After meditation or Qi transport training, you should massage yourself and do some loosening up exercises. The main purpose of massage is to loosen and relax the muscles on the Qi pathways. This can help you to clear your mind, and can also help to eliminate any Qi residue that might remain in certain cavities. This residue of stagnant Qi, if left in the cavities, can affect normal Qi circulation and cause muscle and cavity pain. If a partner is available, it is best to massage each other, because it is easier to relax that way. Furthermore, a partner can massage the pathways on your back, which is difficult to do by yourself.
Head. Begin with the face. Rub the ridge of the brow starting at the nose (Figure 3-36) and move your hands up and across the forehead until your fingers pass the temple (Figure 3-37). Next put your hands under the eyes (Figure 3-38) and rub across the cheeks. Third, put your thumbs in front of the ears (Figure 3-39) and move the thumbs down to the chin. For the top of the head, place your fingers one inch off the centerline of the skull (Figure 3-40). Move the scalp back and forth lightly. Reset the fingers along the same lines, but toward
Figure 3-34 Figure 3-35
the back, and gently rub again. Keep moving your fingers back along the head and massaging until you reach the back of the skull. The last place to rub in the head area is the neck. Place your thumbs at the base of the skull and rub downward with the hands (Figure 3-41).
Hands. Rub the palms together (Figure 3-42) then rub the center of the palm with your thumb (Figure 3-43). In the center of the palm is Laogong cavity (P-8, % t) which lies on the pericardium channel. By massaging this cavity, the heart is gently stimulated.
Kidneys. Make fists with both hands and place the knuckles or the back sides of your palms on your back at the kidneys. Rub in a circular motion (Figure 3-44).
Knees. During meditation your knees may become stiff and absorb cold air through the pores. To warm them up and relieve stiffness, use an open hand to rub around the whole joint (Figure 3-45).
Feet. Rub the center of the bottom of your foot with the thumb (Figure 3-46). This stimulates the kidneys via the Yongquan cavity (K-l. & ). You may then massage the entire bottom of the foot.
General Exercises After Meditation
1. Rotate your head by slowly turning it from side to side without moving the rest of the body (Figure 3-47).
2. Rotate your back by slowly twisting your torso from side to side while you remain in the sitting position (Figure 3-48).
3. Stretch your chest by clasping your hands behind your back and thrusting the chest as far forward as possible (Figure 3^49).
4. Rotate your shoulders forward and backward (Figures 3-50 and 3-51).
5. Lock your fingers with the palms facing out, then stretch your arms out in front of your chest (Figure 3-52) and over your head (Figure 3-53).
6. Stretch your legs by grasping your feet and straightening your legs (Figure 3-54).
Beating the Heaven Drum (Ming Tian Gu,
the meditative state, and it helps to flush away any Qi accumulated in the head during meditation. Ming Tian Gu can also be used in everyday life. After a long period of concentration, it helps to clear your mind, the same as after meditation. The Daoists found that tapping the head not only clears and calms the mind, but also improves memory and judgment. This is because the stimulation increases the supply of nutrients to the brain. Ming Tian Gu is helpful for relieving headaches, especially tension headaches, again because of the increase in the flow of Qi. Finally, Ming Tian Gu can improve the health of the scalp if practiced regularly, and prevent hair loss and graying.
There are two common ways to beat the heaven drum. In the first exercise, tap the top and back of your head, or crown (Figure 3-55), especially on the acupuncture points (Figure 3-56), with your fingertips. When you tap the crown this way, the resulting stimulation to the Qi channels and nervous system increases Qi and blood circulation in the head.
In the second exercise, cover your ears with your palms and place the middle fingers on the Jade Pillow cavity area (Yuzhen, iit)(under the external occipital protuberance)(Figure 3-57). Put your index fingers on the middle fingers, and snap them down to hit your head (Figure 3-58). This will generate a drumming sound in the brain cavity.
Kou Chi is commonly used together with Ming Tian Gu after meditation. It consists of simply biting vigorously (but not too hard) about fifty times. The knocking causes reverberations in the skull, which helps to clear the mind, and also promotes the health of the teeth by stimulating their roots.
If you are interested in knowing more about Ming Tian Gu, Kou Chi, and other medical Qigong exercises, please refer to the book: Eight Simple Qigong Exercises for Health, available from YMAA Publication Center.
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