Bending and Stretching in the Routine of "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands"
"Stretching and bending" is not only a form of exercise, but also a way of thinking that the exerciser should have. The kidney is the congenital origin and the source of life. With the exercises of stretching, bending and touching the feet, the effect of strengthening and nourishing the kidneys will be achieved, which may after all be accepted as the fitness regimen philosophy of the wise. Plain methods include general principles. In this way of thinking, the exerciser will benefit a lot when understanding the world, the nature and the social development.
To achieve the heart-kidney interaction and nourish the foundation of inborn constitution are the essentials of movements in the routine of "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands" in Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin. Heart is the container of the spirits and the stage of the minds; while the kidney is both the congenital origin and the source of life. Heart-kidney interaction can not only keep the mind and spirit at peace, but also play a strong role in strengthening the kidneys. Heart-kidney interaction should be achieved in the exercises of stretching, bending and touching the feet. In other words, the movability and balance of stretching and bending are the effective ways to achieve heart-kidney interaction.
In fact, the exercises of stretching, bending and touching the feet strengthen and cultivate the congenital origin in the course of movability and balance. The movability is the precondition for life existence. Without the movability, the life would not exist; the balance is the objective requirement of life existence. Without the balance, adverse symptoms in life entity would occur. Change means transformation and variation, while the invariable means durable adherence. The routine of "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands" in Health Qigong · Ba Duan Jin embodies the dialectical thinking wisdom in the course of movability and balance, which informs the exerciser that where should move, how to move and how to grasp the balance point of degree and amount in the exercise. The experience obtained in practicing this routine is summarized as follows:
Above all, talk about that where the exerciser should move first to achieve the heart-kidney interaction. Where the exerciser moving first is the focused and local, which should be exercised in the movement course. Without the emphasis, there is no general situation; without the local part, there is no overall situation. It is also the principle contained in the holistic view of Health Qigong. The kidneys are local parts in the whole body, which are also the key points in practicing this routine. Why the kidney is called the congenital origin? First, the main physiological function of kidney is to store essence, govern the inspiration, regulate water, enhance the bones, generate marrows and store the will, as well as serve as the sources of growth, development and reproduction. Kidney stores the essence, which is the fundamental to give birth and cultivate the body. The essence of internal organs is stored in the kidney, and it is the "energy storehouse" of the body. Kidney stores the essence of internal organs and serves as the sources of reproduction, determine the human sexual function and reproductive capacity; The essence of kidney cultivate the bones and nourish the brain; Combining with the triple energizers and bladders, the kidney regulates the body fluid, which plays a role in filtering the blood and excreting waste and poison; Combining with the lung and spleen, the kidney governs the water metabolism and regulation of the body. The course of birth, growth, the robust, old age and death in human life exist a direct relationship with the renal function. Second, it is because that the function of kidney is the fundamental to determine the strength of human natural endowment, growth and development speed, as well as the rise and fall of functions of the organs. The kidney being congenital origin is relative to the spleen being acquired foundation. The "congenital" refers to the essence endowed with the parents, as well as the congenital Qi cultivated by the congenital essence, which is heritable, and it is the principle of human life. In the course of individual life, it is born before the body, which is the motivity to form the congenital organs and facilitate the growth and development of human life.
Secondly, talk about how to achieve the heart-kidney interaction. That is, how to achieve the movability. Obviously, bending forward and stretching backward are the basic forms of the method of this routine. Why the movement of bending forward and stretching backward could "strengthen the kidney"? After practicing this routine for a long time, the exerciser will feel refreshed after every practice, and the body is full of vitality. In fact, it is the basic effect to achieve in practicing the movements of this routine. From the view of Traditional Chinese Medicine theories, bending forward and stretching backward can stimulate the spine, lumbar spine, Du channel, the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang (in the open near Du fifth of an inch), the life-gate point, Shenshu point and Yangguan point of the human body, which has effects of traction and massage on the kidneys. The traction and massage on the kidneys will enhance the function of generating essence and Qi of kidney, and facilitate the unobstructed capacity of the life-gate acupoint between the second and third lumbar spinous process, which is relevant to the access of kidney Qi and the life-sustaining of human. Moreover, the function of Shenshu acupoint on the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang to transform the kidney Qi will be enhanced (if the transformation function of this point fails. It may cause the lumbar muscle strain). And the Yangguan acupoint on the fourth lumbar spinous process is the important pass for Yang Qi and the Kidney Qi in Du channel (it sustains the maximum pressure in the activities of the body. The Kidney Qi and Yang Qi are easily obstructed here and cause lumbar disc herniation). Through stimulating this point, it becomes unobstructed and the function of the kidney is strengthened. The waist is the container of the kidneys. Kidneys can generate marrow and nourish bones. The enhancement of the essence and Qi of the kidney can warm and nourish the waist, so that the meridians and acupoints in the waist can be unblocked, which also benefit the metaplasia function of the essence and Qi of kidney. Both hands move from the waist down to the heels, move upward along the three yin meridians of foot after moving around the feet, combining with breathing and ideas guiding Qi, which further stimulate the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang and kidney channels of foot-shaoyin, especially the Weizhong acupoint on the urinary bladder meridian (Weizhong acupoint is one of the "four total points" and the He acupoint of the Five Shu acupoints on the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang bladder. It is the intersection of the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang and kidney channels of foot-shaoyin, so it has a significant effect on the health care and pain of the waist). If the meridians and important points are unobstructed, the health care effect on the waist will be improved. Therefore, combining with the form, Qi and the spirit, the movements of this routine in Ba Duan Jin play a role in strengthening and cultivating the congenital origin, through bending forward and stretching backward, touching feet with hands and strengthening the waist. It reaches the subtlety and highly coincide with the dialectical thinking method, namely, the door hinges never get worm-eaten (practice keeps one always fit).
（By Wang Zhanhe）