What the Heck is a Triple Energizer Anyway? 5/5 (46)

I get asked, at least once a day, what a Triple Energizer is. This strange TCM organ has several names–the Triple Energizer, San Jiao and Triple Burner. Typically, I give a quick response to my patients, explaining that it has to do with trunk of their body; consisting of the upper, middle and lower parts of their core and/or a pathway that goes through their arms and shoulders. That is usually enough to suffice their curiosity.

Three weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy that greatly affected my Triple Energizer channel. I wanted my body to heal as quickly and effectively as possible, and I had a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to study this strange organ on a deeper level. I learned some very interesting information which has broadened my understanding of this amazing phenomena known as the Triple Energizer. And–as a bonus–it is helping me heal faster.

When I was in college, I was a tutor. I loved tutoring because I felt that if I could study something that was complicated, then teach it to someone else, I learned it even better than my students. So today, I thought I would share what I have discovered with you. Are you ready to be tutored?

First, lets look at the Triple Energizer in relation to the Shao Yang.

Shao Yang = Triple Energizer and Gallbladder

The Shao Yang is a pivot between the Tai Yang and the Yang Ming. The Tai Yang relates to the exterior surface of the body and the Yang Ming relates to digestion. The Yang Ming regulates movement from the outside of the body to the internal organs. The Shao Yang is in the middle. If it doesn’t regulate smoothly, then problems arise with immunity in relation to the exterior surface of the body and internally with digestion–thus it is referred to as the pivot.

When you think of the Shao Yang, you should think Qi and Fluids

#1: Spaces which surround the internal organs:

  • The Triple Energizer is specifically in charge of regulating qi and fluids.
  • It isn’t really an organ. Instead, it has to do with the qi and fluids which move through the spaces that surround the internal organs known as the interstitial spaces.
  • When the Shao Yang is compromised, heat and qi become clumped in the interior of the body.

#2: Sinews and bones:

  • The Shao Yang is related to movement in the spaces between the sinews and bones where the synovial fluid moves.
  • Problems occur in the joints because of poor fluid circulation.

#3: Problems in the Shao Yang:

  • Related to lack of movement.
  • Stagnant qi in the TE causes painful constipation.
  • Stagnant qi with heat causes tinnitus, conjunctivitis, dizziness, and high blood pressure.

#4: Palpation to diagnose:

  • The channels can be palpated to confirm diagnosis. Palpate for bumpiness on the channel both in the arm and along the GB channel on the outer leg. Bumpiness means that the qi isn’t flowing properly. If there is tenderness AND bumps with palpation–then heat is involved.
  • Treatment of stagnant qi: TE 6 and GB 34 to dredge the channel and eliminate clumping.
  • Treatment of stagnant qi with HEAT: TE 5, GB 41.
  • If there is heat and stagnation–you must clear the heat first.

Now, let’s talk specifically about the Triple Energizer…

Some facts:

triple energizer

  • It has a name but it has no form. TE is not an organ which can be removed from the body or observed on a lab table.
  • The TE is yang in nature and it warms and moistens the internal organs to keep fluids moving.
  • The Source Qi is the primary stimulus of the TE. If the source qi is not strong, then the TE will be weak.
  • It regulates fluid–not only in the spaces around the organs as discussed above, but also in the fluid that surrounds the muscles, nerves and vessels in the peripheral limbs, interstitial fluid in the connective tissue.
  • All fluids in the TE ultimately come from and return to the blood at the capillary level.
  • If there are G.I. problems, the TE is a good starting point.

Specifics to think about when you see problems in the TE channel:

  • Metabolism: Think of the fluid pathway in cellular metabolism. The TE channel helps the conveyance and removal of waste from the cells.
  • Digestion: Because the TE regulates the fluids that surround the organs it also regulates peristaltic movement from the esophagus to the colon.
  • Hormones: The fluids guide hormonal information from one part of the body to the next.
  • Obesity: The greater omentum (part of the peritoneal lining which surrounds the organs) drapes over the lower abdomen and a lot of fatty deposits can be found there.

My own analysis of how surgery effects the Triple Energizer and the Shao Yang channel.

Anesthesia and the Triple Energizer don’t get along. When you put the body to sleep and stop all bodily functions, it takes a while to wake up and start functioning properly again. This is why it takes the bowels so long to work after surgery. I remember feeling extreme pain in my hips and the inability to lift my legs because of my surgical position. I immediately had a lot of work done on both the TE and the GB channels. The doctor was impressed with my progress and said: “It’s too bad that everyone can’t have acupuncture after surgery.”

My extreme lack of energy also took on a whole new meaning after studying the TE channel. The TE needs the source qi to keep things moving. My source qi didn’t want to help the TE because it was busy putting its energy into wound healing. This is why it takes so long to get your energy back after a surgery. Your source Qi is busy working on healing. The rest of your body becomes sluggish and slow. I have come to the conclusion that it is supposed to be sluggish and slow. Imagine what would happen if a surgical patient tried to get back to normal life too quickly. They would deplete their source qi in a hurry. I have also had problems with low appetite, lack of digestion and hormonal imbalances. All of these make sense when you understand the important roles of the TE.

Finally, why does it take three months before a person really feels back to normal? Toxins from the anesthesia stay in the body for months after a major surgery. It is the TE’s job to move fluids through the lymphatic system in order to cleanse the interstitial fluid.

I have learned a lot by sitting around with my feet up after surgery. I am not a very patient person and I’m not very good about sitting around and doing nothing. I have overcome that challenge by finding ways to help myself heal faster and tutor my blog followers!

Look forward to part two of this blog. I’m going to put the things that I have learned to the test on my patients when I get back to treating in my clinic. I can’t wait to report back. Look for a blog titled: Graph Analysis # 4: Triple Energizer.

Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.


Read ‘Graph Analysis # 4: Triple Energizer’ here.

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Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac.

Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac. is a US licensed acupuncturist in the state of Idaho and certified in the treatment of acupuncture, Oriental medicine and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Kimberly wears multiple hats in the acupuncture community. She owns her private clinic, Meridian Family Acupuncture. She has spent the last 10 years working for Miridia Technology as an acupuncture Research Analyst–where she helps plan, develop, and integrate modern diagnostic and treatment tools for the ever-evolving scientific world of acupuncture. Kimberly is a world-renown teacher, blogger, columnist, and mentor in the acupuncture community.

14 Replies to “What the Heck is a Triple Energizer Anyway?

  1. What a great review! Thanks, I had heard that the Chinese use acupuncture for anesthesia and that the recovery time is much faster and easier. It does not shut down the systems like the anesthesia does. I may have gotten that information from my Chinese teacher when I was in school.

    1. What heard about acupuncture in anesthesia is better and safe need more information abbot TE

  2. Excellent blog Kimberly, as usually your summary of how it all flows is captivating. You still have those tutoring skills- fortunate for us. Be kind to yourself as your body heals.

  3. So that’s why you were in the hospital. Now you’ve got me confused. Don’t know whether should thank you for the wonderful article, or should admonish you for working when you should have been resting. What a paradox.

    1. Thanks for your concern Chetan. I tried my BEST to lay around doing NOTHING. It just wasn’t in me, unless I was completely drugged up. Since that wasn’t a very good option, I decided to lay around and do something that I really enjoy. I’m kind of nerdy in that way. I love devouring Chinese medicine text books, and I don’t usually have the time.

      I did watch a a lot of movies also! 😉

      Best regards~


  4. i like people like this you are open to every one may god bless you.i well like to ear from you again

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