While yoga is not a Chinese medicine practice, I found National Geographic’s piece, “New Study Shows Yoga Has Healing Powers” interesting in light of what we East Asian Medicine Practitioners know and believe about the body’s acupoints and energy gates. The author cites a recent study, “Impact on Inflammation, Mood, and Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” in which they found poses like the downward-facing dog (see above image) can reduce inflammation in patients fighting cancer.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

While some think yoga is subjectively pleasant and/or helpful, its wonderful to be able to say its effects can also be objectively measured. National Geographic reports, “Blood tests before and after the trial showed that, after three months of yoga practice, all three markers for inflammation [proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β)] were lower by 10 to 15 percent.”

Energetic Benefits of Downward-Facing Dog

If you’ll notice, in the Downward-Facing Dog, a person connects with the ground at the palms and soles of the feet; these locations match to what is considered in Chinese medicine four of the body’s major energy gates. An energy gate is where the strength of the body’s energy, or qi, is regulated. At each palm center, we find the acupoint, Lao Gong (“Palace of Toil”); and under the ball of each foot is Yong Quan (“Gushing Spring”). From these points we can draw energy into the body or send energy out of the body. It’s no surprise to me then, that in connecting these energy gates to the earth (as is done in Downward-Facing Dog), individuals naturally release pathogenic energy into the earth for recycling and draw in healing earth energy into their body. Want to be more mindful of this exchange? Imagine breathing in earth energy through your left-hand side, and breathing out stress and inflammation from your right palm and sole.

Want to learn more about using your energy gates? Come join us this March for a 9-week course in Reiki energy work! Deadline for registration, 03/15/14 (limited to 6 students). More at

1 comment:

  1. Reblogged this on Reiki Energy Work for Everyday People and commented:

    Every notice how good it can feel to walk barefoot in the grass or on the beach? Or just how comforting a friend’s touch can be? Our hands and the soles of our feet are energy centers where we can draw in or send out energy.

    Your practice this week: Try resting your hands on your heart for 5-20 minutes holding the intention gently in mind, “I give you my full attention, heart. I love you. I am listening.” How does it feel to be with yourself in this space of kindness?

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