Techniques from the Shaolin Cosmos Eighteen Lohan Hands for Treating Specific Problems
The forte of Qi Gong is generating energy flow. From the Chinese medical paradigm, all illness are caused by an energy blockage...in other words, as long as you have the necessary skills (which are the secrets of this deep art) like entering a Qi Gong state of mind or a meditative and relaxed state and generating the vitalenergy flow, you´ll be on the path of recovering from illness.
The golden Qi Gong exercise, the one that you can use to treat any illness or injury is called Self-manifested Qi Movement. In this article, I´ll explain other Qi Gong techniques that you can use to heal certain illness and injuries. Self-manifested Qi Flow is a holistic approach, and I´ll discuss this wonderful art in another article. Now I´ll focus on a thematic approach using some excellent dynamic patterns.
The difference between holistic approach and thematic approach is just a matter of emphasis, in other words, holistic approach is practical as it does not matter where the illness is or other details, as long as a vigorous energy flow is generated it will go to the problem site and start working on it. But sometimes, thematic or specific approach may be more cost-effective, especially when you know exactly what the problem is. Besides it can shorten the time needed to achieve recovery, for example, let´s say you want to heal an elbow injury, it make take you 3 months using Self-manifested Qi Movement (holistic or overall approach) and one month using Big Windmill (a specific technique for activating good energy flow at the arm). Please bear in mind, we are talking about emphasis but it does not imply that you cannot use a specific technique to achieve overall health or an holistic method to treat a specific problem. But knowing this philosophy beforehand will make our Qi Gong practise more cost-effective.
Contrary to the western belief, when one person is sick and weak, it’s necessary to use gentle and soft exercises that emphasize good energy flow instead of powerful Qi Gong exercises that build energy level or internal force. A simple explanation will make this point clearer: too much energy in a system that is blocked will only create more pressure and aggravate the situation.
Exercises like the 8 Brocades, 18 Lohan Hands, Self-manifested Qi Movement, 5 Animal Play are perfect examples of good health and medical Qi Gong exercises. But, although these exercises are very popular today, the truth is that most people practise them as gentle physical exercise instead of Qi Gong or energy exercise. Logically, these practitioners obtain physical exercise benefits, but those benefits are less than 30% of the potential benefits of Qi Gong when practised correctly as Mind and Energy exercise.
In this article I´ll use 8 patterns selected from the Shaolin Cosmos 18 Lohan Hands that are very effective for treating specific problems. Before we start, please remember that the prerequisites for high level Qi Gong to work are entering a Qi Gong state of mind and generating energy flow. The patterns or techniques are just a means to an end.
The pictures are meant to give you an idea of the pattern, but for them to be effective you should learn from a competent instructor. A simplified explanation of each pattern is provided.
· Keep your mouth slightly open during the exercises, to enhance the flushing out of negative or stale energy.
· Don´t use any brute force. In Qi Gong the less tension and muscular force the better, as tension impedes smooth energy flow.
· The most important and crucial aspect is the mind, for two reasons: first, don´t think or worry unnecessarily, a relaxed state of mind during Qi Gong practise will bring about the best benefits. Two, you must have an unwavering faith in the fact that Qi Gong will overcome your specific disease.
· Finally, a good advice is to enjoy the practise session.
Eight Shaolin cosmos Qi Gong Dynamic techniques for treating different health problems
1- Turning Head (Turning of the Cosmos) - headache, migraine, nervous system problems, nervousness
2- Separating Water - asthma, heart and lung problems, depression
3- Plucking Stars - stomach/spleen and liver disorders, ulcer, gastritis, indigestion, diabetes, anxiety
4- Nourishing Kidneys - kidney and urinary system diseases, sexual problems, phobia and proneness to fear
5- Big Windmill - stomach and liver problems, treatment of injuries of arms (shoulder, elbow or wrist) and cervical pain
6- Carrying Mountains - strengthens the arms, lungs and heart. Treatment and healing of back pain and waist pain.
7- Divine Crane rotating Knees - healing of knee and ankle injuries. Rehabilitation of knee injuries.
8- Three levels to the ground - treatment of leg pain and injuries, strengthening the heart, haemorrhoids, varicose veins
Turning Head (Turning of the cosmos)
This is a simple yet very profound pattern. If you think its only purpose is to loosen neck muscles, then you are viewing it as gentle physical exercise, not Qi Gong. As a Qi Gong or energy exercise it can be used to treat headache, migraine and nervous system disorders.
Turning Head: Stand upright and relaxed, clear your mind of all thoughts and worries and then move your head gently from side to side 4 times, then describe a circle 2 times in each direction. Finally, close your eyes and relax, you may notice some tingling sensations, and your body swaying, just enjoy this sensation for a couple of minutes.
This is an excellent pattern to treat lung and heart problems, although is advisable that persons with serious heart problems practise it gently under a master´s supervision. It provides a good solution to asthma and other similar conditions.
Sadness and depression are related to heart and lung energy flow, practising Separating Water will "open" them, thus recovering good emotional health.
Separating Water: Stand upright and relaxed, don´t think of anything. Keep your arms straight in front of the chest with palms facing outward (see figure 1), then open your arms still with the arms straight and the wrists bent in right angles and breath out. Return to the beginning position breathing in gently. Repeat 10 to 15 times, then lower your hands, relax your arms, close your eyes and enjoy Qi flow.
Figure 1.Separating Water.
Plucking Stars is very effective in overcoming problems related to the spleen, stomach and liver. After regular and correct practise of this exercise you can eat delicious food and enjoy this pleasure, even if you had gastric problems before! As anger and anxiety are often related to this organs, Plucking Stars will be helpful in restoring normal emotional reactions.
Stand upright and relaxed, don´t worry about anything. Form a ball between your palms in front of you. Then separate the hands, one over your head facing the sky, the lower hand pressing down, see figure 2. Return to the "holding ball" position. Alternate between right hand and left hand on top. Repeat about 20 times. Then, just drop your arms to the sides, close your eyes and enjoy.
Figure 2. Plucking Stars.
Here, Kidneys refer not only to the physical organ but the kidney meridians. Sexual problems, lack of vitality and kidney problems. It helps to overcome emotional issues like low self-confidence and proneness to fear. It is also a good exercise for women who suffer painful periods.
Stand upright and relaxed. Bend forward and try to touch your feet with your fingers, then bend backwards with your hands supporting your lower back (see figure 3), pause in that position for 3 or 4 seconds, feeling the warm of your hands over your kidneys, finally return to standing upright position. Repeat about 10 times.
Figure 3. Nourishing Kidneys.
This exercise is similar in benefits to Plucking Stars, as it regulates the internal organs of the middle area, stomach, liver, etc. But I have included it here as a fantastic technique for healing or aiding in recovery of injuries of the upper extremities. It´s a good remedial exercise for arm bruises, shoulder, elbow and hand injuries. It´s also a good remedial exercise for injuries of the ribs.
Stand upright and relaxed. Begin with right arm and repeat the following exercise 10 times, pausing for 2 seconds after each repetition. Then follow the same procedure with left arm. Draw a complete circle with your arm straight lifting your hand in front and upwards, and in a continuous movement backward and downwards but don´t use any force. Follow your hand with your eyes in a relaxed way.
It´s amazing how easy it can be to overcome various problems with this exercise; lower, middle and upper back pain, spine and waist injuries can be helped with Carrying Mountains. Qi Gong is not a black or white art...the same exercise can be used to other objectives, in this case, you can use Carrying Mountains to make your heart and lung system stronger.
Don´t be misled by its simplicity, you´ll find performing this pattern is as enjoyable as it is effective.
Stand upright, relax and free yourself from worries. Keep your arms horizontal at shoulder height all the time, palms facing down. Then continuously turn your body side to side without moving your "cross-shaped" position. After a couple of minutes, drop slowly your arms and enjoy the sensations of energy flow. If your body sways, just let go and have fun!
Divine Crane Turns Knees
This pattern is another excellent therapeutic tool for treating knee and leg injuries. It can be used as a part of treatment in traumatology, after the fracture or dislocation has been reduced and the patient is undergoing rehabilitation. Qi Gong exercises not only provide movement but, more important, enhancing energy flow to repair wear and tear and drain stagnation of blood and energy. Combined with Nourishing Kidneys, it enhances sexual enjoyment and vitality.
Flex your knees slightly, with your feet firm on the ground. Massage your knees gently with the centre of your hands, see figure 4. Rotate your knees slowly 30 times to each side. Finally, stand upright and relax, let the energy massage your knees, don´t worry about how it happens.
Figure 4. Divine Crane Turns Knees.
Three Levels to the Ground
Three levels to the Ground is one of my favourite patterns. Although its multiple benefits include making your heart and legs stronger and building your vitality. I´ll mention here one of my personal discoveries that I've used many times to help people overcome two very painful and annoying problems: varicose veins and haemorrhoids. It is also a very useful pattern to generate an energy flow in the legs to heal injuries.
Stand upright with your arms horizontal to the sides at shoulder level, feet parallel and separated at shoulder distance. Slowly squat fully as down as you can get without lifting your heels, see figure 5. Breathe out when you go down, and breath in gently when you go up. After 15 repetitions, stand upright, close your eyes and let go, soon you´ll feel energy flow moving you.
Figure 5. Three Levels to the Ground.
I hope this introduction to this 8 specific Shaolin Qi Gong exercises for overcoming pain and illness will help many people to cure different injuries and diseases, including some of the so called "chronic" diseases. Let me remind you again, using Qi Gong for treating serious illness requires high level skills that should be learnt from very good instructors.
Even the 8 simple and basic patterns presented in this article can be practised at various levels depending on the practitioners skill, from the low level of physical fitness and relaxation, to medium level of enhancing good health and vitality and even, at a high level, for healing life threatening diseases, and other advanced purposes like mind expansion and spiritual joys.
sifu Daniel Pérez Romero, Shaolin Wahnam Barcelona, www.shaolinbcn.co