Tai Chi, The Pump For Poor Circulation


If you have poor circulation, it means that certain parts of your body are not getting enough blood, nutrients, and oxygen. This may cause a particular part of your body to experience unwanted symptoms.

When you have poor circulation, you can feel a variety of sensations like tingling, stinging, or numbness. Your muscles may cramp, or you can feel pain or a certain level of discomforts, such as having cold hands and feet. Poor circulation is typically caused by an underlying condition that may require proper attention. Consult with your doctor before you do anything.

I have cold hands and feet during the cold season, so I turn to Tai Chi to warm up. You can turn to Tai Chi to improve the movement of your body’s fluids, including your blood, lymph, synovial fluid, which is between your joints, cerebral spinal fluid, which is within the spinal column, and your interstitial fluid, which is between your cells.

Tai Chi moves the body fluids by inducing or raising the pressure of the body’s fluids. Your body essentially acts like a pump or a series of pumps. When you do Tai Chi movements, your entire spine, belly, legs, or arm can act as a pump. Internal organs, joints, and vertebrae can also act as tiny little pumps in your body.

As you continue to practice your Tai Chi, you will become very efficient at powerfully using these pumps. You can see the pumping mechanisms behind the physical movements in Tai Chi. For example, when you bend your elbow joints and then stretch out your arms, you are using the pumping mechanism to extend your arms. When you bend your knees, release the hips, and then come right back to standing, you are using the pumping action.

The pumping mechanism is also behind the energy work of Tai Chi.  The pumping action makes the flow of Chi strong and the Chi activates your body fluids to move. As your circulation increases, the strength of your Chi grows stronger.

How do you create the series of pumps within Tai Chi’s specific movements?

It starts with your mind. Focus on your mind’s intent to create the pumping action that will make your Chi flow stronger. Remember your mind moves your Chi and your Chi moves your blood. It also moves all the other body fluids.  Then the blood accumulates and creates bodily strength.

Your mental concentration is one way to move your body fluids, in addition to your physical movements. 

There are external pumps, which are your physical movements, and there are internal pumps, which are your energetic movements.

The internal pumps don’t use muscular contractions. Instead, they use compression and the release of all the body tissues. Compression enables more blood to be pushed through the blood vessels.  It is a force that squeezes something together.  In this case, it can mean that the liquids in your body are pushed through the body like water through a pipe.

When your blood flows abundantly through your vessels, your muscles become more flexible.

Let’s do some gentle pumping actions of Tai Chi.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Release the hips, bend the knees, exhale and sink into the floor.

1. Compressing down, energize the fingers up.

2. Exhale, relax, sink back down.

3. Energize the fingers.

4. Relax back down, exhale all the way.

Let’s do this one more time.

1. Energize the fingers up.

2. Exhale, relax.

3. Energize the fingers.

4. Relax back down, exhale all the way.

The internal pumping method of Tai Chi increases the pressure within the body’s vessels and the expansion-contraction of the blood vessels is in harmony with the movement of the fluids in your body, spine, and joints.

Remember, there are two pumping mechanisms involved in the Tai Chi movements.

1. The internal pumping mechanism, which is part of Tai Chi’s deep breathing practice. Deep breathing speeds up the air exchange in the lungs. That, in turn, increases the pressure of your lungs to pump lymph fluid along in the body.

2. There’s the external mechanism of pumping, which involves the deep squeezing pressures inside the armpits and in the inguinal fold between your hips and the tops of your thighs, which the Chinese call the Kwa.  The external pumping action is also felt in the back of the knees to a certain extent, which pushes the lymph along the body.

By watching the video above, you can see the pumping action of Tai Chi in these movements.  Upon exhaling, there is a sinking of energy down your legs.  This sinking effect squeezes the feet down to the floor.  Your feet then initiate the pumping action of the Tai Chi movements.  All the pumps in your body are activated.

The pumping action works its way up to the fingers. Then you relax back down, exhale all the way. 

What if you can do tiny bends and stretches along your spine to heal your spine and neck problems?  What if you can use the pumping mechanisms of Tai Chi to loosen the membrane surrounding your spine so you can soften your body making it less brittle?

Join me for an Online Tai Chi Class and find out how.

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