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 BlackPineHealing.com.