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Both Lead and Guide to Regulate Emotions The Degree and Amount of “Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain”
Work cannot be excessive, or it will be harmful to the mind and body. Emotions cannot be extreme, or all kinds of diseases will break out. Whether it is physical work or emotional activity, it is necessary to grasp the moderate degree and right amount. Otherwise, it is easy to be excessive and extreme. Through the ages, many people know more of the truth but practice less. Practicing the movement of “looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain” can not only prevent in advance the troubles of sickness and strain, but also control moderately and recover effectively them. Why not enjoy taking part in the activity of both leading and guiding to regulate emotions?
Emotional activity cannot exceed the due degree and amount; otherwise, it will have ill-effect on man’s mental and physical health. The traditional medicines impute the Five Strains to the excessive seven emotions and think that the seven emotions not only injury the “body”, but also hurt the “spirit”. It is thus clear that regulating the degree and amount of emotions has very special and important effect on fitness and health. Through the guide of viscera and bowels, meridian and collateral, the movement of “looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain” in Health Qigong· Ba Duan Jin can balance Qi and blood circulation, having positive effect on regulating emotions.
“Five Strains” exist in the reality
People living in modern society have particularly evident five strains state. Five strains concept means the five strains caused by the imbalance activity of Qi, blood, tendons and bones by overwork and over-rest. Plain Questions ·Xuanming Five Qi says: “Excessive staring impairs blood, excessive sleep impairs Qi, excessive sitting impairs flesh, excessive standing impairs bones, and excessive walking impairs tendons, they are called five strains.” Sometimes, it also means the five strains of liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys. They all have the explanations of fatigue state caused by overwork of mind and body. (1) In reality, whether it is children, the elderly or young adults, a long time reading, playing computer, watching TV or lacking of sleep will lead to eye fatigue, blood injury and Qi consumption, produce the symptom of pale, dizzy, dry eye and so on, often the case, it will lead to myopia or other eye diseases. The eyes can see things clearly only with blood supply. The eye damage not only means that the eyes have diseases, but also reflects the blood inside the human body is damaged, this is the so-called excessive staring impairs blood. (2) In daily life, some people are always lying, especially lying down after dinner, making the meridians and collateral difficult to circulate and causing the stagnation of Qi and blood. That not only makes the Qi of body, tendons and flesh gradually become weak, but also hurts the internal organs of the body, causing some performances lacking of Qi and blood, for example, drooping spirits, weakness and fatigue, loss of appetite, palpitations, shortness of breath and other symptoms, that is the so-called excessive sleep impairs Qi. (3) In the working and learning process, excessive sitting is inevitable. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that spleen and stomach are in charge of man’s muscle and limbs. Excessive sitting will lead to unhealthy Qi function of spleen and decreased stomach function, thus causing insufficiency of Qi and blood. It also leads to man’s skins and flesh losing nutrition, muscle relaxation and limbs fatigue. Long-term sitting without moving will make the blood circulation be blocked and make man be vulnerable to get the chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, coronary heart disease, lumbar muscle strain, hemorrhoid and other diseases, this is the so-called excessive sitting impairs flesh. (4) In some professions, super long-term standing impacts on health. Excessive standing will affect the circulation of Qi and blood, making part of the tissues and cells malnutrition, then the stagnation of Qi and clotting of blood will lead to the developmental malformation of bone and joint or movement disorder. Excessive standing without walking can interfere with the recirculation of venous blood in the lower limb, causing lumbago, legs weak and feet numb. In addition, long-term standing can cause varicose vein of lower limb or the developmental malformation of bone and joint and movement disorder, this is the so-called excessive standing impairs bones. (5) In life habits, proper walking or strolling can make the joints, tendons and bones take moderate exercise, promoting metabolism and improving the body immunity. However, walking for too long a time will make the limbs, especially the ligament, muscle and other tendon tissues around lower limbs joints get sprain or strain, that is the reason why people feel sore and tired after walking too much, this is the so-called excessive walking impairs tendons.
Staring, sleeping, sitting, standing and walking are the common activities in people’s daily life. All these activities have the natural possibility to exceed beyond the degree and amount boundary that one can bear. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the essence of viscera and bowels is the material basis of emotional activity. Man’s physiological activity is center on the fiver internal organs. Therefore, emotional activity has close relations with heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys.
Syndrome differentiation of “Seven Impairments”
Non-vegetated, who can be ruthless? The so-called seven impairments mean happiness, anger, grief, worry, fear, terror, anxiety and other emotional activities. Excessive emotional activity will be inevitably harmful. The reason resulting in seven impairments is: eating too much impairs spleen, reversed flow of Qi by rage impairs liver, strong weightlifting and long-term sitting on wetland impairs kidneys, walk in the cold and drink the cold will impair the lungs, feel worry and anxiety will impair heart, the hot and cold and wet impair the constitution, fear and terror impair the will.
From an objective point of view, emotional activity is the different responses of man’s physical and mental activity to external environmental stimulation. Moderate emotional reflection is the characteristic of normal function of viscera and bowels; it will not cause or induce diseases in general. Pleasant emotions and happy mood can ease the tension and make Qi and blood smooth, keeping the viscera and bowels function normally. Moderate emotional reactions not only are the normal performance of physical and mental function, but also can release unhealthy emotions and relieve the stagnation of Qi and blood. It can help to maintain and restore the coordination and balance of viscera and bowels function, it is the important guarantee for physical and mental health.
From a subjective point of view, emotional activity is the emotional response of anger, grief, worry, anxiety and fear caused when people take negative or opposite attitude to the cognitive object. If the emotional change is beyond man’s physical and mental adaptation and control ability, it will produce some negative impact that is difficult to deal with. The result will lead to abnormal Qi and blood of yin and yang, causing disorder of Qi activity, dysfunction of viscera and bowels, and impairment of Qi, blood, fluid and humor, inducing or causing diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine calls it “internal impairments of seven emotions”.
According to the engender and restrain theory of yin and yang five phases existing in the emotions and internal organs, traditional Chinese medicine uses mutual constraint and restraint emotions to transfer and interfere the emotions that are harmful to the body in order to achieve the purpose of coordinating emotions. For example, one’s happiness impairs heart, using fear; one’s anxiety impairs spleen, using anger; one’s grief impairs heart, using happiness; one’s fear impairs kidneys, using anxiety; one’s anger impairs liver, using grief, etc. Therefore, pleasant emotions and harmonious movement will harmonized Qi and blood, making the viscera and bowels overflowing with vigor, no disease at all. If the emotions are changeable and radical too long, then there will be disorder of Qi and blood, dysfunction of viscera and bowels and be infested will all diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine nourishing life advocates regulating the spirit and emotion and keeping the harmony and unity of body and spirit. Nourishing life must heal the spirit first.
Then, how could “looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain” both lead and guide to regulate emotions?
Heal the spirit first. Heal the heart and spirit is not only the purpose of regulating the emotions, but also the way to regulate emotions. Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic says: “One possessing the spirit will be prosperous; one losing the spirit will die.” Prosperous means the vigorous vitality, while die means the passing of life. The identify characteristics of a man’s emotions is to see whether he having the spirit or not. The so-called spirit and no spirit mainly manifest at the state of spirit and breath. This means that there are two important aspects on regulating emotions:
Firstly, start from eye movement. Eye is “the essence of five viscera and six bowels”, “heart inside while eye outside”, therefore it is an important symbol to observe the change of eyes by judging whether the eyes have spirit or not. “Looking backwards” is the important action of the movement. Look is one of the forms of eye looking, and also a way to play the eye function. Eyes are the window of the soul. Eyes can best embody or guide a man’s inner emotions. Meanwhile, the backward movement on the left and right can increase the neck movement, and further move the eye muscle, being beneficial to eye health. Moreover, the movement of neck can effectively improve brain blood circulation and help to relieve nervous system fatigue, thereby promoting blood circulation and enhancing brain nutrition and adequate sleep. It also makes the eyes show the healthy essence, Qi and spirit. From a man’s eyes, you can see the spirit, a thing that can only be felt. The material basis that it exists on is the essence, which comes from a man’s innate kidney Qi and acquired spleen and stomach Qi. The so-called spirit, only the essence is adequate, and then the spirit will show. If a man has weak congenital kidney Qi, and bad acquired spleen and stomach function. You will see that his eyes must have eyes without spirit. There are two analyzes on this: first, from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, we can see the overall changeable situation of a man’s five viscera and six bowels through his eyes. A man’s pupil represents the kidney. The outside circle of black eye represents the liver. White eye represents the lung. The internal and external canthus represents the heart. The eyelid represents the spleen. From the situation of eyes, we can see the five viscera of the body. Therefore, the movement of “looking backwards” is not only the movement of active care eye movement, but also the recipe to guide the health of heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney. Second, from the perspective of modern medicine, the retina inside the eyeball, and the cornea and lens of the eyeball increase with the ages. The transparency of lens will decrease, gradually becomes muddy, becoming the garbage in the body. Although the garbage stores in the blood, without exception, it should reflect in the eyes because the capillary of eye is the richest and the skin around the eyes is thinnest. Therefore, the garbage in the blood can best be conveyed to the outside through the eyes, which represents the health change of the far end of body. Hence, the movement of “looking backwards” can help to enhance the functions of retina, cornea and lens.
Secondly, run from increasing yang Qi. During the neck rotary movement of looking backwards, the movement can guide and exercise Dazhui point and effectively enhance the yang Qi. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that Dazhui point is in the low end of man’s neck, the spinous process depression of the seventh cervical vertebra, and the intersection of three yang of hand and foot with governor vessel. The point defined as: the yang and hot Qi of hand and foot import the point here with the yang Qi of governor vessel to the upward neck. Qi and blood material is solid and full yang Qi. Upload to the neck through governor vessel. Its function is to benefit Qi and impotence yang. Therefore, to prevent the seven impairments caused by nature, we must first prevent the impairment of yang Qi. So, the first to prevent seven impairments is to smooth yang meridian and collateral. Through repeated movement of Dazhui point, looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain can prompt yang meridian Qi, making the internal body only when yin is at peace and yang is compact can essence-spirit be normal, achieving the purpose of prevent five strains and seven impairments.
Reconciling viscera and bowels based. Essentially speaking, the internal change of man’s emotional changes is caused by whether the viscera and bowels are peaceful or not. The disorder of Qi and blood in viscera and bowels will inevitably affect the emotional activity. The normal operation of Qi and blood in viscera and bowels depends on the smooth flow of the meridians and collateral. There are many forms and channels to guide meridians and collateral in the viscera and bowels. The movement of looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain is focused on shoulder movement. Human shoulder is distributed of dense muscles, nervous system, fully playing shoulder’s role of leading and guiding. It has very important role in smoothing meridians and collateral, strengthening the viscera and bowels function and promoting the circulation of Qi and blood. Thus, shoulder movement can help to maintain the pleasant spirit, full energy and physical and mental health. Of course, the effective shoulder movement plays positive role in excluding extreme emotions.
The shoulder’s external expansion and internal conjunction are the key techniques of this movement. Start according to the key techniques; drive the upper limb to make external rotation in straight and twist. With the static drive of tendons, muscles and Qi activity, we make the muscles on both sides get relief, stimulating the five viscera of heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys on bladder meridians and the six bowels of stomach, large intestine, small intestine, gallbladder and bladder. From the traditional Chinese medicine theory, with the circulation, greater yang bladder meridians of the foot run through the head, neck, back, legs and feet, being symmetrical, each side has 67 points. These points have the corresponding distribution with the viscera and bowels, are the reflecting point of viscera and bowels organs, playing a direct role of regulating the viscera and bowels. Under the guidance of should movement, the thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity are expanded, the meridian and collaterals of viscera and bowels get clear, Qi and blood have normal operation, the viscera and bowels function is strengthened, all the body issues get nourishment of the essence and Qi, so as to maintain the normal activity of seven emotions.
The shoulder drives the thoracic and abdominal cavity to stretch forwards; the anti-bow type of spine is the repeated state of motion. Under the state of the motion, the continuous stimulation of governor vessel and combing conception vessel make the governor and conception vessel continually receive continuous stimulation of loose and tight under the movement guide, so as to operate viscera and bowels, meridian and collaterals, Qi and blood. What deserves special attention is that while the shoulder making external expansion, it not only stretches Tanzhong point, but also massages Jiaji point. The two points are the very important points in the meridian and collateral theory of traditional Chinese medicine. For example, the Tanzhong point mainly treats with the Qi-related diseases, such as Qi deficiency, stagnation of Qi activity can all be treated by it. Many people has own feeling of angry. There is a saying called “lung is to be blown up” to describe it vividly. There is a feeling of chest oppressed, difficulty breath and pain feelings of chest and shoulder. When one is angry, especially he is in range, he will feel that his chest is much oppressed. Someone cannot help to beat and knead chest while he is angry. In fact, the place to beat and knead is the location of Tanzhong point. There are two reasons here: one is that Tanzhong point is the intersection of Qi, it can regulate the operation of Qi activity. Therefore, by beating and kneading Tanzhong point, it can regulate the operation of upper energizer and smooth the function of Qi activity, flow smoothly the blocked Qi in heart and chest and ease the choking feeling. Another is that Tanzhong point is the mu point of pericardium in Muyu point. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that among all the viscera and bowels in human body, heart has the most senior position, called “monarch”. Hence, heart is only in charge of issuing orders, having not specific works. Then who will send and implement the orders of monarch? That is the pericardium. It is precisely because that Tanzhong point is mu point of pericardium and intersection of Qi, by stimulating and adjusting Tanzhong point; it can coordinate Qi activity, recovering the normal sport state of Qi, thus ease the discomfort brought by bad mood and eliminate the influence of bad mood to the Qi activity of human body.
As can be seen from the above analysis, through the guidance of shoulder, this movement can smooth conception and governor vessel, motive all the Qi activity of the body, thus smooth the viscera and bowels, meridian and collateral, making the Qi and blood flow smoothly. It plays a very important role in achieving the purpose of regulating emotions.
Take section exercise as the essentials. Both lead and guide, exercise the section and wrist and ankle is the effective way to regulate emotions. Here let’s focus on the regulating emotions effect of rotating palm and arm in “looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain”. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that man’s five viscera and six bowels are closely related with palm meridian and collateral point. Palm wrist is also the part easily blocking with Qi and blood, and also the easily reaction part of viscera and bowels lesion. Therefore, often rotate wrist can not only smooth the meridian and collateral and reconcile Qi and blood, but also has the effect of regulating emotions.
For example, Laogong point, Yuji point, Shaofu point, Hegu point, Shenmen point, etc. Different points correspond to different organs of the body. Regular exercise of fingers, palms, hand back and so on can reconcile the function of viscera and bowels, and also beautify the features. Laogong point is in the stripes of palm, the fingertip of middle finger while clenching the fist. Exercise on it has effect to pure heart and stomach and eliminate face sore. Yuji point is in the center of metacarpal bone of palm, under the thumb bump, having the effect of purging heat and relieving lung, dissipating stasis and moisturizing skin. Shaofu point is the fingertip of little finger while clenching the fist, having the effect of clearing away the heart and eliminating the fire, promoting blood circulation and moisturizing skin. Shenmen point is in the wrist stripes of little finger in the wrist and palm joints, and Hegu point is between the first and second metacarpal bone of back of hand. Exercise them can promote the facial blood circulation, relieve fatigue, keep up the spirits and refreshing.
In fact, the close relationship of meridian and collaterals and points in the palm with the five viscera and six bowels inside the body is far more than the above items. However, no matter how many items, it can take repeated exercise in the motor process of “looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain”. To have a more concrete understanding, we can view from five nodes of fingers, hands, arms active state in the movement: ① Supporting palm. Adduct the feet and stand in relaxation. Lift the two palms when inhaling, then press down slightly with the style of supporting palm, like the moment of two hands stroking the case. ② Rotate the wrist. When exhaling, neck drives slowly the spine turn left rear, look backwards. Slightly twist the wrist and slowly rotate the palm. ③ Stretching. Keep the posture of looking backwards and hold the breath for a while, while the fingers and palms extend the direction of rotating palm and continue to stretch finger to external rotation. ④ Rotation. When one side of the movement is in place, breathing, neck drives slowly the spine turn the other side, recovering looking at the front horizontally, arms and palms gradually rotates to the initial state.  ⑤ Lifting and pressing. This is the initial action, but also the transitional action while make left and right convention. Lift two palms and press down slightly, then change it to support palm and enter the next circulation. The practice process of the five nodes, whether it is somatosensory system, Qi sensation or the idea, they are all inextricably associated with palms. During the practice, when two palms press down, the shoulder and spine should be set upright; two arms make full external rotation, stretch the shoulder and hold head high, turn around the head but not the body, press the two palms around the hips, about a punch distance between palm and hip. Keep the body straight, look at the front and slightly close the lower jaw. Two hands put on the both sides of the hips like pressing two balls floating on the water. As the ball has buoyancy, the hand should press down the ball. By rotating the palms and arms, the yin meridians and yang meridians are fully open. In case of five strains and internal impairments, the yin meridians will treat it. In case of seven emotions and external impairments, the yang meridians will treat it. Therefore, during the process of rotating arms and exercise yin and yang meridian and collaterals, the movement of “looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain” can achieve the purpose of preventing “five strains and seven impairments”.
As the saying goes, two palms lift upwards and press down, eyes look backwards while exhaling. When finishing the exhale breathe, close the breath for a while, change the right side after completing the left type. Close the form and lift the Qi back to Dantian, make five strains and seven impairments gone and keep spine healthy. Persisting the regular practice of the movement of “looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain” in Health Qigong, the benefit of regulating emotions is in being there.
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