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The Diffusion of Qi and Blood Starts from the Middle Burner(Ⅰ)

The origination and transformation of the routine "Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach"

Practice is intended to be sensible; the reason is involved in the methods. There are technical specification and the mechanism of nourishing the body and mind existing in the movement methods, which include the theory of the transportation function of the internal organs, as well as the theory of the circulation of Qi and blood in the meridians. Of course, the philosophy involved in the methods is also the inexhaustible treasure for the practitioners. General principles are involved in the plain methods of the routine "Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach". I would like the exercisers to record your experience in the spare time.

The stomach is the barn organs of the body; the spleen governs the blood and takes charge of the transportation and transformation of the essence of water and grain, which is the origination of Qi and blood. The human body is nourished by the spleen, so it is called the acquired foundation. Spleen and stomach match the earth in the five elements, which are utmost Yin. Spleen corresponds to the long summer in the four seasons. The routine "Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions the Stomach" has focused on strengthening and cultivating the spleen and stomach. The theory of the methods is to regulate the spleen and stomach, tonifying Qi and nourish the organs. Well, what can we achieved in practicing the movements in this routine? This article will discuss it from the following aspects.

Advocating the moderate way

In the logic of the ancients, to achieve the natural harmony between the heaven, earth and human and the cultural harmony, it is essential to hold the moderate way, the harmony and the moderate way are relates in the mutual transformation of opposites, thus achieving the neutralization. As for the relationship between the harmony and the moderate way, in the Chun Qiu Fan Lu- Xun Tian Zhi Dao written by Dong Zhongshu, it said, "the moderate way is the beginning and end of the heaven and earth, and also generated by the heaven and earth. There is nothing greater than the harmony in the virtues, and there is nothing more positive than the moderate way." And further it concluded that "the intention of the moderate way is to achieve harmony. "The moderate way" is the way of the heaven, while the harmony is the achievement of the heaven." In his view, the way of the heaven and earth "follows the moderate way from start to the end". "The moderate way" is the scale and rule, while the state of harmony is the realm and purpose. Without the state of harmony, "the moderate way" will lose their meaning; and without the "the moderate way", the state of harmony cannot be reached.

Since Health Qigong - Ba Duan Jin is the product of traditional Chinese culture, in which the movement methods and theories are inevitably imbued with the ancient thinking logic of "advocating the moderate way". So it is logical to strengthen the body upholding the law of advocating the moderate way. The theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that the physical and mental health care should focus on strengthening the spleen and stomach. The spleen and stomach match earth in the five elements and are in the center. Thus, the concept of advocating the moderate way is reflected in the movements and formulas in practicing "Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach". For instance, the formula is listed as the following. Standing naturally with arms bent at the elbows, let the palms face upwards and the fingertips touch each other. Raise the hands and turn the palms downwards; then draw the right hand up with the palm facing upward; the left hand moves downward with the palm facing down. When the arms are extended, straighten the legs. Exhale through the nose when both hands are in front of the chest, and inhale through the mouth when the arms are apart. Draw the hands back to Dantian. This formula has generalized the requirements for the practice, which has further stressed the logical thinking, "strength storing in the heels of palms, rising upward and pressing downward, stretching the body and the lumbar". These requirements are designed around the stomach and spleen. In order to specifically understand the influence of advocating the moderate way in the methods, I will show you how the concept of advocating the moderate way is reflected in the course of movements. Then I will take the movement process of the left palm rising and right palm pressing as the example. Inhale. Raise hands from the side of the body to the chest, and exhale. Subsequently, the left palm vertically rises upward, and then turn over the palm, with the fingertips to the right; at the same time, press the right palm with the strength from the heels of palm, with the fingertips to the left, which stands opposite with the right hand at a distance; suspend the breathing. Maintain the postures of rising and pressing, at the same time, suspend breathing and count 10 numbers or so; when inhaling, draw the left and right hands back to the front of chest. Raise the right palm slowly with the left palm pressing down. In the practice of this routine, the will and Qi are mutually followed, the movements are soft and soothing, and the posture is nature and serene. Stretching and pressing toward the left and right repeatedly can play an effective role in massaging the internal organs, especially the stomach and spleen.

Well, why regulating the stomach and spleen is related to the earth in the five elements? Huangdi Neijing-Inner Canon of Yellow Emperor explained that everything in this world is made up of the five elements. The organs of human body correspond to the five elements, i.e. the heart matches fire, the kidney matches water, the lung matches gold, the liver matches wood, and the spleen matches earth. The earth is in the center, which is the mother of all things. In order to further clarify the truth, it is available to study from the five elements structure in the environment inside and outside the body.

Five notes












Five flavors






Five colors






Five changes






Five kinds of elements






Five orientations






Five seasons



late summer



Five elements






Five viscera






Six organs


Small  intestine


Large intestine


Five sense organs










Skin & Hair


Five expressions of emotions






Five sounds






Five variations







       From the above table, it can be seen that the spleen and stomach of the human body belong to earth in the five elements. Therefore, the movements in this routine are intended to regulate the stomach and spleen, which equals to the earth in the five elements.

The concept of advocating the moderate way is also the basic way to observe and understand the world for the ancient sages. In the five elements, the earth is related to sowing and reaping. Therefore, the earth has the characteristics of carrying things and transformation, namely, the mother of all things. The earth is the most special in the law of the five elements, i.e. the prosperity, less prosperity, rest, weakness and death. It is prosperous in the four seasons. It is because that the earth is the mother of everything, the gold, wood, water and fire cannot generate without the earth. The ancestors upheld the concept of earth and center and formed a great variety of cultural elements and cultural symbols, which have spread so far. Everything in the world, i.e. the time, space, status, colors, figures and other cultural symbols, are endowed with the theory of advocating the moderate way by our ancestors. The architectural culture are all shining the cultural symbols of the earth and center, e.g. from the position of constellations in the sky to the emperor's residence on the ground, the Forbidden City in the capital, the imperial city in Chang'an, the palace in Bian Liang, etc. Moreover, the ancients attached great importance to the cultural style of the middle and earth in the color. Five colors are linked to the orientations, i.e. the east matches green, the west matches white, the south matches red, the north matches black and the center matches yellow. Because yellow is the color of the earth, and the earth is the nature of things. Therefore, yellow is the center of the five colors, so that the palace roof and the clothes of the emperor are mainly yellow. Another example is that the ancients attached great importance to the cultural memory of the middle and earth. According to the theory of Yin and Yang, the single numbers belong to Yang, in which the number nine is the largest and the number five is the middle. The numbers nine and five are the ancient symbols of the emperors, whom were often called Jiu Wu Zhi Zun(the imperial throne), so the numbers nine and five coincided with the emperor.

Thus, in the traditional fitness regimen culture, it is reasonable to take care of the stomach and spleen, which are placed in the center and match the earth in five elements. Therefore, Health Qigong - Ba Duan Jin has adhered to the traditional culture and expressed the meaning of regulating the stomach and spleen with the routine Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach, which has seized the main contradiction and the key, or started the Qi movement of the fitness culture.

(By Wang Zhanhe)

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