Interview met Zhang Guangde over de oefeningen voor verbetering van de spijsvertering.
Transcriptie van dit interview (met dank aan Peer Brouwers)
Li Fei: What is the Stomach-Spleen Set?
Zhang Guangde: The Stomach & Spleen Set is a Daoyin exercise that strengthens stomach and spleen functions and helps to prevent and cure indigestion, gastric pains, ulcers, and digestive system disorders such as constipation, hemorrhoids and rectocele. [Remark : probably by rectocele: prolapse of the rectum is meant PB]
Li Fei: What is the concept of this exercise and how is the breathing done?
Zhang Guangde: The concept is different to the Heart Set and the Respiratory Set.
It also centers on control of the mind but only on Dan Tian.
Li Fei: What is Dan Tian?
Zhang Guangde: Dan Tian covers the area from the belly button down to ‘Qi Hai’, 1.5 inches below and down another 1.5 to the ‘Guan Yuan’ point then to Xian Yu, parallel to the belly button.
This circular area is 3-dimensional that goes round to the back. So, Dan Tian is not an acupoint but an area. We focus our mind here, since this is about where the spleen and stomach are.
When you concentrate on this spot it creates an energy flow which helps digestion and certain digestive system disorders.
Li Fei: What about the breathing?
Zhang Guangde: The breathing of this Set is different to that of the Heart Set and the Respiratory Set.
It requires that during breathing one relaxes the end of the alimentary tract which is more commonly known referred to as the anus. When breathing in, lift and contract the anus. This is called Buttock Contraction. When breathing out, relax the anus. Repeat this several times and breathe through the stomach. This is like massaging the stomach and spleen which strengthens their activity hence enhancing the digestive function.
This in turn improves the function of these organs therefore improving your health. Chinese doctors call this Replenishing Qi. Push up the anus, and breathe in. Breathe out, relax the anus.
This strengthens the sphincter muscle in the anus. With a strong sphincter muscle the blood flow to the heart increases. So, frequent practice of this exercise can increase blood flow to the heart. It can also help constipation hemorrhoids or rectocele.
Li Fei: This Stomach-Spleen Set seems to contain more leg exercises. Why is that?
Zhang Guangde: The leg movements in this set are tied directly to study of the veins. For the spleen, let’s look at this.
The related acupoints start from the outside of the big toe, this pressure point is called Yin Bai. From Yin Bai it moves along the inside of the leg all the way up to the chest, then round to the armpit.
For the stomach, it starts from the second toe [Remark; the stomach meridian starts just below the eye. ZG points to the last point of the stomach luo] where there is a point called Li Yue. The third toe has no pressure points but it still relates to the stomach. So when we point the toes up and down it creates good stimulation of the spleen and stomach. It improves blood circulation to these organs.
When pointing the toes up in the hollow underneath our foot is the Yong Chuan point. Pointing the toes up puts pressure on this point since Yong Chuan is the starting point for the kidneys, by indirectly massaging the kidneys we can strengthen our back and kidneys. So the Stomach-Spleen Set emphasizes movement of the extremities which are the toes in this case.
Li Fei: I’ve heard the Stomach-Spleen Set has a healing effect on stomach ailments and is also good for diabetes. Why is that?
Zhang Guangde: Through decades of promoting this life-nourishing Dao Yin exercise, we’re certain of their benefit to diabetes. I’ll tell you why. There are several reasons.
First we must understand what causes diabetes. Chinese doctors call diabetes the ‘Three Excesses’. First Excessive drinking. This is due to heat in the lungs. Second, excessive eating, this is due to heat in the stomach. The more you eat the quicker you digest. Third, excessive urination. This is due to weak kidneys. After knowing what causes the ailment we’ll look at tghe Stomach-Spleen Set, including the first and second exercises. They involve arm movements rotating through a large range. The larger the range the stronger the effect. This helps to clear the heat in the lungs. The hands will beat acupoints in the leg, the abdomen and the back, such as Yu and Ming Men. This can strengthen the kidneys. When beating the leg the force can be strong, this clears heat in the stomach.
As I said, pointing the toes up stimulates the Yong Chuan point. This ensures the kidneys are clear and are therefore healthier. From our own experience practising this set for some time also helps to treat diabetes.
Li Fei: What’s the best time to do this exercise?
Zhang Guangde: Regarding the time, if we look at it from the meridians angle then the best time should be seven to nine am because the veins in our body are like tides, they ebb and flow. The high point for the stomach is seven to nine am whereas for the spleen it’s nine to eleven am. So if we practise the Stomach-Spleen Set within this time frame, we’ll achieve the best results. Chinese doctors call this high point for Chi as being ‘Open’. During this time if we coordinate with exercises the results will be far better than practising at other times.