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Small Intestine

The first of the Heart’s assistant Fire meridians is the Small Intestine. I suggest trying not to over think the physical connection between the Heart and Small Intestine right now but rather imagine it as a loyal soldier at the gate of the Emperor’s castle who meets visitors and politely asks them to state their business. The Small Intestine is primarily concerned with arrivals that may threaten peace in the kingdom

By now you have probably noticed Traditional East Asian Medicine includes environmental stimuli in the same category as food, that is taking in things from outside the body. We can absorb bad feelings as well as bad nutrition. The Small Intestine energy demonstrates discernment and clarity with its first line response. Only useful information is allowed through to the Emperor (Heart).

The Small Intestine meridian starts at the tip of the little finger, runs along the little finger side of the forearm and upper arm into the back of the shoulder and up the neck.

In martial arts it is the Small Intestine channel we present to block a hostile attack, or absorb the impact of a forward roll so we don’t damage our head and neck. The Small Intestine channel ends in front of the ears so we say that some hearing problems can be attributed to the Small Intestine protecting us from things we don’t want to hear. Pain under the scapula can occur when we are blocking painful emotions from being fully felt. 

On the physical plane, the small intestine separates ‘pure’ from ‘impure’ substances, sending food to the large intestine and fluids to excrete via the bladder. SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) is a condition where the small intestine has failed to block bacterial back flow from the large intestine. Symptoms include abdominal discomfort, bowel changes and weight loss as well as mental fogginess. Please always take such symptoms seriously and get thoroughly assessed by your GP as SIBO is not the only cause of those types of symptoms. 

There is a parallel here with the TEAM diagnosis of some types of emotional and metal confusion corresponding to failings the Small Intestine meridian. Shock or a refusal to assimilate incomprehensible or traumatic events can cause us to recruit the Small Intestine to protect the Heart and literally ‘shoulder’ the impact. Invasive thoughts can also come from within our mind. Remember the mind should be in abeyance to the Heart not dictating to it. An inability to acknowledge and own our negative thoughts can result in behaving as if spilt off or disassociated. We can appear to have no memory of the past or experience brain fog, not unlike with SIBO

Brain fog is different from overwhelm or anxiety. It is as it sounds, like a cloud has descended on the mind making it hard to discern our own voice from that of those around us or separate our true beliefs from contaminated ones. The Heart is so precious that we must do everything possible to take care of it and brave warrior, Small Intestine offers us a shroud to hide behind so we don’t take anymore in while it works to drain the muddy pond from below. Once the sediment has been removed, the fog disperses and we are able to see a true reflection of our self in the clear pond of our Heart. 
Heart and Small Intestine stretch
Sit on the floor with soles of the feet touching and hands holding the toes. Take a breath in and on the out breath gently curl forward allowing the chest to soften and the elbows to move towards the floor. Don’t worry if you can’t reach all the way to the ground – don’t force it. Take three to four deep breaths in and out, noticing how protected and safe your soft front feels within the frame of your arms.   Slowly sit up as you breathe out on your final round.

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