Thinking About Insomnia Keeps Me Awake!


#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

Everyone has one of those nights when they cannot drop off to sleep. Insomnia on one of those nights is not a problem but when it runs to two, three,four and more there is most definitely a problem. Our sleeping hours turn into hours of restlessness and the hours when we should be awake and alert we find ourselves half asleep and unable to function properly.

This article is most definitely not anti Western Medicine. I am not saying that one system is better than the other. They both have their place and can, should, be used to complement each other.

From an Allopathic (Western) Medicine viewpoint there are many reasons for insomnia such as: stress, anxiety, depression, worry, grief, anger,chronic pain, neurological conditions, trauma, etc. Each of these causes are treated differently and usually treated with the use of drugs.

I want to focus on the causes of insomnia that are of a mental nature and how Eastern Medicine, in particular Shiatsu and Qigong, can have a beneficial impact. Rather than seeing stress, anxiety, depression,worry, grief and anger as six different causes I want to break the cause of insomnia into two sources. The two causes of overactive thoughts are the brain(the Yi) and the consciousness (the Shen). Each has its own patterns, or symptoms.

  • If your inability to sleep is because you are thinking about particular things (eg. Planning for an event) then it is the Yi,the brain, that is overactive.
  • Is your head filled with random thoughts that jump about, continually vying to attract your attention…………. like a hundred chattering monkeys? Then it is the Shen, your consciousness that is disturbed.

If the incidence of insomnia is recent I would recommend that you use self Shiatsu as a method. Or if it is chronic I recommend that you learn and practice the Qigong on a daily basis as well as using self Shiatsu immediately before going to bed. The need for the self Shiatsu should diminish as the effects of the Qigong become stronger.

Overactive brain – calming the Yi


Self Shiatsu for insomnia

foot Yi points - shiatsu for insomnia

There are a couple of acupuncture points that you can stimulate, using finger pressure, to calm the brain down. The points are Stomach 42 and Spleen 1, both of which are on the feet. You should apply finger pressure for between 10 and 15 seconds, making sure that your entire focus is on applying this.

Qigong for insomnia

There is one exercise that I recommend and teach to my clients, it is called “Pressing Palms in Calmness” and there are two versions. As the written instructions can only go so far in communicating the necessary information to practice Qigong properly and efficiently, it is preferable to learn from a qualified teacher.

With the feet shoulder width apart (in Wuji stance), stand with the arms held in front of the waist. Rest the tip of your tongue on the palate, just behind the front teeth. Breathe through the nose and concentrate your breath on the lower abdomen.

  1. Inhalation – Turn the palms upward so that the fingers are pointing towards each other, and lift the hands level with the forehead.
  2. Exhalation – Turn the palms downward, form a triangle by connecting the two index fingers and the two thumbs, and press down until the hands are level with the lower abdomen (the Dan Tien).
  3. Separate the hands and return to the starting posture.
  4. Repeat.

As a general rule, repeat about eight times although you might want to do more.

Overactive mind – calming the Shen


Self Shiatsu

Heart Governor 8 - shiatsu for insomnia

There is one acupuncture point that you can stimulate this time, again using finger pressure. This point is heart Governor 8 and it is located on the palm of the hand. You should apply finger pressure for between 10 and 15 seconds, making sure that your entire focus is on applying this.

Qigong

With the feet shoulder width apart (in Wuji stance), stand with the arms held in front of the waist. Rest the tip of your tongue on the palate, just behind the front teeth. Breathe through the nose and concentrate your breath on the lower abdomen.

  1. Inhalation – Turn the palms upward so that the fingers are pointing towards each other, and lift the hands level with the forehead.
  2. Exhalation – Turn the palms downward and press down, with the middle fingers pointing towards each other until they are level with the lower abdomen (the Dan Tien).
  3. Separate the hands and return to the starting posture.
  4. Repeat.

As a general rule, repeat about eight times although you might want to do more.

Sleep tight!
Des

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