As mentioned in my previous post, I started suffering from lower back discomfort since the last few weeks. I started looking around for more cost effective as I realise that many of my readers out there would be in similar situation- external treatment (like massage, accupressure) works but we would not be able to afford it long term.
In the last weeks, my first option was to try to relieve the discomfort via exercising- I focused more on stretching my hamstrings (tight hamstrings are associated with lower back pain), doing more light cardio like cycling (lower impact on the back), light running (at about 7.3 km/hr) and brisk walking. There was a slight relief. The pain was less- the combination of stretching and cardio seemed to help to loosen up the muscles a bit and increase circulation. But I knew it could not provide the solution that I am looking for.
Aside from that, I’ve also tried the cane exercise- beating myself up with the cane around the soles of my feet, palms, shoulders as well massaging my lower back with the cane. It seemed to offer more relief- in combination with stretches. But still, a slight pain exist- when I am going about in housework or carrying heavy things- I feel the back pain coming back.
Then something in me told me to give qi gong a try- to balance up the chi in the body and use the power of visualization and concentration to direct the chi to move around the body, clearing blocked and painful areas. This is because I know for a fact that meditation works for a nasty toothache- when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with no dentist care.
Qi Gong/ Chi Kung Exercises- Simple but Effective
On Sunday night, I’ve tried some simple qi gong exercises, combining with breath meditation. (calm the mind down, be aware of the breath and visualise that it is travelling through the affected area…creating a smooth flow).
The next morning, when I got up, I find most of the pain had gone. Some of the exercises I have tried are:
1. Chi kong Spine Exercise
I did not do much with the chi ball thingy but I basically twist my body left and right with my hands following naturally- sometimes resting at the kidney areas. But you can follow the instruction in the video (got it via YouTube- hopefully with video easier for you to do the exercises):
Keep the knees soft and turn left and right- start warning spine gently before twist. If sitting, can move the upper body only. With both hands in front of you, form a chi ball and together turn left, back to the centre and turn at center. Make sure knee soft
2. Standing Tree Exercise in Qi Gong
You would see many old folks doing this in parks all across China- and you may be wondering what they are doing. This exercise, even though it looks simple, is very powerful- it helps to promote a strong back, increase circulation and even helps you to develop more patience
If qi gong is so easy and effective, why isn’t everyone do it?
The thing about practicing qi gong is that…. your frame of mind need to be calm and relaxed especially if you want the exercises to be effective. I remember attending a qi gong class once years ago and never went back- because that time my mind was constantly fast paced, I was stressed out and have problem relaxing. I find the movement too slow and the exercises were boring the daylights out of me. That time, I never listened to my body and heart.
Years down the line…being older and hopefully wiser and with the help of a little meditation practice, I am more in touch with the body and start to listen to its message. If you really listen, the body may teach you how to heal itself.
Most of the time, pain and discomfort falses us to stop what we are doing and pay attention (since we all know that taking increasing dosage of painkillers ain’t the long term solution- the medicine may probably wack off our kidneys and livers). It could be the body’s message to get you to slow down. If you are committed to do these exercises, you’ll need to learn to slow your mind down and try to clear it from thinking non stop. With practice, persistence and patience, your mind would start to calm down and your visualization energy would be strong enough that you are able to direct it towards healing parts of you that are unwell.