This post is about a special technique to open one’s shoulder joints. Opening shoulder joints is important in many areas. Firstly, it can prevent frozen shoulders (or 50’s shoulders). In our daily life, we seldom open our scapula upwards and sideways. In times, the movement of the head of our humerus (upper arm bone) inside the shoulder capsule will be limited, and, again in time, the chance of getting frozen shoulders, sometimes repeatedly, will be increased or become unavoidable. Secondly, opening the shoulder joints are important for facilitate qi-flow needed for the practice of zhan zhuang, tai-ji and meditation.
The exercise as per the diagram above is called a facilitative exercise because it is not meant to be a stand-alone exercise. A foundation practice of zhan zhuang to the (junior) level of able to feel qi-flow is a pre-requisite. Only if one can feel qi-flow can one direct the chi to flow from the wrist towards the shoulder in a spiralling action when one pushes one’s wrist out. Through the spiral action, one’s shoulder joint will be loosened little by little. It is a facilitative exercise in another sense that even in tai-ji form, the scapular will seldom be made consciously to move up (though in zhan zhuang, tai-ji and taoist mediation, one does need to extend one’s scapulars outwards during the practice).