(IV) Emphasize Rotating, especially Bowing
During exercise, head, neck and torso are required to rotate dramatically along the vertical axis and wriggle around the frontal axis; moreover, pitching, folding and stretching of torso are valued such as “Tiger Springing on Its Prey” and “Green Dragon Stretching out Its Claws” in Yi Jin Jing, “Tiger Springing” and “Deer Looking Back” in Wu Qin Xi, “Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain” and “Two Hands Holding the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist” in Ba Duan Jin, etc.
1. Smooth Ren and Du channels: according to TCM, Ren channel originates from perineum acupoints, runs up along belly and chest and reaches throat; Du channel also starts from perineum acupoints, runs up along the spine, reaches brain and ends at Yinjiao acupoints. Hence, the exercise of health Qigong emphasizes dramatic rotating, folding, pitching, stretching and wriggling of the torso so as to effectively stimulate vital acupoints and pull meridians at the belly and back, especially Ren and Du channels. It can circulate Qi and blood and smooth Ren and Du channels. According to TCM, “all meridians will become unblocked when Ren and Du channels are smooth”. Therefore, it’s helpful to the smooth circulation of Qi and blood of the entire body.
2. Improve cervical vertebra: under the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra of the neck is an acupoint named Dazhui and at 0.5 cun away from both sides is an acupoint called Dingchuan. Dramatic rotating of the neck can stimulate the Dazhui and Dingchuan acupoints behind the neck. Acupuncture principles told us that Dazhui is the summarization of six Yang meridians while Dingchuan acupuncture can have the effects of benefiting Qi and smoothing Yang, strengthening lung and pacifying puffing, removing fever and stopping malaria, concentrating spirit and eliminating phlegm. Hence, we emphasize the rotating of neck so as to effectively stimulate Dazhui and Dingchuan and achieve the effects of benefiting Qi and smoothing Yang as well as preventing asthma; at the same time, dramatic head rotating can pull muscles, ligament and fascia around the neck in order to improve local blood circulation, moisten local organs, further comb cervical vertebra, and prevent disorder of facet joints, neck muscle stiffness, strain and protrusion of intervertebral disc and other diseases.
3. Build wisdom: according to TCM, kidney stores essence and generates marrow which reaches the brain so it’s known as “brain is the marrow sea”. Besides, kidney stores due to the viscera meridians. The vitality of kidney is directly related to normal functions of the viscera, bones and brain. In other words, if kidney essence is sufficient, marrow is full and bones are firm, and people feel energetic, can hear and see well with agile movements. “As long as people’s kidney Qi is sufficient, they feel energetic, agile and forceful in movements.” Waist is the mansion of kidney and the place where kidney essence is nurtured. Kidney and bladder are neighbored and the sun bladder runs through the waist; besides, Du channel, Chong channel and Belt channel, etc. are scattered around the waist. Du channel runs through the spine and belongs to kidney. Hence, health Qigong stresses dramatic rotating, pitching, bowing of waist and back, wriggling of lumbar vertebra, which is helpful to the blood circulation stimulation of muscles, nerve and ligament around spinal column. It can strengthen the strength of the waist and back and loosen the adhesion of waist muscles; in the meantime, it can help smooth Du channel, Ren channel, Chong channel, Belt channel, kidney channel, bladder channel and other channels so as to strengthen waist, tonify kidney, enhance bladder, adjust Qi and blood, strengthen brain and benefit Qi as well as building wisdom.
4. Strengthen core: it means the feature can enhance the strength of practitioners in the core areas. “Core areas refer to intermediary links of human body and focus on lumbar vertebra-- pelvis-- hip joints including muscle tendon and ligament system around them”. This part is the most basic link of human body’s link movement chain, provides stable support and attachment point for different limb movements of human body, and directly influences the quality of human body’s varied skill movements; the neuromuscular system of the muscle group in this area is usually the part which will be first activated during the process after human body completes all reflexive and random limb movements; it’s the dynamic link which takes the earliest effects in the movement procedures of human body; this part is also the most exquisite of bone connection and the weakest part of the nerve system of human body (spine and spinal cord are in this area). The anatomical structure and functions of bone-muscle in the movement system of this part play a supporting, protecting and stabilizing role. The features of dramatic rotating, bowing and folding of health Qigong happen to stimulate the core areas. Hence, it can effectively improve practitioners’ exercise ability and self-protection ability.
5. Improve immunity: in accordance with TCM, “the back is the place where channels of the viscera lie in”. Here, the place refers to Yang; besides, the back has Du channel. “Du channel governs the six Yang meridians”. As a result, good regulation of the back is of vital significance to regulating Yang Qi of the entire body. In addition, back-shu acupoints of the viscera are located in the back. Stimulation of these back-shu acupoints can effectively help regulate the viscera and prevent some diseases. For instance, knocking lung shu, liver shu and kidney shu, etc. can prevent diabetes to a great extent. From the perspective of modern medicine, contemporary medicine holds that under the back skin of mankind are plenty of immune cells with strong functions. Usually people can’t touch their back so these immune cells which are beneficial to human health can only “rest” there quietly. Exercise can stimulate these immune cells which are in dormancy status, “activate” their functions to run all round the body, and actively eliminate those invasive germs or cancer cells in the body. The rotating, folding and stretching in the exercise can pull the back greatly and “awaken” those immune cells in the back. However, what’s worth noting is that patients with severe cardiovascular diseases and protrusion of intervertebral disc shouldn’t be engaged in dramatic rotating movements so as not to stress the spine because it can cause increase in the excitability of sympathetic nerve, speed up heart rate and raise blood pressured.
（By Hu Xiaofei）