As healthcare costs continue to rise, methods of disease prevention gain more and more attention. Proper diet and exercise are the obvious mainstays of disease prevention, in addition to regular health screenings. But how can one exercise can really make a difference?
Meridian exercise is a specific kind of exercise based on traditional Asian medicine. Stretching and joint rotation movements are combined with proper breathing, focus, and body posture to open the energy meridian system of the body and to balance the energy of related organs. Through meridian exercise, the body’s natural self-healing processes are activated and enhanced, preventing disease from developing as well as helping the body eliminate disease more quickly and minimize its symptoms.
How does meridian exercise do this? According to Asian tradition, there is an energy called Ki (Chi or Qi) that flows through channels or pathways (meridians) running from the feet to the head and from the head to the hands. Ki is a vital energy that is the basic life force of the body. In a healthy body, Ki moves and flows freely through the meridian channels. When Ki is blocked from flowing freely, tension and disease result in both body and mind since Ki is the bridge that links them. By removing these blockages, meridian exercise maintains and restores health. Acupuncture and acupressure work on the same principles.
Therefore, a daily meridian exercise program is ideal for preventing disease naturally. The exercises are so simple that even people who are not physically fit or who have limited mobility can do many of them. Abdominal breathing is foundational to any meridian exercise program:
- Abdominal breathing can be performed in either a sitting or a lying posture.
- Form a triangle with your fingers on your lower abdomen with your thumbs meeting each other over the navel to direct your focus to that area of the body.
- With eyes closed, scan your body from head to toe while breathing normally and comfortably.
- Then begin to exaggerate your abdominal movement by distending the abdomen as far as you can while you inhale and contracting it as far as you can while you exhale.
- Focus your mind on the feeling of your breath entering and exiting your abdomen.
- Perform this exercise at least 200 times daily.
Daily practice of abdominal breathing and other meridian exercises is ideal for managing stress, relieving pain, and preventing disease. This self-healing program can also be performed in combination with any other exercise program. Thousands of years of Asian wisdom can now be used by anyone to maximize the body’s potential to heal and maintain itself.
A comprehensive resource for meridian exercise is the book Meridian Exercise for Self-Healing: Classified by Common Symptoms by Ilchi Lee (BEST Life Media, 2008).