The heart controls the blood and blood vessels. When the heart is healthy, it pumps blood vigorously through the vessels to all parts of the body, nourishing the organs and maintaining vitality. A deficiency in this function can appear as pale complexion, cold hands and feet, palpitations, insomnia, and emotional disturbances.

The heart manifests on the face. When the heart is strong and possesses sufficient blood, the complexion is rosy, and the individual looks robust and healthy. When the heart blood is deficient, on the other hand, the person looks pale and unhealthy. If heart yang or qi is deficient, the complexion may appear bluish, especially in the lips.

The heart houses the Shen (spirit) and mind. This function encompasses the full range of human consciousness, including emotional health, mental function, memory and spirituality. When the yin of the heart is deficient, a person can experience symptoms such as palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness.

When the heart blood is deficient, poor memory, depression and a tendency to be “spaced out” or “in the clouds” can result. The heart opens onto the tongue. In Chinese physiology, when an internal organ opens onto a sensory organ, it means the two organs are linked through structure, function, or physiology.

By examining the sensory organ, a practitioner can determine much about the health of the internal organ linked to it. The tongue (the organ of taste) can indicate health or imbalance in all the organs. A pale tongue can indicate heart blood deficiency, while a red tongue with no coating may indicate heart yin deficiency.

On another level, “the heart controls speech.” Heart deficiency syndromes can lead to a withdrawn, quiet demeanor. In most spiritual traditions around the world speech is regarded as a powerful force and aspirants are therefore advised to speak the truth of their hearts. The ancient Chinese also believed this and called the tongue the “sprout of the heart.”

From a bioenergetic perspective each quadrant of your heart corresponds to a part of your brain. While the heart heals, so must the brain and the nervous system.