Functional mechanisms in Zhang zhuang

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Start your ZZ: assume your posture, hold it during a sufficient time which will bring up relevant nerve excitation in your cerebral cortex. As you are assuming a fixed posture, in the beginning, it is hard to get "inside": your "external" sensing organs (taste-tongue, touch-skin, smell-nose, but especially hearing-ears and sight-eyes) and your "internal" sensing organs (muscles, tendons, joints) under this new stimulation, have certain difficulty to reach an adequate level due to short time of training as you cannot still control completely signal excitation level in your cerebral cortex.

Starting level

But 10 to 20 minutes of Zhang zhuang may bring up some random thoughts, this is called "Manifestation of Random thoughts" Phase. To prevent from random thoughts to interfere with your ZZ practice, it is important to install in your mind the suitable and conscious mental activity. You can remind magnificent sceneries or you can monitor your breathing, you can imagine yourself stepping in a river, holding a ball or relaxing a muscle, etc.

Especially in the beginning to help you in these "monotonous" exercises (ZZ), you may hang a landscape picture on the wall, enjoy an art work such as a fishbowl, a bonsai, some flowers or grass... something nice and positive; or listening radio such as classical music, watching opera, theater, etc. Increase slightly the quality of excitation signal then you can shift back your attention which is better than just remind some pleasant memories and purely imagine the positive results, all these complementary ways are good to focus your mind, get rid of random thoughts, build more patience, reduce effects of emotions... but also this sensation of "endless" exercise, the most important is that you can protect your internal body from unnecessary excitation and accordingly improving the reflective functions in your cerebral cortex. As you are increasing your time of practice, your internal body will release some unusual physiological changes, for example, tingling in hand and/or foot, swelling and pain in both shoulders and both knees, etc... These physiological changes are called "new type of stimulation", they are in fact "information" and also considered as manifestations of Qi.

New type of stimulation

This "new type of stimulation" is detected through the "internal sensors" (muscle, tendon, joint): we are using the Somatic Nervous System where peripheral nerve fibers will transmit sensory information (new type of simulation) to Central Nervous System. Inside the cerebral cortex it will be analyzed, integrated then information will be sent through the motor nerve fibers back to the skeleton.

Within this feedback process (also considered as "exploration feedback"), tingling, pain or swelling sensations but also others feeling can be detected and monitored. This is also through this process that you are able to have muscles and bones maintaining the same posture. Holding the same position induces the same "new type of stimulation" with the same level of excitation intensity. With time and practice it will soon have no more real "new" aspect in this stimulation, the body is getting progressively accustomed to, so that later there is no more "exploration reflect'". For example, when you begin to practice some standing, you may feel tingling, swelling and pain, but as you progress in your practice, this feeling is gradually weaker until disappearing completely.

But in ZZ training program you can use a same posture but continuously changing angles and mind activity, as a result your body is constantly monitoring a "new type of simulation" and a different level of excitation. Under these conditions the cerebral cortex can incessantly monitor information from sensorial organs and send back order up to the local motor system (muscles/joints): you have installed a strong feedback process based on this "new type of stimulation", simultaneously any random thought or any form of unnecessary signal excitation will progressively disappear.

Overcoming a psychological/psychological barrier With ZZ training, it will bring the uncomfortable but inevitably tingling, swelling and pain sensations which, as we have already mentioned, will disappear if you persist in training. Especially in the starting phase this may discourage a large portion of beginners, but it is the cost to pay if you really want to improve your body conditions and/or recover from disease. In the same time it helps you to build up the necessary psychological background required in your coming internal/mental development.

After one or two weeks of training

After one or two weeks of ZZ training you will shift from tingling, swelling and pain reactions into a phase where you will experience slight muscle vibrations, in the time whole body starts to feel hot, to perspire and later it will be filled with a sensation of well being. We can also verify that the perspiration phase is bordered in one side by the acid/swelling/dump/pain phase and in the other side by the well being sensation.

This is how the human body's physiological functions are reacting when quantitative change is shifting to qualitative change. The sensation of well being in whole body happy is in itself a positive stimulation, it indicates that for a certain amount of physical effort your body does not need any more to pass through the acid/swelling/dump/pain phase: you've passed a level and you need to set up a higher one.

With further training this positive stimulation will be more and more deep which means also that the quality of nerve signal excitation in cerebral cortex has reached the higher ratio signal/noise (here noise is referring to auxiliary or unnecessary signals) requested to reach the "internal monitoring" state.

Arousal systems of the brain

"Internal monitoring" involves the arousal systems of the brain. Over the last few decades, scientists have uncovered a system of pathways within the brain, arising from the brainstem, that stimulate the forebrain and cause it to remain awake. These "wakefulness" pathways consist of nerve cells that communicate using as neurotransmitters a group of chemicals, called monamines, and acetylcholine. The monoamines include norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and histamine. Nerve cells containing these monamines are found in clusters along the brainstem; they send their messages to the forebrain through long branches, or axons, that provide an arousing input to the cerebral cortex. In the other hand, the sleep-active nerve cells in the preoptic area of the brain contain GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter which turns down, or dampens, the firing of other cells. When the sleep-active neurons are firing, they profoundly inhibit the arousal systems of the brain, and "turn off the lights.

"Clarifyingyour mental"

As we can understand that it is this system of pathways within the brain and special nerve cells which will directly trigger from deep sleep up to complete wakefulness and in ZZ's "internal monitoring" which reaches its most sophisticated state where high quality signal (pure signal) from nerve excitation without activating sleep.

Post standing can be applied in medical treatment completing eventually other conventional treatments, providing the patient a comfortable and well being sensation, through physiological changes in human body changing his pathological behavior, curing or at least improving his illness and strengthening his body.

For practitioners in good health with strong physical conditions, more interested in achieving top athletic or martial performance, muscles/nerves need higher level of training until reaching the level where under a slightest touch they can "burst" power without interruption with their whole body.

This second kinetics physical training will improve progressively the cerebral cortex stimulation.

Develop higher mental functions with Dachengquan Scientists have demonstrated that cortical areas are those responsible for interconnecting the various sensory and motor areas by means of association fibers.

They are extremely important for the maintenance and development of higher mental activities of any human being, although it is not possible to localize any specific mental faculty or fraction of conscious experience. Concerning Dachengquan, in continuation with Wang Xiang Zhai research, we found out that we can illustrate the mental/body development according to two categories:

- The first one: Control is the starting state where you will "monitor" sensations inside your body, quite similar to the "Qi" effects,

- The second one: Excitation is a much more explicit state where you will progress from a deeper control of contraction/relaxation process up to highest level where you are like interacting without limits with your environment.

In list 2-1 we have summarized the major steps in both these two categories but also those in the "Exploration reflect".

Although we are still limited by the actual knowledge of science concerning mental activities but also especially by the insufficiency of researches on this subject, we believe that Dachengquan may be one of the disciplines which can doors to further discoveries of human mental faculties.

List 2-1 Diagram of functional mechanisms in Zhan Zhuang

List 2-1 Diagram of functional mechanisms in Zhan Zhuang

Zhan Zhuang

Control (monitoring)

Excitation (inducing)

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Control (monitoring)

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New type of stimulation

Post standing

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Responses

  • jodi
    What are some common physical affects of zhang zhuang training?
    4 years ago

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