Taijiquan & Daoyin

Notes, scribbles, lost thoughts...
on Taiji, China, Zhongwen and Dao
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Just returned with a bag full of chinese herbs to cater for my shoulder: 

- Nourish the Root and Clear Wind: Indications in Chinese Medicine:
Pattern: Chronic Wind-Damp Painful Obstruction (Bi) Syndrome occurring against a background of Kidney-Yin deficiency.
Action: Nourish the Kidneys and Liver, strengthen bones and sinews, expel Wind-Dampness from the joints.
Tongue: Red without coating or with a rootless coating.
Pulse: Weak on both rear positions or floating-empty.

- Soothe the centre: Indications in Chinese Medicine:
Pattern: Stomach- and Spleen-Qi deficiency, Stomach-Yin deficiency, Dampness and stagnation of Qi in the Middle Burner.
Action: Tonify Qi, strengthen the Spleen, nourish Stomach-Yin, resolve Dampness and move Qi in the Centre.
Tongue: Pale, teethmarks, sticky coating in the centre. If there is some Stomach-Yin deficiency, the coating might be slightly rootless in the centre; if there is chronic, severe Spleen-Qi deficiency, there might be small transversal cracks on the sides.
Pulse: Weak, especially on the right middle position.

To nourish Yin, one would use points such as SP-6 Sanyinjiao, Ren-12 Zhongwan or KI-3 Taixi.  Generally, one can use the Yuan points of the Yin organs to nourish Yin (KI-3 Taixi, LIV-3 Taichong, SP-3 Taibai, LU-9 Taiyuan, HE-7 Shenmen)…. just a reminder ;)

As Google rates websites also by their loading speed, I have sped up loading time for my main Taiji and Qigong site, so far only the homepage shows significant improvement:

See for yourself if you can spot the difference: http://www.weiqi.nl

Before starting our discussion I would like to clarify something regarding the nature of Damp-Heat. In Damp-Heat, Dampness is the predominant pathogenic factor: it is the Dampness that is hot, not the Heat that is damp. In fact, it would be better to call it “Hot Dampness” rather than “Damp-Heat”; however, I will continue calling it “Damp-Heat” because this term is in such common use. This means that, in the treatment of Damp-Heat, we must concentrate on draining or resolving Dampness rather than on clearing Heat. However, we do of course use cold herbs too to clear Heat.

I would like also to point out that generally Chinese books and doctors overstate the frequency of Damp-Heat and always talk about Damp-Heat, seldom of “Dampness”. For example, in China, every urinary problem is due to Damp-Heat, whereas we also see a lot of urinary problems with Dampness but without Heat, and a lot of urinary problems caused by Qi stagnation or Qi sinking. Similarly, any Gall-Bladder problem will always be attributed to Gall-Bladder Damp-Heat, whereas in the West we see a lot of patients with Gall-Bladder problems and Dampness but not much Heat. I discuss here Dampness in the context of Heat because it is such a common pathogenic factor in many different symptoms and diseases.


AETIOLOGY OF DAMPNESS

EXTERNAL

Dampness can derive from environmental or climatic dampness: thus, it may be due to humid weather (whether hot or cold), but also to damp living conditions, such as living in damp houses. Exterior Dampness can also be caught by wearing wet clothes, wading in water, working in damp places or sitting on damp ground.

Seasonal
External Damp-Heat is more predominant in summer and late summer, and specifically from the “Great Heat” period (of the 24 periods of a year) to the “White Dew” period, i.e. roughly two months before the Autumn equinox.

Prevailing Qi of the place
The seasonal is a heavenly exterior factor, the prevailing Qi of a place is an earthly exterior factor. This is due to prevailing conditions of a place, i.e. a low-lying, damp place, a place prone to fog, damp living conditions in the house, etc.

INTERNAL

Diet
Dampness may result from the excessive consumption of greasy foods, dairy foods, sweets, sugar, cold-raw foods. Damp-Heat may also arise from excessive alcohol drinking together with that of greasy-fried foods. Dampness may also be due to overeating (in the same way as Retention of Food) or from irregular eating habits.

Work
Excessive physical work (including sports, exercises, lifting, gym, etc.) can weaken the Spleen and lead to Dampness. Internal injury of Spleen Weakness of the Spleen deriving from a chronic illness.

CONSTITUTIONAL

A constitutional weakness of the Earth element predisposes the patient to Spleen deficiency and Dampness. On the other hand, a constitutional tendency to a Fullness of the Earth (for example, people with a constitutional tendency to Stomach-Heat) may lead to Heat in the Stomach and Spleen which combines with Dampness.


CHARACTERISTICS OF DAMPNESS


The following are the characteristics of Dampness:

- it is sticky
- it is difficult to get rid of
- it is heavy
- it slows things down
- it infuses downwards
- it causes repeated attacks
- it is lingering

When exterior Dampness invades the body, it tends to invade the lower part first, typically the legs. From the legs, it can flow upwards in the leg channels to settle in any of the pelvic cavity organs. If it settles in the female genital system it causes vaginal discharges, if it settles in the Intestines it will cause loose stools and if it settles in the Bladder it will cause difficulty, frequency and burning of urination. However, Dampness is also common in the head and always the cause of sinusitis for example.

The clinical manifestations of Dampness are extremely varied according to its location and nature (hot or cold), but the general ones are:

- a feeling of heaviness of body or head
- no appetite
- a feeling of fullness of chest or epigastrium
- a sticky taste
- a vaginal discharge
- a sticky tongue coating
- Slippery or Soggy pulse.

According to its location, the more specific clinical manifestations of internal Dampness are:

- Head: feeling of heaviness of the head
- Eyes: red-swollen eyelids, eyes oozing a fluid, sties
- Mouth: mouth ulcers on gums, swollen-red lips
- Stomach and Spleen: feeling of fullness of epigastrium, feeling of fullness after eating, sticky taste, loose 
  stools, poor appetite, Soggy pulse.
- Lower Burner: excessive vaginal discharge, painful periods, infertility, turbid urine, difficult and painful
  urination, scrotal sweating or eczema, genital eczema, genital itching.
- Skin: papules (Damp-Heat with more Heat), vesicles (Dampness without Heat), pustules, (Damp-Heat
  with Toxic Heat), greasy sweat, boils, any oozing skin lesion, oozing eczema, puffy skin.
- Joints: swollen-painful joints (Fixed Bi syndrome).
- Luo Channels: numbness and loss of sensation.

Figure 1 illustrates the classification of Dampness.



TREATMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DAMPNESS


There are many treatment principles when treating Dampness depending on its nature (hot or cold) and its location.  I will discuss only the three major ones: drain Dampness through urination with bland-neutral herbs, resolve Dampness from the digestive system and muscles through sweating with fragrant-pungent herbs and dry Dampness with bitter-cold herbs.

Table 1, 2 and 3 illustrate the main herbs and formulae according to the above treatment principles.


Table 1. Bland-neutral herbs and formulae for Dampness which drain Dampness through urination. 


Table 2. Fragrant-pungent herbs and formulae for Dampness in the digestive system and muscles which resolve Dampness through sweating.





Table 3. Bitter-cold herbs and formulae for Damp-Heat which dry Dampness.


SUMMARY OF TASTES/TEMPERATURE AND ACTIONS


To summarize the three main treatment principles for Dampness with examples of herbs, these are:
Drain Dampness through urination, diuretics (FU LING)
Resolve Dampness through sweating (CANG ZHU)
Dry Dampness (HUANG QIN)

These are also summarized in Figure 2.


Figure. 2. The three main treatment principles for Dampness with sub-types.

Damp-Heat should be discussed separately from Heat because it is such a common pathogenic factor that can be the cause of a very wide variety of problems.

Damp-Heat is particularly important as a pathogenic factor because it itself can become a cause of disease.  In fact, not only Dampness obstructs the Qi mechanism leading to more Dampness, but Heat also dries up the fluids and condenses them into more Dampness.  Furthermore, the Heat part of Damp-Heat (especially if predominant) may also injure Yin. These pathological processes are illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3.  Consequences of Damp-Heat.



CHARACTERISTICS OF DAMP-HEAT

I discussed above the characteristics of Dampness; here I describe the characteristics of Damp-Heat.

1) Seasonal character
Prevalent in summer and late summer, even in countries that are not that hot but are damp in the summer.  The seasonal Damp-Heat also exacerbates a pre-existing internal condition of Damp-Heat (e.g. urinary problems, Gall-Bladder problems, Wei syndrome, MS, intestinal problems, etc.).

2) Lingering, long course of disease
Damp-Heat is lingering. The Heat part of Damp-Heat also perpetuates the problem as Heat condenses the body fluids into Dampness.

3) Gives rise to Phlegm
Damp-Heat easily gives rise to Phlegm and Phlegm-Heat because the Heat in Damp-Heat can condense the body fluids into Phlegm.

4) Manifests with complex symptoms
Due to the combination of Dampness and Heat which may give rise to contradicting symptoms and signs.  For example, the patient may feel hot (from Heat) but the skin may be cold to the touch, or he may have cold feet.  Or the patient may feel cold in general, but he may also get hot easily.  There may be a feeling of heat but the pulse is not rapid or vice versa.  There may be a thirst (because of the Heat) but with no desire to drink (because of the Dampness).  The bowels may be sometimes loose (from Dampness) and sometimes dry (from Heat).

5) Damp-Heat may injure Yin
The Heat part of Damp-Heat, if predominant, may injure Yin: this leads to even more complex clinical manifestations, e.g. the patient has obvious symptoms of Damp-Heat but the tongue has no coating.

6) Damp-Heat is frequently toxic (Toxic Heat)
Damp-Heat frequently gives rise to Toxic Heat.  Toxic Heat is characterized by heat, swelling, pain and often pus.  A skin bacterial infection causing pustules is an example of Toxic Heat.

7) Damp-Heat easily damages Stomach and Spleen
Of course, Dampness by itself also damages Stomach and Spleen but Damp-Heat even more because Dampness tends to injure the Spleen while Heat tends to injure the Qi and Yin of the Stomach. 

SYMPTOMS OF DAMP-HEAT

The following is a summary of the symptoms of Damp-Heat.  Please note that symptoms such as low-grade fever or afternoon fever are not common and they appear only when the Heat is pronounced.

greasy skin
weariness
ache in muscles
night-sweating
low-grade fever
feeling of heat
body hot to touch
afternoon fever (rare)

poor appetite
a feeling of oppression of the epigastrium
a feeling of heaviness of body and head
nausea
vomiting
abdominal distension
sticky taste
thirst with no desire to drink

turbid urine
scanty-dark urine
difficult urination
loose-smelly stools


SKIN SYMPTOMS OF DAMP-HEAT             

There are many skin diseases that manifest with Damp-Heat; for example, eczema and acne. There are three main skin eruptions to consider: papules, vesicles and pustules.

Papules

Papules are red and stick out. They may indicate Damp-Heat but they may also indicate Heat.  Examples of papules from Damp-Heat are eczema, acne and herpes.




Vesicles

Vesicles also stick out but are not red and are filled with a clear fluid. An example of vesicles is the rash that appears in chicken pox.



Pustules

Pustules are like vesicles but they are red and filled with pus. Acne presents with pustules if the skin spots are large, red and painful.



Many signs indicate Damp-Heat such as oozing skin eruptions, swollen-painful eyes, sty on eyelids, oozing eyes, mouth ulcers. The following three pictures are examples of Damp-Heat.



The picture below  is an example of Damp-Heat with Toxic-Heat.



When diagnosing Damp-Heat we must differentiate between prevalence of Dampness and prevalence of Heat because it makes a difference to the treatment.  In prevalence of Dampness we will use bland-neutral  or pungent-fragrant herbs and formulae.  In prevalence of Heat, we will use bitter-cold herbs and formulae.


The following illustrates the differentiation between prevalence of Dampness and prevalence of Heat in Damp-Heat. 

Prevalence of Dampness
Fever, feeling of heat, greasy sweat, greasy skin
Face pale-yellow
Feeling of heaviness of eyes and head
Sweet-sticky taste, no thirst, likes warm drinks
Weariness, likes to lie down, feeling of oppression of the chest, likes to be quiet, no irritability
Poor Appetite
Stools with mucus or watery, turbid urine
Sticky-white or sticky-yellow tongue coating
Pulse Slow, Weak-Floating    

Prevalence of Heat
More fever or feeling of heat, skin not greasy
Face red
Slightly red eyes, dizziness, headache
Bitter taste, no desire to drink
Irritability, insomnia
Hungry but no desire to eat
Constipation, scanty-dark urine
Red tongue-body, or red sides, sticky-dry-yellow coating
Pulse Rapid and weak-Floating or Rapid and Wiry


TREATMENT OF DAMPNESS WITH ACUPUNCTURE

With acupuncture, when treating Damp-Heat, we must concentrate the attention on draining or resolving Dampness. In order to do that, I stimulate the movement, transformation and excretion of fluids in each of the three Burners with the points listed below.

- Upper Burner: Du-26 Shuigou, LU-7 Lieque, LI-4 Hegu, LI-6 Pianli, TB-4 Yangchi, TB-6 Zhigou, Ren-17 Shanzhong.
- Middle Burner: Ren-9 Shuifen, Ren-12 Zhongwan, ST-22 Guanmen, Ren-11 Jianli.
- Lower Burner: ST-28 Shuidao, BL-22 Sanjiaoshu, Ren-5 Shimen, BL-39 Weiyang, SP-9 Yinlingquan, SP-6 Sanyinjiao, KI-7 Fuliu.

For example, for Dampness in the Lower Burner, I would use several points from the Lower Burner list but also some of the Upper and Middle Burner, e.g. Ren-5 Shimen, BL-39 Weiyang, SP-9 Yinlingquan, BL-22 Sanjiaoshu  (Lower Burner) plus LU-7 Lieque (Upper Burner) and Ren-9 Shuifen (Middle Burner).

I will now list the most common Zangfu Damp-Heat patterns with their treatment. 


DAMP-HEAT IN THE SPLEEN

Clinical manifestations
A feeling of fullness of the epigastrium and/or lower abdomen, epigastric and/or abdominal pain, poor appetite, a feeling of heaviness, thirst without desire to drink, nausea, loose stools with offensive odour, burning sensation in the anus, a feeling of heat, scanty-dark urine, low-grade fever, dull headache with feeling of heaviness of the head, dull-yellow complexion like tangerine peel, yellow sclera of the eyes, oily sweat, bitter taste, itchy skin or skin eruptions (papules or vesicles), if there is a fever and sweating, this does not relieve the fever and does not lead to the clearing of Heat.

Tongue: Red with sticky-yellow coating.
Pulse: Slippery-Rapid.

Acupuncture
SP-9 Yinlingquan, SP-6 Sanyinjiao, Du-9 Zhiyang, L.I.-11 Quchi, BL-20 Pishu, G.B.-34 Yanglingquan, Ren-9 Shuifen, Ren-11 Jianli, ST-22 Guanmen, ST-28 Shuidao, BL-22 Sanjiaoshu.

Prescription
Lian Po Yin Coptis-Magnolia Decoction.

DAMP-HEAT IN THE LIVER

Clinical manifestations
Fullness of the hypochondrium, abdomen or hypogastrium, bitter taste, poor appetite, nausea, feeling of heaviness of the body,  yellow vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, vulvar eczema or sores, mid-cycle bleeding and/or pain, pain, redness and swelling of the scrotum, genital, papular or vesicular skin rashes and itching, urinary difficulty, burning on urination, dark urine.

Tongue: Red body with redder sides, sticky-yellow coating.
Pulse: Slippery-Wiry-Rapid.

Prescription
Long Dan Xie Gan Tang Gentiana Draining the Liver Decoction.


DAMP-HEAT IN THE GALL-BLADDER

Clinical manifestations
Hypochondrial pain, fullness and distension, nausea, vomiting, inability to digest fats, yellow complexion, scanty and dark yellow urine, fever, thirst without desire to drink, bitter taste, dizziness, tinnitus, irritability, feeling of heaviness of the body, numbness of the limbs, swelling of the feet, loose stools or constipation, alternation of hot and cold feeling, yellow sclera, feeling of heat.

Tongue: thick-sticky-yellow coating, either bilateral in two strips or unilateral.
Pulse: Slippery-Wiry-Rapid.

Acupuncture
G.B.-24 Riyue, LIV-14 Qimen, Ren-12 Zhongwan, G.B.-34 Yanglingquan, extra point Dannangxue, Du-9 Zhiyang, BL-19 Danshu, BL-20 Pishu, L.I.-11 Quchi, T.B.-6 Zhigou, ST-19 Burong.

Prescription
Yin Chen Hao Tang Artemisia Capillaris Decoction.

DAMP-HEAT IN LIVER AND GALL-BLADDER

Clinical manifestations
Fullness of the hypochondrium, abdomen or hypogastrium, bitter taste, poor appetite, nausea, feeling of heaviness of the body,  yellow vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, vulvar eczema or sores, mid-cycle bleeding and/or pain, pain, redness and swelling of the scrotum, genital, papular or vesicular skin rashes and itching, urinary difficulty, burning on urination, dark urine, hypochondrial pain, fever,  yellow complexion and eyes, vomiting.

Tongue: Red body with redder sides, unilateral or bilateral sticky-yellow coating.
Pulse: Slippery-Wiry-Rapid.

Acupuncture
LIV-14 Qimen, G.B.-24 Riyue, G.B.-34 Yanglingquan, BL-18 Ganshu, BL-19 Danshu, Du-9 Zhiyang, Ren-12 Zhongwan, SP-9 Yinlingquan, SP-6 Sanyinjiao, SP-3 Taibai, L.I.-11 Quchi, LIV-2 Xingjian, LIV-3 Taichong.

Prescription
Long Dan Xie Gan Tang Gentiana Draining the Liver Decoction.


STOMACH DAMP-HEAT

Clinical manifestations
A feeling of fullness and pain of the epigastrium, a feeling of heaviness, facial pain, stuffed nose or thick-sticky nasal discharge, thirst without desire to drink, nausea, a feeling of heat, dull-yellow complexion, a sticky taste, mouth ulcers.

Tongue: Red tongue with sticky-yellow coating.
Pulse: Slippery-Rapid.

Acupuncture
ST-44 Neiting, ST-34 Liangqiu, ST-21 Liangmen, Ren-12 Zhongwan, Ren-13 Shangwan, L.I.-11 Quchi, L.I.-4 Hegu, Ren-11 Jianli, ST-25 Tianshu, ST-40 Fenglong, SP-9 Yinlingquan, Ren-9 Shuifen.

Prescription
Lian Po Yin Coptis-Magnolia Decoction.

DAMP-HEAT IN THE SMALL INTESTINE

Clinical manifestations
Loose stools or diarrhoea with mucus in the stools, abdominal fullness and pain, mental restlessness, scanty and dark urine, burning pain on urination, blood in urine.

Tongue: Red with redder and swollen tip, yellow coating.
Pulse: Overflowing-Rapid, especially in the Front position.  If there are urinary symptoms the pulse would be Wiry on the Left-Rear position.

Acupuncture
ST-25 Tianshu, ST-37 Shangjuxu, ST-39 Xiajuxu, ST-28 Shuidao, SP-9 Yinlingquan, BL-27 Xioaochangshu.

Prescription
Bai Tou Wen Tang Pulsatilla Decoction.


DAMP-HEAT IN THE LARGE INTESTINE

Clinical manifestations
Abdominal pain that is not relieved by a bowel movement, diarrhoea, mucus and blood in stools, offensive odour of stools, burning in the anus, scanty-dark urine, fever, sweating which does not decrease the fever, a feeling of heat, thirst without desire to drink, feeling of heaviness of the body and limbs.

Tongue: Red with sticky-yellow coating.
Pulse: Slippery-Rapid.

Acupuncture
SP-9 Yinlingquan, SP-6 Sanyinjiao, BL-22 Sanjiaoshu, ST-25 Tianshu, ST-27 Daju, Ren-6 Qihai, BL-25 Dachangshu, L.I.-11 Quchi, Ren-12 Zhongwan, ST-37 Shangjuxu, BL-20 Pishu.

Prescription
Ge Gen Qin Lian Tang Pueraria-Scutellaria-Coptis Decoction.
Bai Tou Weng Tang Pulsatilla Decoction.
Shao Yao Tang Paeonia Decoction.


DAMP-HEAT IN THE BLADDER

Clinical manifestations
Frequent and urgent urination, burning on urination, difficult urination (stopping in the middle of flow), dark-yellow and /or turbid urine, blood in the urine, fever, thirst with no desire to drink, hypogastric fullness and pain, feeling of heat.

Tongue: thick-sticky-yellow coating on the root with red spots.
Pulse: Slippery-Rapid and slightly Wiry on the Left-Rear position.

Acupuncture
SP-9 Yinlingquan, SP-6 Sanyinjiao, BL-22 Sanjiaoshu, BL-28 Pangguangshu, Ren-3 Zhongji, BL-63 Jinmen, BL-66 Tonggu, ST-28 Shuidao.

Prescription
Ba Zheng Tang Eight Upright Powder.


THE TONGUE IN DAMP-HEAT


Dampness manifests on the tongue primarily on the coating and Heat on the tongue-body colour. Therefore Damp-Heat manifests with a sticky-yellow coating and a red tongue-colour.  The more Heat there is, the more the tongue body is red: the more Dampness there is, the thicker the coating.

The following are examples of tongue with a sticky-yellow coating from Damp-Heat.
























A General Introduction to Jinggong

by Chen Yingming

There is currently no effective medicine for stress-related disorders. Phosphoric supplements’ claim to fortifying the brain is unsubstantiated. All other stimulants or sedatives have only temporary effect. After the effect wears out, the symptoms come back, maybe with a vengeance.

One must ensure complete tranquility of the mind and disperse all random thoughts from it. This is the most important principle of jinggong practice and is the most effective treatment for stress-related disorders. However, it is difficult to put a stop to all the thoughts that go habitually through your mind. Our forefathers devised a host of methods to attain this purpose, among which the best one is Zhuangzi’s “listen-to-breathing” method (Zhuangzi, c. 369 – 286 BC).

You begin this exercise by using only your ears, not your mind. The idea is not to replace one thought with another, but more to force yourself to stay vigilant about your nose or your lungs. Nor is it to listen to any nasal sound. As long as you are aware ofthe exhalations and the inhalations, you are doing it right.Do not try to control the speed and depth of the breathing. Just let them be. By and by, your breath will beat one with your qi.All distracting thoughts will vanish. You will even forget about your breathing and gradually drift off to sleep. This is the most opportune moment to restore vigor to your frayed nerves. Seize the moment and abandon your self to deep sleep. Be sure not to resist the temptation to sleep. After you wake up, repeat the exercise all over again, and you will be able to drop off to blissful sleep again. If you have already slept several times during the day and do not wish to sleep anymore,you may get up and do some light exercise in a woody place outside where the air is fresh and clean. You may stand there for a few minutes doing breathing exercises, or practice calisthenics or taichi. But do not go overboard. Do not tire yourself out. Once you return indoors, you may either sit or lie in bed, resume your “listening-to-breathing” exercise and, perhaps, to fall asleep again.

Most people with stress-related disorders are also plagued by insomnia. It is not advisable to take sleep pills on a regular basis. Only the “listening-to—breathing” method can tackle the problem at the root, without leaving any side effect. It is in keeping with the theory about yang entering yin in the Classic of Internal Medicine (Huang Di Nei Jing, China’s earliest work on of medicine completed between 770 BC – 25 AD).

Ancient books on medicine often make reference to the interdependence of the mind and the breath,but no specific instructions can be found.Su Dongpo’s way is to count your breathings and then let the mind follow the breath (Su Dongpo, 1037- 1101, a famous Chinese poet). ZhuXi’s way, as explained in his Advice on Breath Adjustment, is to “watch the tip of your nose,” according to The Surangama Sutra (Zhu Xi, 1130 – 1200, Confucian scholar and founder of the school of Neo—Confucianism). However, since you have to count, you are not free from all engagement of the mind. And, in the latter case, since you have to watch your nose, your eyes will get tired over time. Zhuangzi’s “listening-to-breathing” method is the only one that calls for absolutely no engagement of the mind and leads to no fatigue. What follows is a list of the three methods for you to practice.

1. Su Dongpo’s theory on health (Dongo Zhilin, Su Shi’a Record in His Daily Life, Vol.1):
Health conscious people must exercise moderation in their eating habits. Only when plagued with hunger can you start eating and you should stop before the feeling of fullness sets in. After each meal, take a stroll outdoors until the food has been digested. Then return indoors for exercises. You can freely decide whether to do the exercises in daytime or at night, seated or lying down. The only important thing is to keep your body from moving and stay immobile like a wooden statue. Then, in a combination of Buddhist and Daoist methods, gaze at the tip ofyour own nose while counting the number of exhalations and inhalations through your nose. The key is to empty your mind and not to force anything. When counting, count either all the exhalations or all the inhalations, not both.So each act of breathing, exhaling and inhaling, counts as one, not two. After you’ve counted hundreds of times, your mind will be a blank and your body motionless as a rock. Since you need not force anything on your mind and body, both will naturally enjoy tranquility.

After you’ve counted thousands of times, or if you have no more strength to go on counting, you can switch to another method, called “follow the breath.” When you exhale, let your mind follow the air out of the body. When you inhale, let your mind follow the air on its way in, not through the nostrils, but filling every pore like evaporation of cloud and fog. When you attain this level of accomplishment, all longstanding ailments and afflictions will gradually go away and you reach enlightenment, just like a blind man suddenly regaining sight. Able to see his way ahead now, he no longer needs guidance.

2. ZhuXi’s breath-adjustment method (The Complete Works Zhu Xi, Vol. 85):
Watching the tip of one’s own nose is the 14th of the 25 methods listed in The Surangama Sutra. Both Su Dongpo and Zhu Xi adopted the phrase, but each in a slightly different sense. In Zhu Xi’s words, this is a method applicable anywhere and at any time, provided you are relaxed and feel comfortable. Do not make yourself uncomfortable in any way. Stay calm and let things take their own course. Do not force anything. When tranquility reaches its height, the pendulum will naturally swing toward motion, like fish rising to the surface of the water in spring to breathe. When motion reaches its height, the pendulum swings naturally toward tranquility, like insects hibernating in winter to conserve energy. At this point, the qi in the body converges with the qi of heaven and earth, and the alterations of tranquility and motion unite with the movements of the universe. Words are inadequate to describe the wonders of this method. You may ask, who is behind all this? In fact, there is no one behind any of this. Everything is just a part of nature.

3. The Mind Tranquility method of Zhuangzi (Chapter IV, The Book of Zhuangzi):
Yan Hui asked Confucius, his teacher, about Zhuangzi’s Mind Tranquility method, and this was Confucius’ reply: Do not indulge in wild fancies. Gather all your thoughts to gether and then listen,not with your ears but with your mind. Then,listen not with your mind but with your qi.By this time, you should no longer be relying on your ears. Your mind and qi being at one, you should not be relying on your mind, either. Qi is something unsubstantial. It needs something to form a union with it. Only Dao can merge with the qi of the Great Void. If your mind attains the tranquility of the Great Void, you have made a success ofthe MindTranquility method.

There should be no division of stages to this method, but for the convenience of beginners, I’mgoing to divide the whole process into several steps and give some detailed instructions:

Step 1: “Gather all your thoughts together.” Before you begin the exercise, be sure to gather all your thoughts together and concentrate on the exercise. If any distracting thoughts remain, you will not b eable to do a good job of it.

Step2: “Listennotwithyourearsbutwithyourmind.”Once
you have completed Step 1, you are ready to begin to “listen,” but definitely not to listen with your ears to Conventional sounds. You may get skeptical and ask, since it involves lis- tening, what am I supposed to listento, ifnot to sounds? No clear answer to this question can be found in the annotations to all kinds of theories.So let me make this clear: You begin by listening for the sound of breathing through your nostrils. The breathing of those with normal, unimpeded respiratory systems should be noiseless, which is why you are not supposed to listen with your ears.Even though there is no sound, you are aware ofthe speed and the strength ofexhalations and inhala- tions through the nostrils, as are even the hearing-impaired. That’swhytheinstructionsareto “listenwithyourmind.”

Step 3: As for “listen not with your mind but with your qi,” this can again be problematic. You may be able to get away with saying “listen with your mind” because the mind, after all, is sentient, but qi is not. How can you listen with qi? If the mind listens to qi, what does qi listen to? So how should this be explained? My answer is: when you have become quite accomplished in jinggong, your mind and your qi will be at one and inseparable. Qi becomes something impossible for the mind to listen to, hence the phrase “You must not listen with your mind.” At this point, your mind and your qi, though at one, may not have reached the state of the Void and there fore may still have a slight awareness of your breathing. If you keep on, you will soon lose all awareness of your breathing. During the brief period of transition, rather than listen to qi with your mind and set mind and qi against each other, it makes more sense to listen to qi with qi and wipe out any rift between the two. That’s why the instructions say “listen with qi.”

Step 4: As for “You should no longer be relying on your ears,” and “You should not be relying on your mind, either,” a beginner should first try to gather his thoughts together before concentrating on “listening,” but carrying this on for too long would be overdoing it. So go on to the next step. Stop listening. By this time, you are moving into the stage of the Void, where your mind and qi are at one, you are no longer aware of your breathing.You may appear to be asleep on the outside, but on the inside, it’s another story.

Setp 5: As for “Qi is something unsubstantial. It needs something to form a union with it. Only Dao can merge with the qi of the Great Void. If your mind attains the tranquility of the Great Void, you have made a success of the Mind Tranquility method,” after you have gone from the simpler to the more sophisticated stages, you naturally reach the state of the Void without having to direct your mind to it. If you will it, you won’t be able to get there. The entire process is to go from what you have acquired to what you were given by nature. So the fifth should be be experienced in the state you were born, but I will not get in to that,because it exceeds the limits of therapy. For our purposes, it sufiices to reach the state where your mind and your qi merge.

A summary of the three methods cited above: Su Dongpo’s method is to begin by counting your breathing, then stop counting and let it be. Zhu Xi’s method is to begin by watch- ing your nose, then stop watching it and let everything take its own course. Zhuangzi’s method is to begin by listening to your breath, then stop listening and let everything take its own course. The three methods begin differently but end on the same path. Learners can feel free to apply them in combination.

Young patients with stress-related disorders can be 70% or 80% cured by practicing these exercises for three months. Middleaged patients can be 50 to 60% cured after three month’s practice. However, symptoms can vary in degree. I was referring to more severe cases. Those with less severe symptoms can achieve full recovery. After you leave the sanatorium and return to your workplace, it would be advisable to practice twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, and make it a habit. Only then will you be able to keep what you have gained and be fully accomplished in this healing art.

Quiet Sitting The Daoist Approach for a Healthy Mind and Body by Weiqiao, Jiang p. 67 – 75

22 juli - 07 augustus

Deze oefening draagt bij aan het wegnemen van energetische stoornissen in het hoofd, de hals, de borst of de rug. Ze heeft tevens een gunstige werking op een abnormaal stijgen van qi, wat zich in astma, prikkelbaarheid, verlies van evenwichtsgevoel, sensaties van hitte of huivering in het hele lichaam, slapende ledematen en vatbaarheid voor angstgevoelens uit.
- Ga met het bovenlichaam rechtop in kleermakerszit zitten. Breng uw geest tot rust en adem licht in en uit.
- Krom uw rug en maak uw handen tot vuisten en raak daarmee de vloer vóór u aan.
- Draai uw hoofd naar links en vervolgens naar achteren, waarbij u uw ogen wijd open spert
- `zoals de tijger zijn omgeving achter zich onderzoekend in ogenschouw neemt’.
- Ontspan u en draai uw hoofd weer naar voren.
- Doe dan hetzelfde naar de rechterkant.
- Adem in terwijl u uw hoofd zijwaarts en naar achteren draait, en adem uit terwijl u het weer naar voren draait.
- Herhaal de oefening zevenmaal.

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The Science of Acupuncture _ BBC Documentary _ Traditional Chinese Medicine (by yra081)

A western attempt at grasping TCM

Geen andere voedingsmiddelengroep die zo veel verwarring schept als fruit. De adviezen over hoe, wanneer en hoeveel fruit te eten zijn talloos en lopen sterk uiteen. Westers gezien kunnen we haast niet genoeg fruit eten. De Westerse dietetiek kijk dan met name naar de hoeveelheid vitamines, vezels en mineraalstoffen. De TCM geeft echter een genuanceerder beeld. Volgens de Chinese voedingsleer worden de meeste fruitsoorten als thermisch verfrissend tot koud geclassificeerd. Een enkele fruitsoort zoals de granaatappel, de fysalis of de dadel heeft een licht verwarmende thermische werking.

Rauw fruit is over het algemeen niet bijzonder milt-vriendelijk. Dat wil zeggen dat ons verteringsvuur harder moet werken. Bijzonder moeilijk voor ons verteringsvuur zijn smoothys en fruitsalade en met name als ze zijn gemaakt op basis van tropische fruitsoorten.

De meest moeilijke fruitsoort voor ons verteringssysteem is de banaan: dit komt ten eerste door de koude thermische werking: het verteringsvuur moet extra hard werken om op temperatuur te blijven en goed te kunnen verteren. Ten tweede heeft de banaan een sterk bevochtigende werking. Koude en vocht zijn twee eigenschappen waar de milt heel moeilijk mee om kan gaan. Het wordt nog moeilijker voor onze vertering als we de banaan combineren met andere koude en slijmvormende voedingsmiddelen. Denk bijvoorbeeld aan: yoghurt met banaan of een smoothy van banaan en karnemelk.

Daarnaast eten we tegenwoordig veel fruit dat eigenlijk nog niet voldoende rijp is. Rijp fruit is bijna nooit meer te verkrijgen (behalve als je zelf je eigen fruit verbouwt). Onrijp fruit is moeilijk verteerbaar.

Voor kinderen geldt dat hun spijsverteringssysteem nog niet is volgroeid. Minder (rauw) fruit komt hun vertering juist ten goede. Aan peuters, met name als ze allergiegevoelig zijn en/of last hebben van frequente verkoudheid, kan je beter appelmoes en perenmoes geven. Mango, kiwi en sinaasappel koelen te sterk af. Grote hoeveelheden rauw fruit (met name banaan) kunnen sowieso beter worden vermeden.

Bron: www.5elementenvoeding.nl

Welk Qi type ben jij? Lezing in brasserie Winkk in Dongen over de vijf fasen in de Chinese geneeswijze en filosofie. Morgen di 18 juni 20:00. http://www.spiritueeldongen.nl/ 

Applicable to both martial arts and studying acupuncture….

Shuhari (in Chinese: Shǒu Pò Lí) roughly translates to “first learn, then detach, and finally transcend.”

Shou / shu (守) “protect”, “obey” — traditional wisdom — learning fundamentals, techniques, heuristics, proverbs

Po / ha (破) “detach”, “digress” — breaking with tradition — detachment from the illusions of self

Li / ri (離) “leave”, “separate” — transcendence — there are no techniques or proverbs, all moves are natural, becoming one with spirit alone without clinging to forms; transcending the physical