Proper nutrition and exercise—developing a healthy lifestyle—are the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. Traditional Asian medicine, however, offers additional insight into those extra pounds you would like to be rid of. Like most unhealthy conditions in your body, it says that excess fat is a result of life energy that is not moving, and that it represents thoughts or emotions that you are holding on to.
When you do meridian exercises that get the energy in your body circulating, just as when you do acupressure, you release this stagnant energy. Traditional Asian medicine says that as a result of releasing this energy, you improve your immune system, revitalize your metabolism, and enhance hormone function in general. Therefore, exercises that are specifically designed to circulate the life energy in your body are an important part of any weight loss or healthy lifestyle regimen. While there are many meridian exercises, one that is key for weight loss is body tapping. A very simple, ancient exercise, body tapping can open all the meridian channels through which energy flows. Through tapping, cells are strengthened as they are stimulated and acupressure points are opened.
Anyone can do this exercise, regardless of their age or physical condition. If someone is truly immobile, another person can tap their body for them to receive the same benefit, kind of like getting a massage.
In general, when you tap your body, pat gently and comfortably, and allow your eyes to follow your movements. If you feel discomfort in any area you are tapping, pat more lightly. This is particularly important if you experience stomach distress. Also, do not press into the area. Instead, gently rub your hands together and lightly massage that area. Focus on the sensations in each area of your body as you tap it.
Here is a sequence of tapping with your palms that you can follow for maximum circulation:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lengthen and relax your spine. Relax your shoulders, neck, and arms.
- Extend your left arm in front of you with your palm facing up. With your right hand, pat the inside of the arm from shoulder to fingertips. When you reach your palm, clap your hands 10 times.
- Then turn your left arm over so that the palm is facing the ground. Pat the back of your hand up to your shoulder. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for your right arm.
- Next pat your whole chest. Once you become comfortable, increase the strength of the patting until it almost becomes a slapping movement.
- Then pat your solar plexus, your stomach on the left side under your rib cage, and your liver on your right.
- Move your hands to your back and tap over your kidneys on either side of your spine right below where your rib cage ends.
- Then tap down your lower back and, bending forward slightly, over your buttocks and down the back of your legs.
- Tap the top of your feet and up the front of your legs to your hip bones.
- Tap the side of your hips, down the outside of your legs, then your ankles, your instep, and up the inside of your legs.
- When you reach your abdomen, pat it in a rhythmic motion. As your abdomen relaxes and becomes less painful, increase the pressure of the patting until it becomes a striking motion. Repeat 100 times. As your abdomen becomes stronger, slowly increase the repetitions to 300.
- When you have finished, rub your abdomen in a clockwise motion. Then cross your arms with your hands on your shoulders and sweep your hands down the front of your body as you uncross your arms. Lastly, sweep your hands down the back side of your body.
The final abdominal tapping will stimulate, strengthen, and soften your intestines to restore normal peristaltic movement to help eliminate poorly digested food and toxins. This effect will boost weight loss, especially in the abdominal area, and will relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Practice tapping your whole body every day as a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle and weight loss regimen. You can find more meridian exercises for weight loss at a local Dahn Yoga Center (www.dahnyoga.com) or in the book Meridian Exercise for Self-Healing by Ilchi Lee.