Many people struggle with digestion due to improper eating, lack of water and even due to lack of exercise among many other reasons. While solving issues related to digestion should be addressed in a comprehensive manner that takes into consideration your overall diet and lifestyle, there are some basic techniques you can use to aid in digestion naturally using your body. From a Qigong perspective, if there is a problem created in the body then the body has the ability to solve it naturally, hence knowing the connection between energy points and how they relate to another for healing can be beneficial to one’s health even with digestion issues.
Here are some exercises to do daily in order to maintain good bowel movements and overall digestion.
We know this does not sound pleasant. However, trust us when we say this is one of the best and quickest things you can do for helping your digestion. There are 2 main ways to do this. The first is to swish the tongue on each side of the mouth (right side, left side and at the top behind the front teeth) 36 times. Once this has been completed swish the saliva in your mouth until you have a good mouthful and then swallow down to your dantian, which is located 3 finger widths below the belly button and 3 finger widths inward into your stomach. Make sure to divide the saliva into 3 different gulps. This same exact process can be done but by moving the tongue around the teeth both front and back and in both directions 36 times each for a total of 4 sets. Both of these methods produce the same results but are conducted slightly differently based on various schools of Qigong. The latter method found in the Head to Toe Healing book from Spring Forest Qigong argues this also aids in heartburn and acid reflux.
Massaging the lips
Place the palm of either hand directly over the mouth and massage in a circular way 36 times and then repeat the process rubbing your hands the other way. There are many energy points in the mouth area that connect to the pancreas and stomach, so rubbing the mouth as such can help stimulate those energy points and aid in digestion. Rubbing your hands together until they are warm before doing this helps improve this exercise. Repeat as many times necessary and we believe doing this 1-2 times a day will make a difference.
Massaging the corners of the mouth
This exercise is basically done the same way as the lips massage only you move the attention to the corners of the mouth where there is a more direct connection to the large intestines and digestive system. Alternatively, you can pat these areas with your fingers for 1-2 minutes to get the same results if you are having difficulty with rubbing.
Shuai Shou or “Arm Swinging”
This exercise is popular within many schools of Qigong. Shown in a video filmed in Taiwan, the movement consists of swinging the arms up and down starting from shoulder height in a relaxed manner. While doing this the body remains relaxed and the feet clench the ground kind like a cat does to grip the ground. This stimulates the stomach channels each time you swing and allows the body to have improved circulation. On each fifth swing make sure to bend down a little as shown in the video, as this is part of the exercise.
An alternative to this is the bouncing exercise used by Spring Forest Qigong, which is also good for opening the lung channels and is the warm-up activity used before doing any SFQ active exercise.
One of the best methods for helping you digest is to drink tea. In China, almost every restaurant accompanies meals with warm tea, as warm drinks are healthy for the blood’s circulation compared with cold drinks, and because tea helps the body digest meals due to polyphenols. Adding tea into your diet after meals is a great way to also speed up metabolism and keep the body healthy due to the catchiness and flavonoids found in tea such as Pu’er and Green Tea. For more information on the benefits of tea, make sure to check out the tea section on Qiful Living to see why “Qigong and Tea a day keep the doctor away.” The site weightlossteas.ca also has information on this aspect.
Lastly, make sure your body has enough balance between its water, fruit and vegetable intake. Many people who suffer from constipation do not have enough fruit and water. For those experiencing excessive bowel movements, we found that many Chinese doctors suggest reducing oily foods. Many people in Taiwan suffer from this as most lunches and dinners served outdoors are overly oily but when you switch to cooking less oily foods or add tea along with the Qigong exercises into the picture there is a world of difference.