Balancing Techniques - part 2

Meridians

It is possible for us to affect the energy, which runs all through our body via conduits known as meridians. People in China were aware of the meridian system in our body and acupuncturists have been employing them for several thousand years to harmonize the various systems of our body and also maintain its equilibrium. Basically, meridians are channels or conduits that transport the energy known as Qi or Chi (also called the "life Force' energy) in a steady flow throughout the body. Altogether, 12 major meridians exist in our body and they are interrelated with one another. A new meridian begins close to the place where one meridian terminates in the body. Moreover, each meridian remains connected with other meridians by means of short-connected channels. Currently, all these meridians have been outlined as well as traced by using radioactive dye.

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The work done by Dr. Goodheart has helped to develop kinesiology into an effective contemporary therapy that has incorporated latest information to an ancient alternative treatment mode. The conjugation of this ancient Chinese remedy and the Western anatomy as well as physiology was possible due to the discoveries of Dr. Goodheart, who found a direct association between the meridians and muscles. He also discovered that specific muscles are connected to specific meridians. This relationship between the meridians and muscles followed the earlier developed hypothesis regarding the relationship of muscle organ or gland. For instance, the fascia lata (a muscle) that is related to the large intestine (an organ) is sustained by the flow of energy in the meridian associated with the large intestine.

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Chinese physicians as well as acupuncturists read the pulses on a person's wrist to find if there is any discrepancy in energy flow in the body. On the other hand, in kinesiology, muscle testing is undertaken to detect the same imbalance in energy flow. The flow of energy in our body is harmonious; we do not suffer from any disease or health problems. Since the time people began using acupuncture, it was believed to be a preventive medicine. Generally, people, who were well, would visit their physicians at regular intervals and the latter would work on them to sustain their good health by maintaining the energy flow in their body. When people were ill, the physicians were not paid their fees, as people thought that doctor did not do his/ her job properly and the remedy did not work for them. Even now, people would not have to suffer from major ailments if they continued to undergo regular treatments for their minor problems. Regular treatment would not only help to prevent the build-up of major ailments or health conditions, but also ensure that one remained in his/ her optimal health.

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As mentioned earlier, the flow of energy through the meridians is a continuous cyclic process. In fact, Chinese physicians begin their treatment with the Lung meridian (the meridian associated with the lungs), which is also known as the breath of life. When the treatment shifts to the Stomach meridian, the Touch for Health begins its balancing cycle. In fact, two midline meridians - the Central meridian (also known as the Conception Vessel) and the Governing meridian meet at the place where the lips touch each other. While the Central meridian passes from the front of our body to the base of the lip, the Governing meridian is found on the back of our body, running from the tail bone to the top lip, via the spine and over the head. These two meridians are special as they serve as reserves and are linked to all other meridians in the body.

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It is interesting to note that in the Chinese culture, all things, counting the meridians, are mainly classified as a yin (the negative or feminine force) or yang (the positive or male force). Yin and yang are two contradictory forces of nature that complement one another. The meridians classified under yin are related to the solid organs, such as the heart, kidneys, liver and spleen; while those regarded as yang are hollow organs, such as the stomach, gall bladder, lungs, intestines and the bladder. While the force called yin flows in an upward direction from the earth, yang always flows downwards through the body. In order to remain healthy, these two opposing forces need to be in a perfect balance.

During the process of muscle testing, we also examine the meridians associated with them as well as the energy flow through those meridians. Muscles that are weak or 'switched off' are an indication that the flow of energy through the meridian associated with it is poor or insufficient. It is possible to stimulate or encourage the flow of energy through those meridians by tracing the pathways of those meridians in the right direction. Meridian tracing involves the use of the external energy field of the therapist with a view to promote the energy flow through a particular meridian. When you are tracing the pathways of a meridian, you need not necessarily touch the body, as it is possible to stimulate the energy flow through the meridian when you work approximately within two inches of the subject's body.

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When the flow of energy is stimulated in the meridian, it also improves the energy supply to the organ associated with the meridian. Therefore, the stomach's functioning improves when the therapist undertakes tracing the Stomach meridian, which begins just below the eyes and passes downwards through the front of our body to the toe next to the big toe (second toe).

Acupressure Holding Points

There are several points on all the meridians and some of these points have particular functions. Kinesiology makes use of the acupuncture holding points on the meridians, which are associated with the Five Elements and traditional acupuncture. When these particular points are stimulated, it either tonifies or sedates the energy flow through the meridian on which they are located. Acupuncturists stimulate these points by accurately inserting needles at these points; on the other hand, in kinesiology, chiropractors cause a similar effect by just touching the points lightly with their finger pads. To cover the entire acupuncture point, one needs to lightly place two or three fingers on the point.

In order to balance the energy flow using this technique, you require dealing with a total of four acupuncture points on the meridian. Precisely speaking, two points are held at the same time, one point on the hand or arm, and the other point on the foot or lower portion of the leg. In other words, the energy is being passed between three meridians. This can be compared to a situation where jump leads are used on a car while transmitting energy from one battery to another battery to get the engine going. Subsequently, the chiropractor holds a second set of acupuncture points, with a view to 'shut' the gate behind the subject. While the first set of acupuncture points resulted in the opening of the channel, the second set shuts the flow of energy through the meridian. Once you have opened the energy flow, it is important that you also switch it off after the proper energy flow to the meridian has been reinstated.

Origin and insertion massage

Although our head has a natural inclination to drop forward, it is held in a vertical position due to the tautness of the neck muscles. In other words, the tenseness sustained by these muscles holds the head straight. This means that the neck muscles support a weight of anything between 10 to 12 pounds. However, when one falls asleep while he/ she is sitting, the muscles in the region of the neck relax and this causes the head to drop forward. This sort of abrupt stretching out of the neck muscles activates the nerve or spindle cells in the spinal cord, which contracts resulting in lifting your head and waking you up all of a sudden. There is no doubt that this kind of protective reflex action has helped to save the lives of numerous exhausted drivers and also livened up several listeners who were bored at lectures and workshops.

The spindle or nerve cells are found next to the muscle cells and they are connected all through the muscles and, therefore, they are able to monitor the muscle cell movements reflexively. As a result any stretching of the muscles also results in the extension of the spindle cells. In case a muscle stretches excessively so much so that it may cause injury to the muscle, the spindle cells react by transmitting a signal to the muscle to tighten immediately. This is another protective mechanism of our body, which is called the stretch reflex.

The muscle cells stretch when a doctor lightly strikes the ligament beneath the knee cap. The response of the spindle cells to this kind of unanticipated stretching of the muscle cells is actually aimed at protecting the muscle, which contracts almost immediately. This action of the muscles in response to the activity of the spindle cells makes our keen jerk. In fact, the hold-up between the tap below the knee cap and the knee jerk is actually an indication of the time taken for a nerve impulse to move about from the spindle cells to the spinal cord and to the muscle again. However, the spindle cells will not react in a similar manner to muscle stretching provided the movement is not very abrupt.

Actually, we are able to learn plenty of things if we observe animal's vigilantly. For instance, you may watch a cat or a dog to stretch. These animals stretch impulsively and on their own accord - they never stretch their body too much or very quickly. They naturally tune up the muscles that they are just set to use. However, the spindle cells may be activated if there are any fast and jerky movements, particularly if they are used during your exercise schedule. In case you override this protective message from the spindle cells, which have instructed your muscles to tighten up, you may invite the risk of suffering tiny tears in the fibers of your muscle. In turn, this kind of tears may result in the development of scratched tissues in the muscle and they may slowly lose their suppleness. This condition may somewhat be compared to a situation where you put the hand brake of your car on for additional protection while parking. The time you start your vehicle, you forget all about the hand brake and continue driving your car with the hand brake still pressed on.

The Golgi tendon organs (GTO) also form a part of our body's protective mechanism and possess the aptitude to sense if there is any change in muscle tension. They are also nerve cells that are present at the muscle terminals and they are responsible to keeping the central nervous system (CNS) updated about the extent of the tautness of the muscles as well as protecting the muscles from too much strain. In case the tension in a particular muscle is very high, they send a message to the muscle instructing it to restrain the muscle from tightening further, because this might result in damaged muscle fibres. Kinesiology affects the spindle cells as well as the Golgi tendons by means of kindling them physically with the use of firm massage. The therapist works at the muscle ends, where the muscles are connected to the bones through the Golgi tendon and also in the central part of the muscles to invigorate the spindle cells.

In kinesiology, this type of controlling pressure is employed in various different ways to correct the imbalances in the muscles. Dr. Goodheart's discoveries show that we are able to switch on or activate a muscle by massaging the muscle ends crossways. In order to unwind a muscle that is much tensed, the therapist will place a hand on both the ends of the muscle and will massage in a way that will help these ends to pull apart.

When the muscle ends are massaged in this manner, it transmits a message to the muscles instructing them to loosen up and lengthen. In fact, this kind of action may be extremely beneficial, especially while working with divergent muscles and when one of these muscles is extremely tense or tight. It is important to note that muscle groups usually work in sets of two or pairs - while one muscle contracts, the other muscle relaxes. However, when the muscle group that ought to be loosening up or relaxing has begun being excessively taut, it may result in a one-sidedness in the muscle's movement and none of the muscles in that group will function as usual.

On the other hand, it is possible that a muscle may be excessively long and very loose. In order to restore its balance or correct the imbalance, you will have to place both your hands at both the ends of the muscles and force it in the direction of its center, sending it a message that it should contract. It has been found that this technique as well as other methods, especially those that influence the proprioceptors (the sensory nerve endings that keep the body updated regarding the position as well as the movement of the muscles) is extremely useful for people who take part in sports and also do workouts.

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