My good friend (and Tai Chi Alchemist) Stephanie lives near Tokyo and, needless to say, her life has been upended by earthquakes, tsunami, and radiation. I sent her the following exercises to help deal with the toll that stress takes on your health. So many of us are taking a pounding lately just hearing about all the crap that is occurring around the world that I thought others may benefit as well.
I recently wrote about the spleen/triple warmer relationship (March 21, 2011). Sometimes the TW gets carried away overseeing all the police actions in the body and the first place it goes to borrow energy is spleen. I wrote:
Spleen meridian governs spleen and pancreas. Oversees blood supply, metabolism, and homeostasis. Not just at physical level, but also how we “metabolize” life experience, where we set our homeostasis in times of stress. Spleen is t’ai chi-like in that it maintains effective defense of the organism by fostering good health and promoting balance.
Triple warmer takes over when danger is perceived (immune response) and is like martial law. It conscripts energy from the other meridians (except heart), starting with the spleen. This immediately weakens the body, pulling energy from metabolism, homeostasis, nourishment, and blood supply. Continued stress sets up a dysfunctional pattern which further adds stress to the system.
Tonifying the spleen is as important as is calming the TW. I learned the following exercise from Donna Eden and have been amazed by its simple effectiveness. I have showed it to hundreds of people and everyone has gotten benefit when they do it. I learned it as “The Three Thumps”, and she recently added another point. It can be done by anyone anytime anywhere. You can’t OD. The effects are cumulative and it helps to restore a healthy functioning to your energy systems. Try to do this ten times a day. It just takes a minute or two.
First Thump: K-27 (Kidney 27) is located in the fleshy hollow just under your clavicle (collarbone) and to either side of your sternum (breastbone). Just feel into that area about an inch to the side of your sternum and for about 90% of us it’ll be tender when you press it. That tenderness is a sign that it needs a little attention. When we get tired or stressed, qi reverses direction in the meridian. This is a signal to slow down and rest. Being clever humans, however, we have found many ways to ignore that signal and keep going. If we do this repeatedly over time the energy system gets confused about which direction is correct. Traffic gets jammed. Thumping K-27 with your fingertips or knuckles can help to get things moving in the right direction.
Thumping is a bit more directed than just tapping. You want a little percussion when you thump. You want to hear it. I like to thump repeatedly while breathing diaphragmatically. Four breaths. Abdominal breathing helps to calm the autonomic nervous system as well as the TW. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Pause for a moment and feel the shift in your internal state. The effect is almost immediate.
Second Thump: Thymus gland plays a big part in your immune system. It is very responsive to stress. It’s behind the second rib on the sternum, about two inches down from the top of your breastbone.Consciously vibrating it with your fingers charges up the thymus and with it the immune system. (Think gorilla pounding it’s chest.) “Immunity” here is more than just fighting off colds and flu. It’s about feeling safe in the world…and that feeling creates a positive effect on your body’s ability to deal with all the challenges it encounters.
Third Thump: SPLEEN! (You knew I’d get here eventually.) Charge this guy up by thumping your lower ribcage toward the sides. You don’t have to be exact. The spleen neurolymphatic points are there and the whole area is governed by the spleen meridian. So just find a tender spot under the breasts and toward the side (lateral). If you ate something and it’s not sitting right, thump the spleen. Just saw something distressing on CNN? Thump the spleen. It will enable you to “metabolize” the experience. You’ll be better able to handle non-coherent energy without deleterious effects to your health.
Fourth Thump: ST-2 (Stomach 2) This one is at the bottom of the cheekbone below the eyes. It energizes as well as grounds you. You don’t have to strike this one as hard… more of a tap. (“Three Thumps and a Tap”?)
Give it a try. Some people notice a shift in their energy immediately. Try it for a week or two to see changes at the physical level.