The Secret of The Inner Gate
Keep a healthy heart with Part II of my introduction to the fundamental Chinese Traditional Acupressure points.In this article we will look at the Nei Guan or Inner Gate, the principle pointresponsible for the pericardium or “heart sack”.
Before we look at the point, and the problems that it can counterbalance, let us briefly recap over the Chinese approach to holistic healing in order to gain a clearer idea of how acupressureand traditional Chinese Traditional Medicine work.
The cornerstone of Chinese medical practice revolves around the flow (or lack of it) of the intrinsic energy source – Chi (or Qi).
Chi is present in all objects around us, from the food we eat, to the water we drink. Our energy is either enriched by our environment or, as so often happens, robbed by it. Modern toxins,processed food, high stress levels, the negative vibrations of people around usand the polluted air we breath can all play havoc with the delicate balance ofYin and Yang within the body.
The beauty of the principles ofYin and Yang is how truly they embrace equality of the sexes – masculine and feminine must co-exist in mutual harmony otherwise imbalance, illness and internal disruption can ensue.
T’ai Chi Ch’uan is an excellent example of this, often a movement will feature a defensive or absorbing movement (Yin) in order to facilitate the elasticity and drive for theattacking movement (Yang), but the key aspect is that neither are possible without the other.
Coupled with this was the practice of T’ai Chi, Bagua, Hsing-Yi and of course Qi Gong (or Chi Gung) asmethods of energy cultivation as opposed to simply martial arts activities.
Indeed the accumulation and storage of this energy was so vitally important to martial artists, Chi gungexponents, philosophers and members of the Imperial dynasty that sexualpractices were developed whereby men were able to actually retain semen during intercourse thus aiding their energy levels and avoiding what is known in Taoistterms as “The Little Death” (a somewhat depressing way to describe an orgasm!).Women on the other hand, benefited from rigorous activities of this kind andwould absorb the male energy thus adding to their own reserves.
These types of practices have,unfortunately, been misrepresented and simplified by lurid tabloid tales of thelikes of Sting and Trudy Stiler performing Tantric sex for hours on end (apretty scary thought actually – have you seen his beard recently? He looks likean extra from “Witness”) and have paid scant attention to spiritual advancement.
Recently I had acupuncture performed for a minor injury to my knuckle. What was fascinating to me was the array of acupuncture sites utilised by the doctor in order to remedy this area– the He Gu point (discussed in my last article), Tsu San Li (another key acupuncture point located below the knee) and SanYin Jiao. These points wererelated to the large intestine, the stomach and the spleen. At no stage was my knuckle manipulated or massaged. At the end of the 20 minute session, and having been effectively skewered like a kebab,the pain in my knuckle was non-existent.
The point? Well normal medical practice would have been PRICE (Protect/Rest/Ice/Compress/Elevate), but I was told to warm my knuckle in hot water and take some herbal tablet to eliminate the stasis and stagnant chi residing in the joint. The medical advice given to me by my doctor – take Nurofen. Hmm…
Hopefully this anecdotal tale will show you why I tend to favour the holistic and more proactive approach to aiding recovery, than simply guzzling pharmaceuticals to reduce inflamatory response – the root cause was analyzed and addressed by the acupuncturist.
Now let us look in detail at the Inner Gate (or Inner Pass).
This point regulates the heart,harmonizes the stomach, clears heat (in other words excess Yang energy in thebody – this can increase blood pressure, cause restlessness, fast or loud talking, short temper, sweating without activity, and a restless or overactive mind). In other words, all the effects associated with following the X Factor for a prolonged period.
The inner gate lies on the meridian associated with the heart sack (pericardium). Pressure on this point(especially in the morning as a stimulant) will increase circulation and help regulate heartbeat. In China this point (as well as the major adrenal pointbetween the lip and nose) is used for heart attack victims The point is also used for:
Abdominal Pain • Arm Contraction • Arm Pain •Asthma • Cardiac Arrhythmia • Cardiac Conditions •Cardiac Pain • Chest Discomfort • Chest Pain •Elbow Problems • Fever • Headache Migraine •Hiccough • Hysteria • Insomnia • Jaundice •Malaria • Memory Impaired • Menses Irregular •Mental Disorders • Metabolic Disturbances • Nausea •Palpitations • Seizures • Stomach Pain •Surgical Pain Or Post Surgical Shock • Vomiting •Windstroke •
So how do I find the Nei Guan? Well the location is on the anterior forearm, 2 inches above the wrist crease between the tendons of palmaris longus and the flexorcarpi radialis muscles. In other words...
Take turn your right palm face up, take your 3 fingers from the left hand andplace them together. Put your ring finger on the crease of your wrist, andmeasuring down from there is the point. The exact spot is imbetween the twotendons that run down your wrist (wiggle a loose fist and you should seethem).
I would mainly use this point in the morning or when fatigued. Don't use it past 6pm, and don't go overboard with its application. Your rhythm of application should be:press down for one second, release for one second. Do this twenty times, on both arms.
Following the principals of Chi Gung, acupressure and T’ai Chi can help balancethe adrenal glands and reduce stress-related cortisol. This coupled with adaptogenic Chinese herbs can address dysfunction in the adrenals, one of the major causes of serious illness.
Indeed following a fascinating lecture onhormonal optimization by Mike Mahler, the take home point was that you will never achieve your physical or emotional goals if you do not manage stress more effectively.
Managed stress,balance the body, and prevent illness – and all you need to do is press. . .
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