By Grandmaster Shou-Yu Liang and Master Wen-Ching Wu
The stomach and spleen both provide the material basis for human survival. According to TCM, the stomach receives and digests food, and the spleen transports the food essence. Therefore, they are often lumped together in discussion. After preliminary digestion, the stomach sends the chyme down to the small intestine. Therefore, stomach-qi is smooth when flowing downward. If it is not functioning properly, vomiting may occur.
The spleen is known as the foundation of acquired jing because its function includes transporting acquired jing throughout the body. The spleen also transports acquired jing to the lungs. The lungs then in turn, distribute the acquired jing to other organs. The spleen is also responsible for nourishing the flesh and the limbs. Therefore, the problems associated with the spleen may manifest itself as weakness in the limbs. A sallow complexion is usually caused by a dysfunction of the spleen, indicating the presence of dampness and heat.
Massage the abdomen to strengthen the stomach qigong and spleen qigong
Part 1. Massage the Abdomen to Strengthen the Stomach and Spleen
This technique is designed to strengthen the muscles around the intestines and stomach, to improve blood circulation, thus providing the abdominal muscles and organs in that area with more nutrients; and to strengthen the diaphragm. The stimulation of the nerves in the abdomen can also help with the production of digestive juices in the stomach, intestines, and liver; improving the movements of the intestines, and strengthening the stomach and spleen. This technique can be done while standing or sitting.
Movement and Intention:
Step 1. Use Drawing 1-13 as a reference. Place the three middle fingers of each hand on top of your solar plexus and massage clockwise, towards your left, 21 circles (Figure 1-38). Next massage down towards your pubic bone. Then separate the hands and circle back to your solar plexus (Figures 1-39 and 1-40).
Next push down gently with both hands from your solar plexus to your pubic bone, 21 times (Figure 1-41). Relax your left hand and place your right hand on your navel, and massage clockwise, 21 circles (Figure 1-42). Next, relax your right hand and place your left hand on your navel, and massage counterclockwise, 21 circles (Figure 1-43).
Step 2. Place your right hand on the left side of your chest and your left hand on the edge of your ribs. Gently squeeze and tug with your left hand on your waist (Figure 1-44).
Massage your right hand down towards the inside of your left leg, passing your biguan point; and down towards the outside of your leg, passing your zusanli point, brush across the top of your feet until the back of your heel (Figures 1-45 to 1-48). Repeat 9 to 21 times.
Step 3. Next bend your knees slightly and stand up. Repeat Step 2 on the other side by placing your right hand on the edge of your right ribs and gently squeeze and tug. Then place your left hand under your right nipple and slide down towards the inside of your left leg, passing your biguan point; and down towards the outside of your leg, passing your zusanli point, until the back of your heel. Repeat 9 to 21 times.
Step 4. Repeat the entire exercise, Steps 1 through 3, for 7 sets. The above movements should be done slowly and with your mind focused on what you are doing. When first learning the above exercise, 3 sets are enough. Gradually increase to 7 sets as you get more comfortable doing this exercise. After completing, proceed to the next step.
Step 5. Sit with your legs crossed (or sit on a chair), place your hands on top of your knees in a loose fist, and coil your toes in slightly (Figure 1-49). Rotate your chest from left to right, 21 times; then from right to left, 21 times.
Do not overextend your body when rotating, and don't move too fast or with too much force. Allow the body to move as naturally as possible. Proceed to the next step.
Step 6. Extend your legs and gently hit the zusanli points on each leg with your knuckles, a 100 times on each side (Figure 1-50). The zusanli point is located about four fingers widths down from your knee cap, on lateral side of your tibia.
A. When doing the above exercise, your mind should be focused, and your breathing should be natural. If possible place your hands directly on your skin when practicing. All movements should be done slowly and gently. Don't use too much force.
B. Women should not do this technique while pregnant. During menstruation, women should train more gently, than at other times.
C. Don't train when you are too full or are too hungry. D. Make sure you use the toilet before practice.