Tag Archives: stretching

Makko Ho Exercises for Qi Developement

Makko Ho Exercises

The Makko Ho (Makko-Ho) are the meridian stretching exercises that were developed by Mr. Nagai as an aid to promote health and well-being. The stretches are designed to stimulate the flow of energy (Qi) in the meridians as well as stretching and strengthening the muscles.
When he was 42 years old, Mr. Nagai suffered a stroke that paralyzed half his body. Doctors said that he would never recover his full body movement but he was determined to find a way back to full health and prove the doctors wrong. It took him three years to gain his full health during which he developed the Makko-Ho exercises.

Posture

Makko Ho - Makko-Ho Metal posture

A basic rule of thumb is that you should, over time, increase the stretch until you get close to your own limitations, using the breath while remaining calm and relaxed. It is more important that you are aware of the tensions in the body that occur during the execution of the exercises than trying to undertake overly strong stretches.
The exercises enhance the Qi flow in all twelve meridians with each stretch working on a Primary Meridian pair according to the Five Elements (Qualities) of Chinese Medicine.

 

  • Primary Fire – Heart and Small Intestine meridians
  • Secondary Fire – Heart Governor and Triple Warmer meridians
  • Earth – Stomach and Spleen meridians
  • Metal – Lung and Large Intestine meridians
  • Water – Bladder and Kidney meridians
  • Wood –Gall Bladder and Liver meridians

The most important thing is to learn to breathe properly, to allow your body to benefit from the positive energy (Qi) that they take in with each inhalation and let their body benefit from the elimination of negative energy when they exhale.
There is a great description of the Makko-Ho at Pro-Holistic

Optimal Health Look after yourself

Look after yourself

To look after yourself and maintain optimal health and well-being you have to take some responsibility for your own health. You might like to consider some of the following.  These techniques cost very little in terms of money or time.

Water

Most people will improve their general health simply by drinking more water.  Good hydration encourages good drainage of the lymph system, and enables the body to excrete waste products and toxins out of the body cells more effectively; it enables nutrients to be more easily absorbed into the cells.

All the health and beauty magazines advise you to drink water.  Ideally a person should drink 25 ml per kilogram of body weight per day (so a 60 kg person should drink 60 x 25 ml = 1500ml or 1.5 litres per day).  This would increase the more physically active you are or depending on your work environment.  Bottled water is best.  Tap water is OK, but is full of chlorine, metals, antibiotics and hormones etc., and will become unpalatable once you are used to the real thing! Tea, coffee and fizzy drinks etc. are not utilised by the body in the same way.  Many of these drinks contain additives, preservatives, sweeteners or sugar that upset normal metabolism.

Yoga Exercises – for flexibility of body and mind.

By stretching the muscles and tissues of the body, energy flows more freely.  Ten or fifteen minutes of stretching in the morning is a great way to start the day, and the more often you do it, the better you’ll feel.

Always move gently from one position to the next and don’t over-stretch.  None of these exercises should cause pain or discomfort.

Salute to the sun

  1. Stand relaxed, feet together, hands together as if praying.
  2. Breathe in.  Stretch arms high above head, bending gently backwards.
  3. Breathe out.  Bend forwards, starting with the head bent, then the neck, upper back and lower back.  Arms hang loosely downwards towards the feet.  Feel each of the vertebrae stretching as you bend forwards.  Bend knees, if necessary, until your hands touch the floor.
  4. Breathe in.  Left leg moves back, right knee bends at right angles as if on the starting blocks for a race.  Head raised.
  5. Breathe out.  Hands on the floor, feet on the floor, lift bottom into the air making a right-angle at the waist.  Head drops down relaxed.
  6. Breathe in.  Lying flat on the floor, hands level with shoulders, push up so that your shoulders are off the floor while your hips are still touching the floor.  Head up.
  7. Breathe out.  Position (e), – bottom in the air.
  8. Breathe in.  Bring right leg forwards and go into Position (d) – starting blocks.
  9. Breathe out.  Position (c) – standing, bent over, hands hanging towards the floor.
  10. Breathe in.  Slowly stand up straight.  Stretch arms high above head, bending gently backwards – position (b).
  11. Breathe out and return to starting position, feet together, hands together as if praying.

Spine rotations and stretches

  1. Feet fixed firmly on the ground, legs shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.  Keeping knees and hips facing forwards, rotate body first to the right, then to the left.  Allow relaxed arms to windmill around the body.  Turn the head and neck fully in direction of rotation. Repeat 15-30 times.  This helps to loosen up the spine.
  2. Feet apart, knees slightly bent.  Fold arms.  Bend forward, slowly flexing the neck, upper spine then lower spine.  Head down and dip gently in the middle 5 – 10 times.  Move your arms and body and dip to the left 5 – 10 times, to the right 5 – 10 times.  Finish off with 5 – 10 dips in the middle.  Notice how much further you can now bend.
  3. Stand with arms at sides.  Breathe in and lift arms forward and up above your head.  Breathe out and bring your arms backwards behind you and back to your sides.  Repeat 5 – 10 times.
  4. Keeping torso vertical, arms out to the sides, put one leg straight out behind you and bend the other knee in front of you.  Dip in the middle towards the ground 5 – 10 times.

Nutrition

We are what we eat.  Like the computer – garbage in = garbage out, i.e. no energy and no productivity.

Processed and refined foods are a poor source of nutrition.  If possible food should be freshly cooked.  Include plenty of fruit and vegetables and whole-wheat products rather than refined alternatives – (at least 50% of the diet should be raw foods).

Consider eating organic foods – we already have, on average, 500+ different pesticides in our bodies impairing our health!

Food combining is another option for some – by not mixing protein and carbohydrate at the same meal, some people feel more energetic.

Supplements such as antioxidants and fish oil are highly recommended to make up for the deficiencies in our diet today.

Your blood group may affect your ability to metabolise certain foods.  Type O tends to be intolerant of wheat and cow’s milk;  type A tends to be intolerant of red meats.

Meditation / Relaxation

There are many different meditation and relaxation techniques which you can use, e.g. the Silva technique, visualisation exercises, etc.  Do two 15 minute meditation or relaxation sessions a day to calm you down and replenish your energy.

Exercise with attitude

Don’t give yourself a hard time!  Whatever you do, enjoy it e.g. if you go running, don’t always make it a time trial.  Enjoy the fresh air.

Treat yourself well at bath and shower time.

Use aromatherapy oils in the bath.  In the shower, stand tall and be aware of your aura growing as you breathe in.  When you breathe out, let your stresses and worries go down the plughole.

Massage the tension out of your muscles and smooth out the worry lines in your face.

Language and self-talk

The way we talk to ourselves determines how we feel about ourselves.  Use positive language – “good”, “clever”, rather than negative language – “bad”, “stupid”.  If you make a mistake, rather than saying “I was stupid”, acknowledge it by saying, “that wasn’t very clever”.  Next time someone asks you how you feel, rather than saying, “not bad”,

try saying, “Pretty good thank you”.  If your not feeling good you can always say, “Could be better”.  See how different you feel using different expressions.  Use positive language with other people, especially your loved ones – they will feel better, and you will feel better.

Goals

It is important to have goals – to know what you really want for yourself.  You will feel more fulfilled if you know that you are doing what is right for you.  Your goal may be to be a nurse, it may be to work with children, it may be to start a charity for refugees, or to be a show-jumper, or to create beautiful gardens or it may be to be a mother (or father).  If you are on the path towards fulfilling your goal, life becomes a whole lot easier.

Complementary therapies

If you think you are getting really out of balance, e.g. feeling over-stressed and anxious, treat yourself to a massage, or Reiki, kinesiology, reflexology, aromatherapy etc. – they really help.

Your GP

See your GP if it is appropriate – if you have a sudden illness or unexplained pain.  Be good to yourself – if you are unwell, get treatment.

Groin Strain

Groin Strain

Groin strain may present as a sharp, sudden pain in the groin or inner thigh area in the course of activity, or the pain may not arise until the next day. In cases of chronic groin strain, the sufferer may not recall a specific incident where the injury could have occurred.
Symptoms include:  tenderness to touch (palpation), swelling (oedema), and bruising along the inner thigh adjacent to the groin. Pain may be reproduced by adducting (bringing the leg to midline) the leg against resistance. Proper physical examination is vital to distinguish adductor muscle group strains from other causes of groin pain.

Western treatment for any muscle injury initially consists of the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression and elevation. Generally, grade one groin strains should be rested from exercise for about three weeks, and grade two injuries for about four to six weeks. In the worst cases, when there is a complete rupture, the muscle may have to be repaired surgically and the rehabilitation will take at least three months.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, you are advised to avoid ice as it causes further contraction and stagnation of the qi (vital energy).  If ice is used, you are advised to apply it for no more than 10 to 15 minutes per hour during the first 24 hours after the injury.  After the pain and inflammation has gone, or has been reduced, light exercise and stretching can be introduced but with caution, taking care so as not to aggravate the injury.  Massage (Tuina, or Shiatsu) is also recommended in order to speed up recovery by stimulating, among others, the acupuncture point of LV3 and GB34.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic

Deriving from Greek, the word chiropractic is means ‘to perform with the hands’. This reflects the primary component in a chiropractor’s treatment, the manual treatment of the joints and muscles of the body.

Chiropractic is now a well-established and well respected therapy. It is a system of healing, based on the idea that the human body has an intrinsic ability for self-healing and continually seeks homeostasis (balance). It is well known that the nervous system plays a significant role in maintaining homeostasis and, hence, health, a basic principal of chiropractic theory. Small internal misalignments hinder the orrect functioning of the nervous system and, in turn, interfere with the body’s ability to maintain good health.

It is claimed that in 1895 Daniel David Parker, a self-taught “magnetic healer”, treated a man who had become deaf after feeling a “click” in his back. After discovering a misalignment in the man’s spine, Parker realigned the vertebrae, leading to the restoration of the man’s hearing.
Chiropractic methods seek to bring the body back into balance through manipulation of the spine, joints and muscles in the belief that this allows the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems to function smoothly. The practitioner should carry out a thorough physical examination, ask questions about the client’s general health, and, possibly, take X-rays. This gives the practitioner all the information that is needed to find out exactly what is happening to the skeletal system.

Treatment
The chiropractor’s most important technique is manipulation and, often, moves a joint a little further than the patient would be able to do on their own.

There is a vacuum that exists in most joints in the body that is overcome, through the manipulation, creating small bubbles of gas in the synovial fluid between the joints. It is the creation of these bubbles that causes the audible ‘snap’ that often accompanies any manipulation. The purpose of this manipulation is to normalise the functions of the joints and muscles and to ease, or remove, pain.

The chiropractor may also treat the soft tissue (the muscles and tendons) by utilising different forms of massage and stretching.

Sotai a truly complementary system

Sotai

sotaiSotai was developed, in Japan, by Doctor Keizo Hashimoto (1897–1993).  It is a form of muscle/movement therapy where the muscles are enticed into regaining their full range of movement through relaxation rather than stretching.  Dr. Hashimoto developed his treatment mode in a way that natural body alignment is achieved by moving towards comfort (using the principal of the easy motion barrier) rather than by trying to stretch the muscle, towards pain.  Sotai was developed from Dr. Hashimoto’s knowledge of Traditional Oriental Medicine and Western Medicine.

 

Sotai re-educates the muscles

It is a truly complementary system that re-educates the muscles, breaking any holding patterns and allowing new, natural and harmonious, pattern to take their place. Rather that fighting with the muscle and trying to stretch it, Sotai uses post-isometric relaxation to facilitate the opening of the muscle and normalising the strained contraction/condition.