What's the purpose of percussion in Qigong?

qiIn a recent conversation someone mentioned that they would NEVER do Qigong because they think it's silly that people voluntarily hit themselves.

As you are probably aware, not all Qigong involves percussive movements to various - or any - body parts. But some do...

So why do people voluntarily hit themselves?

Well, first-off, the term hitting is a little misleading. The percussive movements are more like taps or pats, as opposed to hits or strikes. They may, or may not, be firm - but are generally no firmer that the friendly pat that your dog, horse or other animal enjoys... which redefines that question as

Q: Why do people pat or tap themselves?

A: It's good for you!

That's right. Percussion is therapeutic and good for you - it's part of the healing repertoire used by physiotherapists and massage therapists - and there is reason behind it.

Percussive movements on the body (or tapotement in massage terminology):

  • Draws blood to the area and improves circulation - this in turn facilitates the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the body and aids the elimination of waste products - keeping you in healthy.
  • Stimulates the muscles to contract - which helps to improve muscle tone and strengthen the muscles.

Various types of percussive movements can be also be used to reduce fatty deposits, encourage bowel movements, loosen and help expectorate mucus in the lungs, or to expedite rehabilitation and recovery of muscles after surgery or injury.

In Qigong, the main purpose of percussion is to improve circulation and energy flow - either throughout the body or in particular concentrate areas as needed. The overall feeling is energising and invigorating.

If you're doing Qigong before meditation or sleep it is common to change the percussive movements to gentle rubs instead to calm, rather than stimulate, the body.

25 September 2013, 01:18
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