In qigong healing and in TCM the Heart plays a vital role in healing. In fact you could say that all healing begins with the Heart.
But, let’s make it clear that the Heart I’m talking about isn’t the human heart as known by western science, the one that pumps oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood around the body, and it certainly isn’t the romantic love heart. No, the Heart I’m talking about is the TCM view of the Heart. The Heart System and the functions of the Heart.
In TCM all the organs that you know of from western medicine are referred to by their functions.
So in TCM the functions of the Heart are:
- Governs the balance between the formation of blood and Qi – strong qi requires nourishment from the blood. Over working can deplete Heart qi. Heart qi keeps the blood circulating.
- Controls the movement of blood in the vessels – the Heart maintains the condition of the blood vessels and regulates blood flow. The Heart supplies the power that keeps blood flowing.
- Houses the Shen (mind/spirit) – The Heart system controls the way the brain thinks and feels.
- Expresses its condition through the complexion – the Heart function manifests itself in the face.
- Opens into the tongue – Colour and texture of the tongue, particularly its tip and clarity of speech reflects the health of the Heart. The Heart is closely linked with the sense of taste.
As you can see the TCM Heart is very, very different from the western medicine heart.
The Heart is known in TCM as The Emperor, because it is the supreme controller or all the other systems within the body. If the Heart is functioning well you will feel peace, if its functioning is chaotic you will be feeling out of control.
A face and head massage is really good for calming, for feeling good and for helping with depression, I learned this whilst studying Tui Na (Chinese therapeutic massage).
As I mentioned at the start of this post, All healing begins with the Heart. Specifically we have to learn to ‘open the heart’. The practice of Qigong is excellent for opening the heart. When the Heart is open it benefits all the emotions.
From a qigong healing viewpoint the following patterns and techniques are very useful:
- Smiling from the heart – a lovely technique, don’t let its simplicity fool you!
- Butterfly Dancing in Front of Flowers – one of my all time favourites, because it is very safe to practice and is very effective for opening the heart.
- Punching with Wide Eyes – more powerful than Butterfly Dancing. BUT – only if learned and practiced correctly. Done incorrectly it can do more harm than good. So learn it from an instructor!
- Green Dragon Separating Water – Perhaps the most powerful pattern of them all for opening the heart and specifically for overcoming depression. A very simple looking pattern, but it’s so easy to get it wrong. Best avoided unless learned directly from an instructor.
I’ll share some simpler ways to ‘open the heart’ that you can practice on your own in my next post.
Marcus James Santer