I have numerous thoughts on practicing the Routine of Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin. My experience in many years' practicing is to guide and lead Qi through channels and collaterals, stimulate points and strengthen innate essence.
It can be seen from the daoyin (guiding and leading) of channels and points in this routine that there will be roughly five processes: 1. straighten legs and stand up, point the tips of fingers forward and raise palms. Keep elbows straight and palms facing forward. Lift the head and sink the Baihui Point. Keep the head straight upward and the chin slightly lowered. And look straight ahead. Meanwhile, guide and lead Qi through the branches of Taiyang Small Intestine Channel of Hand to meet at the Dazhui point. 2. Turn arms outward until palms face each other, bend elbows, press palms downward before the chest with palms facing downward, and tips of fingers pointing to each other, and look straight ahead. Meanwhile, guide and lead Qi and blood through the channels along the inside flank of the scapulas (along the spine) to the waist. 3. Turn arms outward, with palms facing upward. Move the fingers backward along armpits and look straight ahead. Meanwhile, Qi moves in the muscles along the spine through channels and collaterals and then into the body cavity. 4. Move and massage the palms (with palms facing the spine) along the flanks of the body down to hips, and then bend the upper body forward. Meanwhile, continue to move the palms down along the legs till the feet, and place the palms on the back of the feet. Raise the head and massage and warm the Shen Shu Point. 5. Extend forward both palms parallel to the floor, and then lift the upper body with the movement of arms, push straight the arms and raise them with palms facing each other, and look straight ahead. While doing the movement, Qi moves from back of thighs through the channels and collaterals to popliteal fossa, and then moves downward and through gastrocnemius, to lateral malleolus, along the lateral dorsum of foot, to the outside of the little toe, meets at the Kidney Channel of Foot Shaoyin. With the repeated motion of the routine, including massage, lowering the body, and lifting the body, Qi will be guided to Foot Shaoyin Qi Channels. In addition, the movement of hands also guide and lead the movement of Qi, starting from the bottom of the little toe, to the middle of the foot, then through the Yong Quan Point, the Ran Gu Point, the Tai Xi Point, the San Yinjiao Point, the Yin Gu Point, the Zhong Zhu Point, the Si Man Point, the Qi Xue Point, the Da He Point, the Heng Gu Point, the Guan Yuan Point, the Zhong Ji Point, livers, the midriff, the Shu Fu Point in the lung, to Jue Yin Pericardium Channel of Hand.
The above movements aim to enhance health and strengthen the kidney by guiding and leading channels and points. The connotation of the understanding of kidney by traditional Chinese medicine is more extensive than that by modern anatomy. Traditional Chinese medicine argues that kidney is an extremely important visceral organ with various functions; Kidney is the foundation of life, the origin of life, and stores Yuan Yin and Yuan Yang (another name of Yin and Yang of kidney). Thus, it is the vessel for water and fire. Innate essence refers to the foundation of human life. "Life begins with essence (sperms)." Kidney stores essence, so it is the foundation of life. Yuan Yin and Yuan Yang refer to Yin essence and Yuan-Qi (the primordial Qi) respectively. They play a decisive role in human life, ranging from pregnancy to growth.
Exuberance and debilitation of kidney Qi has a direct influence on the growth and development of people and even the entire process of aging. It also affects the reproductive ability of people. Throughout the life course, due to the rise and fall of essence and Qi in kidneys, different physiological states take place, including birth, growth, maturing, aging, and death.
The left kidney in human bodies is Yang and the right one Yin. The left kidney governs functions of six fu viscera, while the right kidney the running of five zang viscera. Kidneys play significant roles in warming, moistening, nourishing and stimulating five zang viscera and six fu viscera.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, deficiency of kidneys leads to loss of vitality and various diseases. Kidneys generate essence. Essence generates marrow. Marrow generates brain. Brain is the destination for marrow. Deficiency of the kidney is the root of human diseases. To cure many visceral diseases, we should start with boosting and tonifying the kidney. There is a rhymed formula in traditional Chinese medicine: "To cure livers, first recuperate kidneys; to cure kidneys, first recuperate lungs; to cure lungs, first recuperate spleens; to cure spleens, first recuperate the heart; to cure the heart, first recuperate livers. It can be concluded that kidneys are indispensable to the zang-fu viscera system and plays an important role in health of the body. Thus, the Routine of Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys of Ba Duan Jin enhances health on the basis of theories of traditional Chinese medicine and the flowing rule of the Kidney Channel of Foot Shaoyin in the twelve channels and collaterals. It works by stimulating and massaging various points guided and led by the movement of limbs. In this way, health is enhanced and kidneys are strengthened.
(By Wang Jianmin and Zhao Ailan)