Author: Jie Kong
Daoist massage is a practice that has its roots in Daoist medicine and alchemy. This type of massage is mostly focused on self-massage and not on massaging someone else.
Principes of practice
First, it is important to create internal support so that we have a foundation while we are practicing. This principle can be realized in the unified body, which we try to create during the practice.
Secondly, it is a mental alignment with everything that we are doing. During the practice of Daoist massage, we pay attention to unite the body on physical, energy and mental level.
In its originality, Daoist massage is the art of regulating external and internal and is one of the oldest systems of exercises aimed at maintaining the functioning of the human body, energy, and consciousness by the laws of balanced development.
History and tradition of practice
This practice has its roots in times far from us, and it came from the so-called Peach Orchard. The Peach Orchard corresponds to the medical knowledge that was represented by the main ancient Daoist alchemists and physicians, including the legendary physician Hua Tuo (華佗, Hua Tuo) (140–108), Dong Feng (东风, Dong Feng,) who lived during the Three kingdoms (220-280), Zhang Zhongjing (张仲景, Zhang Zhong Jing) (150-219).
The history of Daoist massage goes back to the founding of Daoist alchemy, the approximate beginning is the III millennium BC. e., when under Emperor Huang Di was an attempt to understand the internal conditions of the human body.
At the beginning of our era, a system of knowledge began to form, requiring a practical understanding of the properties of the human body. This system took shape in practice not only for those who were engaged in internal alchemy but also as a prerequisite for maintaining the quality of the body, energy, and consciousness for everyday existence and the quality of public service.
That is, Daoist massage was at the same time a way of maintaining health, strengthening inner strength, and preparing for alchemical work.
The process of forming the practice of Daoist self-massage into a harmonious system of knowledge today is difficult to objectively assess. Daoist self-massage is a variety of methods to stimulate the inner and outer and is a basic technique for all major Daoist schools. In all likelihood, the original task of Daoist massage was to prepare the body for receiving cinnabar — an internal elixir with which adepts were trying to achieve.
Today, Daoist massage has various forms of application, from purely therapeutic to restorative and finally alchemical. Its unconditional value lies in the fact that it does not require special conditions for its implementation. Daoist massage is self-massage and therefore can be performed at the rhythm that is most comfortable for the practitioner.
A proper way of practice
The practice is done while sitting — this is necessary to maintain the wholeness of the body. The preservation of one is a concept that determines that the movement of energy in the human body has its laws that determine that everything that happens in the body has a single beginning, a single source. This is the place where all the energy in the human body flows to. In a man, this place is the lower abdomen, in a woman — the uterus. And the sitting position is the most accumulated position, which allows you not to lose touch with the source when implementing different efforts.
Therefore, Daoist massage not only makes it possible to regulate the body but also builds awareness of one’s rhythm and balance, taking the practitioner away from that mechanical work that involves only the physical body.
Like any Daoist technique, Daoist massage has its principles. They are at the heart of knowledge about the body, about the circulation of energy and the preservation of the spirit. These principles determine the sequence of work with the body and divide the practice into three components:
- Awareness of the body as an essential force. Corresponds to the realization of qi energy. It presupposes an understanding of the body as a form of energy and as a vessel in which internal transformations are possible.
- Awareness of the source of life. Corresponds to the realization of the jing energy. Assumes an understanding of energy that can be stored and developed.
- Awareness of the inner being. This corresponds to the realization of shen energy and requires an awareness of concentration as an energy force capable of developing under the influence of energy changes.
Each of these principles of work has its sensations and qualities, like air or water, a tree or a plant. These are sensations, which are mixed at the first stage, and then they are already separated and correspond to one or another internal or external effort.
Daoist massage is a unique system formed by the knowledge of the comprehension of the art of inner alchemy, the knowledge of the monks and hermits who used this practice to prepare the body for alchemical work. By practicing massage, we come to a deeper understanding and awareness of our body and can prepare our body for engaging in internal meditative work associated with a long process. Or is it a preparation for some kind of technique, in which the circulation of energy must be open. The Daoist system requires that, before doing anything, we build up the circulation of energy in the body. If energy does not circulate in the body normally, then any actions are harmful.
Any massage has principles and laws, and here it is important to know what and how to do for the practice to work correctly.
Thus, Daoist massage consists of three parts:
- The first part is characterized by work with qi energy. This work aims to prepare the 9 external vessels of the body (feet, knees, thighs, hands, elbows, shoulders, abdomen, chest and head). Their closure does not allow energy to circulate normally in the body and, therefore, interferes with further work with energy channels. By working with qi energy, we regulate the overall flow of energy.
- The second part is characterized by work with the energy of ching. Five Yin organs are involved (liver, heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys).
- The third part is characterized by the work of Shen energy. The 12 meridians of the body (zonglu, Jing Luo, 经络) are involved — the meridian of the liver, lungs, heart, stomach, spleen, colon and small intestine, bladder, kidneys, pericardium, triple heater and gallbladder.