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Complementary Corner

Daily Energetic Self-Care

Renee Lehman

(8/2014) Included under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are the practices of acupressure, acupuncture, qigong (pronounced "chee gung"), massage, and herbal medicine. All are used as a way to open the door to healing and allow the body's organ systems to work in harmony, thus promoting optimal health and well-being. This month’s article is focusing on the use of acupressure and massage on four powerful energy centers to create harmony and balance within the body (to treat the root or underlying issue rather than just the symptom).

However, let’s first review some of the principles of TCM:

TCM is the oldest continuously practiced medical system in the world (more than five thousand years). TCM deals with balancing the flow of the universal life force, or Qi (pronounced "chee"), which flows through all living things. This Qi flows through the body on specific pathways called Meridians, and is essential for health. Acupuncture points on these meridians are places where the Qi can be tapped into and balanced.

When the Qi is balanced, moving smoothly, and in sufficient quality and quantity, health and wellness are promoted. When the Qi is unbalanced or blocked in any way, disease or dis – ease, will occur. This dis – ease may show up as symptoms on a physical, mental/emotional, or spiritual level. It is important to realize that these symptoms are only the end result of an imbalance, and not the illness itself.

A real life analogy of this flow of Qi through the meridians would be the New York City subway system. Think about how in New York City, the subway system is mostly under the ground. You cannot see it. The meridians in your body are under the skin and cannot be seen. To get onto a subway train, you must enter the system via a station. Most times, you must go down steps into the subway station from street level.

The acupuncture points on the meridians is where you access the energy (Qi) traveling through the meridians, and are analogous to the subway station. Once on the subway train, if the train is running smoothly, you probably would feel happy if you arrived at your destination on time. This would be like the Qi moving smoothly and in a balanced way within your meridians. This would promote wellness. However, if there was a situation that slowed the progress or stopped the subway train altogether, and you did not make it to your destination on time, you probably would feel "stressed/frustrated/etc."

This would be analogous to the Qi being stuck or stagnant within your meridians. This would then result in disease. So, the disease that shows up is only a symptom of an underlying problem and NOT the illness itself! TCM’s goal is to treat the root or underlying issue, not just to treat the symptom.

The Four Energy Gates

The Four Energy Gates are powerful places (acupuncture points) along specific meridians in the body. Daily self-massage of these four basic energy gates can help you to maintain good health, balance your energy (Qi), stimulate your body’s own innate healing ability, and support your body/mind/spirit. The following information on the Four Energy Gates is from Nan Lu, OMD (Founding Director and President, Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation and the Tao of Healing; New York, New York).

The First Energy Gate helps to provide relief from headaches. Place your left thumb along the side of your left index finger. Now, place the left hand over your belly button. Look at where the crease ends on the web space between the thumb and index finger (towards the wrist). With your right thumb, place firm pressure at the end of the crease (on the web space) between the left thumb and index finger. Make small circles with the right thumb. Do this for 4 – 5 minutes, and then repeat on the right hand. Keep your shoulders relaxed.

The Second Energy Gate helps to provide relief from anxiety. Place your left palm on the center of your chest between your breasts. Place the right palm flat over the back of the left hand. Using light pressure, circle in a clockwise direction at least 200 times. Repeat counter-clockwise at least 200 times.

The Third Energy Gate helps to support balanced hormonal functioning. Find the area along the body’s centerline, four finger widths below your belly button. Alternately tap the area with both of your index and middle finger’s fingertips. Tap this area for 3 minutes.

The Fourth Energy Gate helps to provide relief from back pain. On each buttock area, in the center of the "dimple" that is in the main muscle of each buttock: alternately "punch" this area. Do this "punching" with a loose fist, and keep your arms, shoulders, and hips relaxed. "Punch" this for 4 to 5 minutes.

Through this daily routine of self-care, you are giving your body/mind/spirit the opportunity to regain balance and harmony naturally. Honor yourself, and begin today!

To see the video of the Four Energy Gates, and to print out a handout of the Four Energy Gates (with pictures), go to

Information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information in this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist, physical therapist, and Reiki Master with over 20 years of health care experience. Her office is located at 249B York Street in Gettysburg, PA.  She can be reached at 717-752-5728.

Read other article on well being by Renee Lehman