- We, ourselves, are the first line of defense for a healthy life.
- We can take care of our health naturally by keeping our life energy flowing.
- Massaging one part of our body, such as our face, can improve energy circulation in the entire body.
You’ve probably noticed that staying healthy isn’t automatic. Especially as we get older, it gets harder and harder to keep our bodies feeling good, moving well, and staying energized. We need to work at it.
There are many products and people out there to help us maintain and improve our health, but first and foremost, it’s up to us. We’re the ones that live in our bodies day after day, who understand its nuances, and who can make the adjustments needed that make a difference in our overall health.
To make those adjustments—to have healthy lifestyle habits—we need to treat ourselves as we need to treat others: with loving attention and kind respect. In our busy lives, while we’re taking care of so many things, it can be easy to neglect ourselves. By scheduling in even short bits of time throughout the day to give our bodies, minds, and energy attention, we can see our current condition clearly. Then, we can take ongoing action to improve it.
It comes down to trusting ourselves—trusting that our bodies and minds naturally have the power to become healthy and full of vitality. Our bodies and brains are so amazing! They are adapting and changing all the time, and, as part of nature, they are connected to the life energy of nature. If we keep that life energy flowing into us and circulating well within us, then health, happiness, and fullness will follow.
Keep the Energy Flowing
When life energy (qi/chi/prana) flows “well” inside us, it’s “just right.” It’s neither too hot, nor too cold. Too much doesn’t concentrate in one place, nor too little. It doesn’t get stuck anywhere either. A steady stream of energy travels along the energy channels (also called meridian channels) of the body and enters and exists through its energy points (acupressure points). We call this having balance.
Balance includes having Water Up, Fire Down energy flow: warmer energy goes down into the belly while cooler energy goes up to the head. This natural energy cycle brings physical vitality and mental clarity while helping energy to circulate throughout the body.
Using Reflexology and Acupressure
Acupressure and massage list among the simplest ways we can keep our energy flowing well regardless of our physical condition. They can be performed on ourselves and can be used to help others.
Acupressure and massage work by opening up areas of blocked energy. Just as we can loosen a knot of muscle with our fingers, we can press away a blockage of energy through the vibrations of our body and brain. Everything vibrates with energy, and we can use vibration to affect energy. Focusing our mind and physical vibrations (pressing/tapping) on an energy blockage will break up that blockage to let energy flow.
On a more systemic level, these techniques improve our health by putting us in a relaxed state. When our bodies and brains go into a “rest and digest” mode, they repair themselves and restore balance.
Massage also keeps our blood and lymph flowing. This helps our body get the nutrients it needs and remove toxins. It also helps prevent puffiness or fluid build-up.
Because specific areas of our body also relate to other areas, including internal organs, we don’t need to massage our entire body to make a difference in our health. Focusing our effort on one part of the body can open the energy channels and points in the rest of it.
Focusing on the Face
While specific energy channels and energy points are related to specific areas of the body, there are also some parts of the body on which the entire body is mapped. Working on those parts is known as reflexology. You may have heard of reflexology of the feet, hands, and even ears; I’d like to introduce you to reflexology of the face.
Besides improving energy flow, massaging the face helps head tension and pain. It also improves the look and feel of your skin.
Take a look at how the rest of the body maps onto the planes of the face.
When massaging the face, we can focus on areas associated with parts of the body where we already know we have issues. We can also target specific acupressure points such as these:
Imbalances in the body can show up as energy blockages before they are recognizable as illness. We can discover these imbalances ourselves, since they can be felt as pain or tension in acupressure points. Pain or tension means energy is blocked there. As we press along our face with the pads of our fingers, we can give more time and attention to these tender areas to release the energy blockage.
Our faces can easily be relaxed, but it’s important to work delicately and carefully. Press gently around the face, especially with the pads of the thumbs. For an even gentler, smoother touch, we can use a massage/facial oil or a facial cream.
While you don’t necessarily need to massage the parts of your face in a specific order, you can try out the sequence below:
- Rub your hands until they’re hot, then smooth them down your face downward from hairline to chin several times.
- Then, with the pads of your fingers, push the facial muscles up from the chin to the hairline above the forehead.
- Overlap your thumbs and slide them from side to side on your forehead.
- Apply each thumb to the temples (taeyang points), and apply gradual pressure there.
- Then press gently from temples to the center of the forehead and then back.
- Continue along the eyebrows, applying gradual and lingering pressure.
- Then around the eye socket from the inner to outer corners.
- Down the sides of the nose.
- Apply gradual pressure to the depression beneath the nose (in-joong point).
- Then press along the cheekbones to the two small dips on the lower edges of the cheekbones (ha-gwan and gwan-ryo points).
- Then continue pressing to the dip between the jaws and the ears (hyup-cha points) and exert gradual pressure there.
- Finally press the deep depression behind the earlobes (yeah-poong points).
- Rubbing your hands once more, cover your eyes with your palms while taking three full breaths. Then smooth your hands down your face.
Usually, a person’s first physical response to discomfort is a frown. On the other hand, relaxing the face can elevate our mood and relax the entire body. Pressing and stretching the face works well. Yet, the most effective way to relax the face is to smile and laugh. With a laugh, we can begin to restore balance and health to our body and mind.
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