Section One Dantian Elixir Field and Sanguan Three Passes
1. Dantian (Elixir Field)
Dantian is a collective term for the Upper Dantian, the Middle Dantian and the Lower Dantian. The Lower Dantian is also called Qihai (sea of vital energy), Shenlu (stove of spirit) and Tiangen (root of Heaven), which is located 1.3 cun below the umbilicus and 3 cun inside the lower abdomen. The synonyms for the Middle Dantian are Huangting, Shangjin and Xuanqiao, which is located 3 cun inside the point Shanzhong (Ren 17). The Upper Dantian is otherwise named Qianding, Tiangu, Neiyuan and Niwan (Mud Ball), which is located 3 cun inside Yintang (Extra 1). Dacheng Jieyao (Essentials of Great Achievements) holds that a point is " a void spherical space 1 cun and 2 fen in diameter". Some people consider Dantian to be three areas of the human body, stating that the Lower Dantian spreads between Huiyin (Ren 1) and Qihai (Ren 6), the Middle Dantian between Shenque (Ren 8) and Shanzhong (Ren 17), and the Upper Dantian between the two eyebrows up to the forehead.
Dantian is not only an important point for self applied
Qigong in terms of cultivation and conservation of genuine qi, attainment of small or large circle of qi and the circulation of qi along the Ren Channel, but also an important location toward which the Qigong therapist emit outgoing—qi to activate and regulate the qi activities of the patient.
The Lower Dantian is the priority point for mind concentration and for transformation of essence into qi (the small circle of qi). "Concentrating the mind on the qi point", a popular term in ancient China, refers to concen-tration of the mind on the Lower Dantian for training qi. When regulating the deranged qi of the patient, the therapist must guide qi of the patient to Dantian, which is termed "leading qi back to its origin". Emission of qi toward the Lower Dantian may encourage, facilitate and train the qi activities of the patient to make it easier for the pathogenic qi to be expelled.
The Middle Dantian is the place for transforming qi into spirit. Failure to guide qi in a proper way during Qigong practice or emission of outgoing-qi may lead to adverse flowing of qi to the Middle Dantian, which often condenses there causing stuffiness and pain in the chest and suffocation.
The Upper Dantian is where spirit is trained to achieve the state of "nihility". Concentrating the mind on this point may help improve intelligence and open up the potentials of the human brain. But for those who are not experienced or who are careless with practice, concentration of mind here may cause headache and dizziness. Emitting qi to this point via Yin tang (Extra 1) with vibrating and quivering manipulations has the function* of inducing sleep, tranquilizing the mind and regulating qi in the Upper-jiao (the Upper Warmer). However, —108—
when qi is emitted with the method of making three points linear, the patient may develop the symptoms of dizziness, vertigo or even syncope. This calls for special attention.
2. Sanguan (The Three Passes)
Sanguan refers to the three important places on the Du Channel (the Back Midline Channel), namely, Weiluguan (Coccyx pass) or Luluguan, which is located at the lowerest segment of the spine and posterior to the anus near the point Changqiang (Du 1); Jiajiguan (Spine pass, a pair of points), which are located at the lateral sides of Mingmen (Gate of life, Du 4); and Yuzhenguan (Occiput pass), which is inferior to the occipital bone where the brain originates.
As the three suguan points are the places most difficult for qi to circulate through the Du Channel in practice of the small circle of qi, they are given another name, " Tiebi", meaning " iron wall". Qi may pass through them smoothly or be impeded at any of them. If it is impeded at Weiluguan (Coccyx pass), the practitioner will have aching-pain, heaviness sensation and a sensation of impeded qi in that place. Whein this happens, he should lead qi to flow upwards with faint will on the one hand, and on the other hand, he may prop the tongue against the palate, inhale deeply and contract the anus to facilitate its passage. Jiajiguan (Spine pass) is usually easier for qi to pass through except that those who have disorders in this location may have aching-pain and a sensation of fracture of waist and spine when qi circulates through there. Impediment of qi is most commonly felt at Yuzhenguan (Occiput pass), manifested as stiffness of the neck and heaviness and aching-pain in the occipital region as if there was something sticking to it which can not be got rid of readily. If this happens, the practitioner may close his eyes and look upward with inward vision, with the head raised slightly, to lead qi to pass by will. When qi is not able to get through Sanguan because of the poor background in Qigong practice, the practitioner should not carelessly guide it to pass by will lest Qigong deviations should occur. If disorders of qi activities and impediment of qi in the Du and Ren Channels develop, outgoing-qi therapy by emitting qi toward the three passes is the method of choice because of its function of facilitating and regulating the qi flow in the Du Channel. So the three passes are also essential for treatment of diseases in the neck and the lumbosacral region.
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