Just how relevant is ancient Chinese medicine/philosophy today?

I have for the past few months been plagued by insecurity about my future. Frozen to the spot, unable to dredge myself out and towards the future I most desire. But, I’ve found that this fear that’s bubbled up in this unique time in my life (entering the workforce) is directly related to a number of physical and energetic problems I’ve always had.

Running in parallel are two or three other stories.

The first is an interest in the Chinese qigong philosophy of the Three Dan Tiens. This simply referrs to the three main energy centres of the human body.

  • The first is in the belly, an inch below the navel. This is the lower Dan Tien, or Hara (a word appropriated from the Japanese).
  • The second is the heart centre, just above the sternum along the nipple line. This is the middle Dan Tien
  • The third and final lies behind the forehead – the upper Dan Tien

In meditation to date, I had always focused on the upper out of a greed for having an ‘awakened third eye’. Incidentally, meditations on the area have been quite illuminating and I am constantly having otherworldly experiences – seeing shapes that aren’t physically there, seeing my own ‘chakras’ spinning, seeing others’ vibes, etc – because of it.

The point is, my hara has always been terribly weak and neglected.

A second story is my lifetime of strangely terrible posture. I found that I had always had unnatural overcurvature in my lower back. I’d have troubls standing for long periods, and often had lower back problems. Cha-ching for the physio! Hell, I’d even have the strange constant compulsion to pee. All these centred around the lower Dan Tien.

The ancients called the lower energy centre the Ocean of Energy – the source of all life. The centre of your being. It is focused on and strengthened heavily in martial arts – hell, the west has even absorbed it subconsciously by awarding boxing champions huge belts with blazing golden medallions placed directly over this centre, representing the fighter with the most power. And, with a terrible lower back posture of my own, a weak hara, my pelvis was tilted forward and all the energy was pouring our just like a cup.

There are hints of a third story floating about in the ethers here, partly to do with seeing the patterns and connections here, and partly to do with the practise of a particular type of Qi Gong that heavily strengthens the Dan Tiens. But those haven’t quite crystallised into alluring stories, and so I leave you with this:

There’s a great wisdom in these old Chinese (and Ayurvedic) philosophies that are directly applicable to our daily lives and health. The translation’s often more than tedious, but when deciphered and our own Western dogmas unlearned, there’s world of wonder to be had. I’ll play with strengthening this lower guy and see what happens.

Here’s an interesting related site, in case you’re interested:




Over and out.

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