Massage is one of the single most important therapies used in healing. The visualization of chi, or "life force," being manipulated is a valid method for moving healing energies through the body. This life force is thought to originate in the spine with its movement going either down the legs and out through the toes, or up the back and along the arms and then out through the fingers. In all techniques of massage that use visualization of chi there are some very basic rules:
1. Once you begin to touch the body, the movement should always be away from the spine, either up the body and out through the fingers or down the legs and out through the toes. If you begin to massage the neck, then you must visualize that energy moving out through the arms and then the fingers. You should not make any movement down the back. The flow and direction of chi are very important.
2. Keep at least one hand on your partner's body (if you are reaching for oil, for example). Once you begin touching the body, you should continue that movement until the energy is brought out through the feet or the hands.
3. Eventually your hands will become tired and cramped. According to conventional medical wisdom, you have strained them from overuse. Chinese practitioners believe, however, that when this happens you have simply taken the nervous energy from your partner and brought it into your own aura. Their technique is to shake both hands, snapping the excess nervous energy off into space. It works. You relieve your cramps and your partner feels a definite loss of nervous energy.
4. The more you are able to visualize the movement of this energy, chi, the more vibrant the experience of massage is to your partner. She or he will literally feel the energy—to the point of being really surprised!
5. Foot and ear massages are more important than neck and back massages. There are more meridian points in the ear than most of the rest of the body combined. The ear symbolizes the body in a fetal position. The foot also symbolizes the entire body as well, and by learning reflexology you can enhance the healing of internal parts of the body through correct massage of the feet.
Note of Caution: If you boil valerian root in water, the oils are lost, leaving only an unpleasant odor. Although the brew may smell bad, the addition of peppermint or spearmint and honey improves the taste. It can also be ground and put in capsules.
Valerian can be served safely to children having trouble going to sleep. It relaxes muscles and induces sleep naturally. For children over ten years old, use 1/4 teaspoon to a cup of tea.
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