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Rubbing the stomach

" Rubbing the stomach" is a simple form of self-massage which has a particularly beneficial effect on the nervous and digestive systems. This particular set of exercises was developed from ancient and modern material on the subject in accordance with traditional and contemporary medical principles. Recent experiments have proved its efficacy in preventing and curing chronic disseases such as high blood pressure, neurasthenia, enterogastritis, constipation and gastric ulcer.

1. Posture

You may do the execises in either sitting or lying position. In the sitting posture, hold your trunk upright, with the chest slightly drawn in, shoulders relaxed, eyes gazing ahead, feet flat on floor and shoulder-width apart, toes pointing for ward. If you are on a bed, cross your legs comfortably. If you are ill or too weak to sit up, you may lie on your back with a pillow under your head, eyes gazing at the tip of your nose, legs together and slightly bent at knees, toes of both feet turned slightly outward and heels, resting firmly on the bed.

2. Method

Before beginning , look at Illustration 1 to familiarize yourself with the acupuncture points and other parts of the body involved in the massage.
(1) Rubbing Zhongwan : Place hands, one on top of the other, on the pit of your stomach. Using the pads of the index, middle and ring fingers (hereinafter referred to as the "middle three fingers" ) of both hands, exert light pressure in circular movement around the Zhongwan point in a clockwise direction . (Illus. 2) Do this 36 times.

Illus. 2 Rubbing the stomach
(2) Rubbing the navel: Place hands one on top of the other as in (1). Starting from the left side of your navel, rub around it clockwise 18 times. Reversing the position of the hands and starting from the right side of your navel, rub around it counterclockwise 18 times. (3) Rubbing qihai and guanyuan: Place your hands one on top of the other as in (1) . Starting from qihai, move clockwise down to guanyuan and up again to qihai.Do this 18 times. then do the exercise another 18 times by reversing the position of the hands and rubbing in the counterclockwise direction.

(4) Stroking renmai: Placing your hands one on top of the other as in 91). Starting from the pit of your stomach, stroke lightly down to the pubes, where the hands separate and, with the middle three fingers of each hand, rub over the concavity of the ilium and up to the nipples, then back to the pit of the stomach where you place your hands one over the other again for the rubing (Illus 3.). Repeat the whole process 36 times.
(5) Rubbing the whole stomach: Place left hand on left hip with thumb in front and fingers to the back. Rub with your right palm from the concavity of the right ilium, up to the upper right side of the stomach and crosswise to the upper left side, then down to the concavity of the left ilium before returning to the starting positon (Illus.4.).Do the exercise 18 times with the right palm and another 18 times with the left.
(6)Stroking the waist: Place hands on waist with fingers drwn together and pointing forward and thumbs pressing below the lower ribs (Illus.5) . Prss palms towards each other so that your belly protrudes a little, then release allowing belly protrudes a little, then release allowing belly to return to nomal. Do this 18 times.
(7)Massaging internal organs: Sit with legs crossed comforatably, hands on your knees. Rotate trunk slowly nine times clcokwise and another nine tiems in the counterclockwise direction (Illus.6) The amplitude of rotation should be as large as possible.  

(8)Pressing : With one hand on hip (thumb in front and fingers on back). use the tips of the outstrectched middle three fingers( the little finger and thumb are bent ) of the other hand for the manipuation. Slowly press hard on acupuncture points 5-7 times, each time releasing the pressure slowly. This method should not be used if you have calluses on your hands. Pressure points may be selected all over the abdomen, and should be spaced out about two and a half inches apart. (9) Deep breathing: take either the sitting or lying posture. If you sit, place hands on knees and fix eyes on the tip of your nose. If you lie supine, place hands at your sides. Before taking a deep breath, dispel all stray thoughts from your mind, igore all nosises, and concentrate your attention on dantian, a point about 4 centimetres below the navel. Relax completely and breathe naturally and quietly 20 times. You may now proceed to deep breathing, which should be slow and even. In hale through your nose while the tip of your tongue rests lightly on the hard palate, and exhale with your mouth as you release your tongue. Repeat 20-30 times. You should imagine an air current rising from dantian to your chest when you inhale, and returning to dantianas you exhale. Gradually deepen your breaths to increase ventilation. This will vary from person to person. Don't strain yourself or stop breathing at any moment. Towards the end of the exercise, you should gradually decrease the depth of breathing so as to recover your nomal breathing patten.

3.Points to Remember

(1) You can practise this set of exercises 2-3 times a day- morning, noon and evening, or you can do it in bed every morning and evening. The number of repetitions for each exercise is not restricted to what is spectified in the foregoing sections ; it may be increased to any where fro dozens to hundreds of tiems as your physical condition permits. If you are ill, you should increase the number until the symptoms of your illness are timprorarily alleviated or disappear entirely. In any case, you should feel good after each self-massage.

(2) Concentrate and breathe naturally throughout the exercises. Always let your mind follow your manipulations.

(3) Follow the principle of progression when learning the deep breathing exercise. Gradually increase the depth of your breathing and the number of repetitions.

(4) To achieve better results, you should rub on your bare skins rather than through your clothing. Keep your room warm toa prevent yourself from catching a cold.

(5) The rubbing exercises should be done gently, slowly and continuously. Avoid applying excessive pressure that may injure your internal organs. This warrants special attention from women, especially older women, whose abdominal walls are thinner and more fragile than those of men. Women should also exert less pressure during menstrual periods.

(6) These rubbing exercises sometimes result in a quickening of gastrointestinal peristalsis, which in turn may lead to " stomach rumbling", flatulence, eructation, hunger pangs, or an urge for defecation. When you first practise deep breathing, you may feel a bit stuffy in your chest . These are all normal reactions and will disappear if you practise the exercises over a long period of time.

(7) Pregnant women are forbidden to do this set fo exercises. So are people who suffer from mailignant stomach tumours or from gastric or intestinal perforation, hemorrhage of internal organs or acute abdominal diseases. Don't do the exercises when you are hungry or have just eaten. If necessary, go to the bathroom before starting a session.

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