In the previous March 2016 Release of my website, the article “What Is Qigong?” provides a classification structure of four components of Qigong exercises:
- Lower Abdominal Breathing (also called Dan Tian Breathing)
- Collecting Qi, Dispelling Qi, or Focusing Qi
- Circulating Qi (Standing or Moving Meditation)
- Self-Healing Exercises and Other Integrated Qigong Sets
We also gave a few examples of the fourth category “Self-Healing Exercises and Other Integrated Qigong Sets,” such as Paida Therapy (拍打自愈法), Tuina Massage Exercises (推拿), and Eight Silk Brocade (八段錦). This article describes several examples of Tuina Massage Exercises.
There is a very large number of Tuina Massage Exercises (also known as Qigong Self Massage Exercises or just self massage exercises). We selected half a dozen self massage exercises to describe in this article.
Face Washing: This helps to stimulate Qi movement on your face and to stimulate the skin layers of your face to result in a more robust-looking face.
- First rub your hands together several times to warm up your hands.
- Then put your hands over your face, and gently rub your hands over your face.
Scalp Massage: This helps to stimulate the acupuncture points and Qi meridians (or channels) in the head area, including the vital area of your brain to give rise to a clearer mind and better memory.
- First rub your hands together several times to warm up your hands.
- Then use your finger tips to rub gently over the top part of your head from the front to the back of your head.
- Similarly, use your finger tips to rub gently over the top/side part of your head from the front to the back part of your head.
- Use your finger tips to rub gently over the side part of your head from the front to the back.
- Curl your finger tips and tap the back of your head with your finger tips, or alternatively, put the index finger over the middle finger on the back of your head and snap the index finger to hit the back of your head.
Ear Massage: Massaging your ears can give rise to calm and focus, and energize your mind and relax your body. This is very important since all the energy points of your body are also represented on your ears.
- Separate your hands into two parts: One part with the thumb and the index finger, and the other part with the middle and the other two fingers, with a separation between the 2-finger part and the 3-finger part.
- Place your hand on your ear with the ear between the 2-finger part and the 3-finger part, with the 3-finger part on the front and the 2-finger part on the back. Slide your fingers up and down the ears.
- Use your middle finger and massage from the bottom front of the ear all the way to the top of the ear and then down the back of your ears. Can repeat by going the reverse direction.
- Use your middle finger to massage 3 acupressure points on the ear: in front on top of the ear, slightly down the ear to the next soft spot, and then down slightly more to the next soft spot.
- Use your thumb and index finger to pull/massage your ear lobe from the top to the bottom and back to the top. The right ear is connected to the left part of the brain, and the left ear is connected to the right part of the brain. So you are giving both parts of your brain a workout.
- Use your middle finger to press gently on the inside parts of your ear.
- Use your thumb and index finger to do ear rolling, i.e., use those fingers to grab a part of the ear and roll it back, starting from the top of the ear to the bottom of the ear. This helps to increase your focus, creativity, and attention.
- Friction coupling: Rub your hands to warm them. Then use your warm palms to cover your ears and close your eyes. After about 30-60 seconds, open your eyes and rub your ears with your palms.
- Ear pulling: Use your thumb and index finger to pull the ear working from the top of the ear to the bottom of the ear lobe. This helps to release your tension.
Eye Massage: This can keep your eye sight from deteriorating and even can improve it.
- Rub your hands to warm them up, and then place your warm palms over your eyes.
- Place your thumbs on the eye sockets right next to the nose, and apply pressure and massage around that spot, clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Place your index finger on just slightly below the same spot, and massage around that spot, clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Place your index and middle fingers right next to the lower part of your nose. This determines the correct position, then remove the middle finger and use the index finger to massage around that pressure point, clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Apply your thumbs on the temples. Curl your index fingers and use them like windshield wipers to rub against the eyebrows above the eyes and then do the same thing below the eyes.
Sinus Massage: This can help relieve sinus congestion.
- Put your thumb or index finger at the inside tip of your eyebrow just below the bone. Apply pressure on it and hold it.
- Move your finger to around the middle of and just slightly above your eyebrow, and apply pressure there.
- Move your finger to the outside tip of your eyebrow to the small indentation (or soft spot) there (not as far as the temple), and apply pressure there or press and move in a (clockwise or counterclockwise) circular direction.
- Then move your finger to the top of your nostril where the cheek bone meets the nasal bone, and apply pressure there.
- Move your finger down slightly to the bottom of your nostril and just above the teeth bones, and apply pressure there.
- Move your finger out to the side to the middle of your cheek bone and apply pressure there.
Cosmetic Improvement Massage: This can help prevent or even get rid of wrinkles or sacks.
- Tighten lips: Hold the left palm in front of Dan Tian with palm facing up, and use the index finger and middle finger of the right hand to slide and rub gently across your lips. Do this multiple times. Then switch positions of hands. This stimulates the Qi meridians around the teeth/lips, and can tighten lip muscles.
- Tighten chin: Hold the left palm in front of Dan Tian with palm facing up, and bring the right hand up to just below the chin and bring the right thumb and right index finger up and brush against the left chin. Then move the right hand slowly across to the right chin while bringing the right thumb and right index finger up and brushing again the chin, eventually ending at the right chin. Then do the same thing except moving from the right to the left. Finally, switch positions of hands. This stimulates the chin and can tighten the chin muscles.
For each of the above exercises, there is flexibility on the length of the exercises. One possibility is to do it for about one-to-two minutes for each side (when there are two sides) and for each part of the exercise. A subset of such exercises are good exercises to do as part of the warm-up exercises for a Taiji class.