Would you like to learn a few quick pick-me-up tips to help you feel more energised? In my previous blog (http://www.helencritchley.net/the-afternoon-slump-and-chinese-medicine/), I looked at the afternoon slump from a Chinese medicine perspective. I also discussed some ways that we can help ourselves overcome such a dip in our energy. In this blog, I will describe some further energy medicine techniques that can help us overcome tiredness and experience more energy and vitality. These techniques are easy to do when in full couch potato mode, i.e. you don’t need to stand up or move very much!
Our bodies are essentially a conduit for energy. Yang energy enters the head from above and Yin energy is pulled up from the Earth through the feet. One of the reasons that we can feel tired is that energy is not flowing freely into, through and out of our body. When we feel like we’re “all in our head”, we can benefit from moving energy out of the head and down into the body. When we feel “off”, stuck or disconnected, it is likely that we are ungrounded, and we need to re-establish our connection with the Earth.
Why is maintaining our connection with the Earth so important for our health and well being? Dr Joseph Mercola summarises the reasons as follows: “When you ground to the electron-enriched earth, an improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system occurs … The earth is a natural source of electrons and subtle electrical fields, which are essential for proper functioning of immune systems, circulation, synchronization of biorhythms and other physiological processes and may actually be the most effective, essential, least expensive, and easiest to attain antioxidant.” (See reference at the end of this blog).
Dr Mercola recommends walking barefoot outside to help re-establish our connection with the Earth. Donna Eden also recommends walking barefoot in wet grass or sitting with your back up against a tree as ideal natural ways to help with grounding. However, if you prefer to stay indoors with your socks on, you can help yourself by doing the grounding exercises below!
Exercises to move energy out of your head and down into the body
1. The Crown Pull
The Crown Pull features in a number of my blogs. It is my go-to exercise for clearing my head. It gives me instant relief and I therefore do it frequently.
How to do the Crown Pull:
• Place your thumbs at your temples with your fingertips resting at the middle of your forehead.
• Press your fingers into the middle of your forehead. Then, while maintaining some pressure, slowly pull your fingers apart and out to the side, stretching the skin across the forehead.
• Now move up to the hairline and repeat the stretch, pulling your fingers apart from the middle of the head to the sides.
• Repeat this pattern, applying pressure as you pull apart, moving further back over your head after each pull. Continue all the way down the back of your head and down your neck.
• Hang your fingers on your shoulders (pushing in with your fingers) and allow your bent arms to relax in front of you. Hold for a few breaths. Then pull your hands forwards across your shoulders and release and drop your hands/arms in front of you.
(Video is 1 min 25 secs)
2. The Triple Warmer Smoothie
Triple Warmer is the energy that governs stress in the body. By calming Triple Warmer, we can help ourselves reduce our levels of stress. One way to do this is to do the Triple Warmer Smoothie exercise, which involves tracing part of the Triple Warmer meridian backwards (i.e. from the temples, down behind the ears, down the neck and onto the shoulders). I often follow the Crown Pull with a Triple Warmer Smoothie to ensure that I clear any energy that may have been “dumped” into Triple Warmer meridian by doing the Crown Pull (with thanks to Janie Chandler for this tip).
How to do the Triple Warmer Smoothie:
• You can skip the initial eye covering part shown on the video, if you wish, and …
• Place the pads of your fingers on your temples.
• Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
• On another deep in-breath, slowly slide your fingers up and over your ears, maintaining some pressure. On the outbreath, take your fingers around and behind your ears and down your neck.
• Finish in the same way as with the Crown Pull. Hang your fingers on your shoulders (pushing in with your fingers) and allow your bent arms to relax in front of you. Hold for a few breaths. Then pull your hands forwards across your shoulders and release and drop your hands/arms in front of you. If you wish, you can then place your hands over your heart.
(Video is just over 1 min)
3. Pull out your ears
Pulling out your ears helps clear your head and clear your body of toxins. It reduces fatigue and helps you take in information more easily.
How to pull out your ears:
• Place your thumbs behind and your index fingers on the front of your earlobes.
• Use firm pressure as you pull out your ears, travelling up and around to the top of the ears and back down again.
(Video is just under 1 min)
Exercises to ground you
1. Massage your hands
I often massage my hands when I’m out, for example, when chatting with a friend, waiting for food in a restaurant, etc. If you like to apply hand cream to your hands, you can incorporate doing this exercise at the same time.
How to massage your hands
• Use your thumbs to deeply massage the palms of the hands.
• Massage deeply between the finger bones on the top of your hands (the hand gaits). Then pull the energy off each finger individually. Do this fairly firmly, but without dislocating your fingers!
• Stretch your arm out with your palm up. Pull your fingers back with your other hand so that the inside of your forearm is stretched. Repeat on the other arm.
This video shows how to massage your hand gaits and pull the energy off each finger.
(Video is 1 min 12 secs)
This video shows how to pull your fingers and wrists back (and gently forwards) to stretch your wrists and arms. In addition to releasing congested energies, this supports the Liver meridian.
(Video is 3½ mins)
2. Massage your feet
You can remove your socks or keep them on for the following two foot exercises. I keep mine on!
How to massage your feet
• Massage around your ankles your fingertips or tap around the ankles with a plastic hairbrush (this gets energy moving).
• Massage and squeeze your feet in whichever way feels good.
• As with the hand massage, pay particular attention to massaging deeply the spaces between the toe bones on the top of the foot (the foot gaits). Repeat on the other foot.
Massaging the hand and foot gaits allows energy to pass in and out of the body more easily and therefore greatly helps with grounding.
This video shows how to massage your foot gaits:
(Video is 1 min 14 secs)
3. Spoon your feet
You need to use a stainless steel spoon for this exercise as you need something that contains ferrous material (i.e. iron). How do you know if your spoon is stainless steel? You may see the words “stainless steel” on the back of the spoon handle. If not, you can see if a magnet (e.g. a fridge magnet) will stick to the spoon. If it does, the spoon is stainless steel and you can use it for this exercise.
Spooning the feet helps establish a strong connection with the metal in the haemoglobin in the blood and activates the body’s energy fields to correct the electromagnetic energy in every cell in your body. Rubbing the spoon on the sole of your feet lines up all the body’s cells in their correct polarity, allowing the flow of energy into and out of your feet (for more information on this, see Prune Harris’s article on grounding, referenced at the end of this blog).
I keep a spoon next to the sofa to remind me to massage and spoon my feet every evening. I find that this exercise brings me instant relief, i.e. it stops me feeling “off” and helps me feel more centred. Travelling throws off my grounding and so I make spooning my feet a priority when I reach my destination.
How to spoon your feet
• Using the back (i.e. the rounded side) of a stainless steel spoon, move the spoon up and down the soles of your feet. You can also make circles and Figure 8s with the spoon as you go.
(Video is just over 1 min)
As in the hand massage, and if you can reach comfortably(!), you can pull the energy off each toe either after massaging or after spooning.
Note of caution:
There are several “forbidden acupoints” on the hands, ankles and feet, which should not be stimulated during pregnancy. This is because doing so can have the effect of moving energy (and therefore a baby) downwards. Those points are great to use to aid labour, but not during pregnancy itself. So, if you are pregnant, or think you might be, avoid massaging your hands and feet. You can, however, pull your fingers back and spoon your feet (with thanks to Deirdre McGrath for this information.)
Dr Mercola’s article on grounding
“Grounding is a key mechanism by which your body maintains health”
Prune Harris’s article on grounding
Ear massage with Michael Reed Gach Part 1
In this 2½ minute video, acupressure expert Michael Reed Gach shows which areas of the ears correspond to the back, neck and head.
Ear massage with Michael Reed Gach Part 2
In this 5 minute video, Michael Reed Gach demonstrates how to do an ear massage routine for wellness and self healing.
Grounding with Rand
In this 6½ minute video, Rand Gholson gives more detail on spooning, as well as forking, the feet and explains how you can uses the stone haematite to help you ground yourself.
A Chinese Medicine Acupressure Ring can be used to stimulate the movement of energy through your hands and to pull the energy off your fingers. Using the ring in this way activates the six meridians that run though the fingers. I keep one of these next to the sofa with my spoon and use it when I massage my hands. This video (1 min 13 secs) shows how use it:
The rings are available on Amazon: