbalanced triple warmer may cause issues in these areas, and vice versa.
In addition to these teeth and vertebrae, this meridian is also most closely connected to the following organs:
- Pineal gland
With these energetic connections, it’s easy to see why the triple warmer plays such a large role in our stress response.
Signs of triple warmer meridian imbalance
A number of health conditions are associated with an imbalanced triple warmer meridian. When it is frequently overstimulated, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Cold hands and feet
- Cold or fever
- Stomach problems
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Autoimmune disorders
- Muscle pain
- Eye redness
- Anxiety3 4
If you suffer from these symptoms, you may want to visit a holistic practitioner. An acupuncturist or other doctor who practices Oriental medicine may be able to diagnose a triple warmer imbalance by checking your tongue, pulse, and palpation. Additionally, an electrodermal screening device such as ZYTO can give you a better idea of whether this meridian needs additional support.
Soothing the triple warmer meridian
Although the triple warmer can become overstimulated easily, there are simple things you can do to soothe this meridian and get it back into balance. One easy way to soothe the triple warmer is to simply trace the meridian backwards with your finger. To do this, place a finger of your opposite hand on your temple, then trace down around the ear, around the shoulder, to the elbow, and around to your ring finger.
Another simple way to sedate the triple warmer is to simply tap inside the groove between the knuckles of your pinkie and ring finger. This is an easy way to calm yourself down if you are worried or have anxiety.
Other methods to calm this meridian include the Triple Warmer Smoothie, Triple Warmer Hug, and holding neurovascular points. The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine provides the steps for each of these methods as well as instructional videos.5
Diet & lifestyle for triple warmer balance
In traditional Chinese medicine, the triple warmer meridian belongs to the fire element. So if you have an imbalanced triple warmer, you can focus on eating foods that enhance this element, such as:
- Brussels sprouts
- Ginger 6
Along with a balanced diet that includes these foods, adequate exercise is also important to keep the triple warmer balanced. Brain gym exercises such as cross crawling and lazy 8s are recommended specifically for balancing this meridian.
Herbs & oils for triple warmer health
There are a variety of herbs that can assist in balancing the triple warmer meridian. Gardenia and coptis are two herbs that can be used to reduce excess fire in the heart, and platycodon can help to warm and open the lungs.7 Another key herb that helps to regulate triple warmer function is Zhi Zi.8
As far as essential oils, those that balance the fire element are also typically good for the triple warmer. These include:
- Ylang ylang
Triple Warmer Meridian stressor Virtual Item
The digital signature representing the triple warmer meridian is automatically scanned in the ZYTO Balance biosurvey, along with all the other TCM Meridians. Responses for TCM Meridian Virtual Items can be viewed in the Standard Report, Advanced Report, and All Stressors by Category Report.
In addition to the Balance, the Triple Warmer Meridian and other TCM meridians are also available to scan in the ZYTO Select and Elite software. With this software, a digital signature representing Triple Warmer Meridian Issues can also be scanned. This category includes the following items:
Triple Warmer Meridian balancer Virtual Items
Digital signatures representing items such as supplements and lifestyle choices are typically scanned after the TCM Meridians and other stressors are scanned. Any stressor Virtual Items that are out of range are brought back into range by the balancing items.
If the Triple Warmer Meridian is out of range, you can see which balancer Virtual Item brought it back into range in the Biomarker Progress Chart in the Advanced Report.
Like other TCM meridians, emotions play a big role in the overall health of the triple warmer meridian. Emotional imbalances that impact this meridian, such as fear, greed, and grief, can be addressed with EVOX perception reframing.
About Dr. Vaughn Cook
Dr. Vaughn R Cook is the Founder & CEO of ZYTO. An Oriental Medical Doctor (OMD) and licensed acupuncturist, he has worked in the complementary and alternative medical field for more than 30 years, specializing in applications that integrate Western and Eastern medicine.
1. “Is the Newly Discovered Interstitium the Mysterious Triple Warmer?” Ravenswood Chiropractic & Wellness Center. Rennwellness.com.
2. “Triple Burner.” Shen-Nong Limited. Shen-nong.com.
3. “The Triple Warmer Meridian.” NaturalHealthZone. Natural-health-zone.com.
4. “Triple Warmer Meridian Symptoms.” MindBodyTarot.com. Mindbodytarot.com.
5. “Calming the Triple Warmer Meridian to Improve Sleep.” The Kaplan Center. Kaplanclinic.com.
6. “Foods that Benefit Each Body System.” Balanced Concepts. Balancedconcepts.net.
7. Dharmananda, Subhuti. “Triple Burner (SanJiao) with reference to treatment of Sjogren’s Syndrome.” Institute for Traditional Medicine. Itmonline.org.
8. Yang, Yifan. Chinese Herbal Medicines (Second Edition): Chapter Three – Herbs that clear Heat (London, UK: Churchill Livingstone, 2009).