Massage, Movement, and Martial Arts: Physical Therapy TCM Style
Massage and Body Work
Touching the Body, Moving the Qi
Massage was a precursor of acupuncture as the ancients learned to make the qi respond to touch and to the qi of the practitioner. Through millennia of massage and observation, the pathways were discovered, and so were many of the acupuncture points.
Asian massage promotes the movement of Qi, Blood, and fluids. TUI NA, SHIATSU and other massage techniques are used for healing and to prevent illness as well as for pleasure.
Like yin and yang, Asian massage should be hard and soft, fast and slow, pleasurable yet slightly painful. Points and channels are stimulated to promote flow. Limbs are stretched and pulled. Sometimes the torso is gently twisted. You won't fall asleep getting shiatsu or TUI NA. You will feel thoroughly massaged.
Movement & Martial Arts
Movement and Health
The Door Hinge Never Rusts
Stagnation is the enemy of health. Activity, the great remedy.
Movement Quickens the Blood and Scours the Vessels; permitting the free flow of blood and qi. Exercise extends the blood to the smallest vessels, deeply nourishing the body. This same circulation clears waste. When you are lethargic, your cells wallow in their own excrement
Qi Gong (Chi Kung):
Ruling The Qi
Qi Gong (Chi Kung) is a method of energy cultivation to enable internal power. It is used for health, vitality, increasing longevity, athletic performance, and expanding the mind."
Qi Gong is not exactly meditation. In meditation, the mind is stilled to reach a state of awareness or union with the Absolute. In Qi Gong, the mind is focused on directing energy, rather than thinking or not thinking. This is called Hsing Qi meaning where the mind goes, the energy follows.
Qi Gong isn't exactly visualization either. Image-matter created by visualization arises in the imagination, existing yet not existing. Qi, however, exists. Qi exists outside the imagination. Qi Gong, therefore, is a much more physical and arguably more powerful discipline than creative visualization.
Tai Qi is a discipline of exercises developed by Taoist monks in the 13th century. It's a martial art that can be practiced at any age. Its movements are gentle and fluid, not forceful. It's practice is for self defense, but also for self improvement.
Tai Qi improves coordination and helps harmonize mind and body. Studies show that tai qi benefits the body in profound ways. Improved mental outlook, better coronary circulation, higher immunity, lower incidence of pain have been shown. Studies on senior citizens show that T'ai Qi improves balance and prevents falls.
If you want to study T'ai Qi, check your yellow pages under "Martial Arts".