Qigong for Strengthening and Massaging the Internal Organs
Your internal organs are the foundation of your health. Most deaths are due to the malfunction or failure of the internal organs. In order to be healthy and avoid degeneration, your organs need to have the correct amount of Qi circulating smoothly through them.
The internal organs manage the energy in our bodies, and carry out a variety of physical processes. When any organ starts to malfunction, the Qi circulation in the body will be disrupted, and the production of hormones will be affected. This state can result in a variety of disorders, including gouty arthritis.
The following, "Massaging Internal Organs with Movement," is one of two methods commonly used to improve Qi circulation. Other types of Qigong method to improve Qi circulation are direct massage over the organs or on acupuncture cavities, which are connected to the organs.
Massaging the Internal Organs with Movement
Muscles surround all of the internal organs. Except for some of the trunk muscles that we use constantly throughout the day, most of these muscles are ignored. According to Qigong theory, if you can bring your Yi (wisdom mind) to a muscle, you can lead Qi to energize it and move it. For example, if you decide you want to be able to wiggle your ears and keep trying, you will eventually be able to. It's the same with the internal muscles. This means that, if you practice becoming very calm and bring your attention deeper and deeper into the center of your body, you will soon be able to feel and sense the structure and condition of the insides of your body. Once this happens you can use your mind to move the internal muscles and massage the internal organs.
The way to reach this goal is to start by using your trunk muscles to make the muscles deeper inside your body move. After you have practiced for a while, your mind will be able to reach deeper and feel other muscles as well. Once you are able to feel these muscles, you will be able to move them. With a bit more practice you will be able to control them while keeping them relaxed, and the movements will become natural, easy, and comfortable. Remember that the muscles have to be relaxed before the organs can be relaxed and before the Qi can circulate smoothly. If you want to learn more, please refer to Simple Qigong Exercises for Health book/DVD and Qigong Massage book/DVD.
It's a good idea to loosen up your trunk before starting these massaging movements.
Loosening the Torso Muscles
The torso is the center of the whole body, and it contains the muscles that control the torso and also surround the internal organs. When the torso muscles are tense, the whole body will be tense and the internal organs will be compressed. This causes stagnation of the Qi circulation in the body and especially in the organs. For this reason, the torso muscles should be stretched and loosened up before any moving Qigong practice.
First, interlock your fingers and lift your hands up over your head while imagining that you are pushing upward with your hands and pushing downward with your feet. Do not tense your muscles, because this will constrict your body and prevent you from stretching. If you do this stretch correctly, you will feel the muscles in your waist area tensing slightly because they are being pulled simultaneously from the top and the bottom. Next, use your mind to relax even more, and stretch out a little bit more.
After you have stretched for about ten seconds, turn your upper body to one side to twist the trunk muscles. Stay to the side for three to five seconds, turn your body to face forward and then turn to the other side. Stay there for three to five seconds. Repeat the upper body twisting three times, then tilt your upper body to the side and stay there for about three seconds then tilt to the other side.
Next, bend forward and touch your hands to the floor and stay there for three to five seconds. Finally, squat down with your feet flat on the floor to stretch your ankles, and then lift your heels up to stretch the toes. Repeat the entire process ten times. After you finish, the inside of your body should feel very comfortable and warm.
The torso is supported by the spine and the trunk muscles. Once you have stretched your trunk muscles, you can loosen up the torso. This also moves the muscles inside your body around, which moves and relaxes your internal organs. This, in turn, makes it possible for the Qi to circulate smoothly inside your body.
a. Massaging the Large Intestine, Small Intestine, Urinary Bladder, and Kidneys
This exercise helps you to regain conscious control of the muscles in your abdomen. There are four major benefits to this abdominal exercise. First, when your Lower Dan Tian (Xia Dan Tian,) area is loose, the Qi can flow in and out easily. The Lower Dan Tian is the main residence of your Original Qi (Yuan Qi,). The Qi in your Dan Tian can be led easily only when your abdomen is loose and relaxed. Second, when the abdominal area is loose, the Qi circulation in the large and small intestines will be smooth, and they will be able to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste more efficiently.
If your body does not eliminate effectively, the absorption of nutrients will be hindered, and you may become sick. Third, when the abdominal area is loose, the Qi in the kidneys will circulate smoothly and the Original Essence stored there can be converted more efficiently into Qi. In addition, when the kidney area is loose, the kidney Qi can be led downward and upward to nourish the entire body. Fourth, these exercises eliminate Qi stagnation in the lower back, healing and preventing lower back pain.
To practice this exercise, stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart and your knees slightly bent. As you get more used to this exercise and your legs become stronger, bend your knees a little bit more. Without moving your thighs or upper body, use the waist muscles to move the abdomen around in a horizontal circle. Circle in one direction about ten times, and then in the other direction about ten times. If you hold one hand over your Lower Dan Tian and the other on your sacrum, you may be able to focus your attention better on the area you want to control.
Once you can do the movement comfortably, make the circles larger and larger. Naturally, this will cause the muscles to tense somewhat and inhibit the Qi flow, but the more you practice the sooner you will be able to relax again. After you have practiced for a while and can control your waist muscles easily, start making the circles smaller, and also start using your Yi to lead the Qi from the Dan Tian to move in these circles. The final goal is to have only a slight physical movement, but a strong movement of Qi.
When you practice, concentrate your mind on your abdomen, and inhale and exhale deeply and smoothly. Remember that breathing deep does not mean breathing heavily.
b.) Massaging the Stomach, Liver, Spleen, Gall Bladder, and Kidneys
Beneath your diaphragm is your stomach, to the right are your liver and gall bladder, and to the left is your spleen, and in the back are your kidneys. Once you can comfortably do the circular movement in your lower abdomen, change the movement from horizontal to vertical, and extend it up to your diaphragm. The easiest way to loosen the area around the diaphragm is to use a wave-like motion between the perineum and the diaphragm
You may find it helpful when you practice this to place one hand on your Lower Dan Tian and your other hand above it with the thumb on the solar plexus. Use a forward and backward wave-like motion, flowing up to the diaphragm and down to the perineum and back. While you do this, inhale deeply when the motion is starting at the perineum and exhale as it reaches the diaphragm. Practice ten times.
Next, continue the movement while turning your body slowly to one side and then to the other. This will slightly tense the muscles on one side and loosen them on the other, which will massage the internal organs. Repeat ten times.
This exercise loosens the muscles around the stomach, liver, gall bladder, spleen, and kidneys, and therefore improves the Qi circulation there. It also trains you in using your mind to lead Qi from your Lower Dan Tian upward to the solar plexus area.
(The above excerpt is from Arthritis—The Chinese Way of Healing and Prevention by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.)