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In martial arts it has been the tradition to keep martial artists skilled in resetting bones around the ring during a fight. In today's arena throughout the world there are still medical professionals on hand ready to step in as they are needed. Their only role was not the ring. Even in practice mistakes would happen and the expertise of such oriental body therapists was highly prized. Over time in the martial art studio various injuries became an opportunity to help someone through pain, swelling, and inflammation with a minimum of disturbance.
Other oriental body arts were oriented toward patients much like a clinic. They would treat respiratory problems or asthma. There were protocols for digestion and fertility. So sequences were designed to help a deficient person, others would settle down an excess condition.
Often after a session of body therapy the patient would be given a set of things to do to help the therapy be more effective. I began to collect sets of exercises to improve low back pain, recover from shoulder injuries, or reset the balance of ligaments on the knee -- as examples.
Qi Qong exercises were a perfect follow up for many of these sessions. Many Qi Qong sets serve to restore energy balance and increase meridian flow. The decrease in pain was often immediate. The surprise is how it would strengthen the immune system and change the dynamic of chronic diseases. It is no surprise that recent studies show that Tai Chi Chuan (a popular Qi Qong exercise) moves the lymph. I began to collect various Qi Qong moves to flush a person's lymph system and increase the body's ability to recover.
After following in this traditional training other disciplines were a perfect fit to augment this study. Bob Cooley's idea of resisting through a stretch while moving through a range of motion was a great addition. It not only reduced pain dramatically but it had the effect of resetting the ability of the body to increase range of motion. This seemed a perfect match for tui na's vibratory moves and its passive range of motion work.
Pete Egoscue defined various postural imbalances that were shared among all of us. He proposed sets of exercises done in a specific order to restore the integrative quality of our movement. Sometimes a person would have multiple imbalances that would be removed by correcting each one over a matter of weeks and months. Even thinking through the body alignment issues helps one treat the body differently so that it recovers faster.
Matt Callison who came from the field of physical therapy and was involved with cadavers and the analysis of muscles -- shifted his research with acupuncture to the motor points. A motor point is deep in the inner muscles belly and it is the control point which communicates with the brain. If a muscles is in spasm or strongly contracting unable to little else, then that muscle has lost its connection with the brain. Matt showed how resetting those motor points release the body to make a new communication with the brain. If both the agonist and antagonist muscles are released together, then the brain will balance them.
I remember being taught how to warm up the joints in a chop sockey Hsing I Chuan martial art class. Only movement in a joint can bring nutrition to the joint. Only movement in a joint can remove the waste from a joint. This simple idea I've seen repeated from various sources including Structured Yoga. It is a powerful principle which free my patients to care for themselves.
Year ago on a trip with my Dad his little finger was going the wrong direction. He called it arthritis. Worked it gently with tui na bone setting move it. Using Chinese herbs to flush the joint completely through the bone during the day sustained the adjustments. Using Chinese herbs at night to warm it softened the muscles around it. In a few days he was able to see it working and closer to position. It became obvious that my therapy alone would not do it completely in a short week. So I taught him how to work his hand and fingers. I left him with lotion to flush it. Within a year he was back to playing guitar.
Years before this practice began the lessons were learned from sessions to family, friends, and even strangers. Oriental body therapy remains a large part of the practice today.