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San Jiao Pattern Differentiation in Chinese Medicine

Patterns of the San Jiao

The San Jiao (Triple Burner) is not viewed as an organ distinct from other Zang Fu organs and therefore has no actual patterns. Patterns of the San Jiao are recognized by the same patterns that affect the organs contained therein.

Patterns associated with the areas of the San Jiao

  • Patterns of the Lung and Heart are the patterns of the Upper Jiao (Burner)
  • Patterns of the Spleen and Stomach are those of the Middle Jiao (Burner)
  • Patterns of the Lower Jiao (Burner) are those of the Kidney, Bladder, Small and Large Intestines

Particular patterns or disharmonies are more easily associated with the functions of the San Jiao.

Upper Jiao (Burner)

SJ-2, 3, 5, 8 (Head/Neck) SJ-1 (Chest/Shoulder)

The Upper Burner disperses and vaporizes the Body fluids of the upper body. This function falls under the scope of the Lung dispersing function, for this reason the Upper Jiao is compared to a "Mist".

In a disease state the function of dispersion is blocked usually by an exogenous pathogen (Wind Cold or Wind Heat), Defensive Qi circulation is impaired and the pore are blocked. This results in the manifestations occurring in invasion of the lungs by Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat.

When the San Jiao is attacked directly, usually by Wind-Heat rather than Wind-Cold, there will be deafness, lateral canthus pain, earache, mastoid pain, edema of the cheeks and throat soreness. Curiously, the tongue will typically have an abnormal coating (yellow or white) on one side only. Children frequently have red points on only one side of the tongue.

Middle Jiao (Burner)

SJ-6 (Abdomen/Hypochondriac)

The Middle Jiao digests food and drink (rotting and ripening), it's function is compared to the Stomach. Disorders of the Middle Jiao are usually characterized by accumulation/stagnation of food in the Stomach.

Lower Jiao (Burner)

SJ-4 (Pelvis)

The Lower Jiao transforms, separates and excretes fluids and is said to be the "Drainage Ditch". It's functions are those of the Bladder, Kidney, Small and Large Intestines.

In disease the Lower Jiao gives rise to symptoms of Damp-Heat or deficient and cold Bladder, Kidney Yang deficiency or Damp Heat in the Small Intestine. All of which result in dysfunction of micturition or defecation.