My Skill Level:
- Apprentice -
Fu Xi Wen Massage
Enough of this off-body energy
First, please read:
For your safety, never directly massage an organ or a major artery. If you wish to treat an organ or an artery, always use the muscles and tendons in the vicinity (in the same line of force or energetic box) treating the corresponding tissue-angle as described below.
You know those massages you received to get rid of your aches and pains and how they worked for a short time and then the problem returned? There is a reason why that problem returned. They didn't use Fu Xi Wen Massage (of course, there are many excellent massage therapists who can heal a problem with the right technique).
Regular massage, as blissful and wonderful as it is, usually moves the tissue in blissful and wonderful ways (and sometimes painful ways) without actually changing the energy inside the tissue itself that is causing the physical complaint. Because the energetic cause is not addressed, the massage does not permanently resolve the issue. You can, however, permanently fix problems with massage if you address the Five Elements and the Heaven, Man, and Earth planes inside the tissue. Furthermore, you can use the muscles and tendons to treat any tissue of the body using the T° (tissue-angle) that is the basis of Fu Xi Wen theory.
Traditional Chinese medicine utilizes a form of massage called Tuina. With tuina, the purpose is to stimulate acupuncture points as well as to treat local problems with frictional heat, movement, and stretching.
Fu Xi Wen – no pun intended – is knot Tuina (okay, pun was clearly intended). You can still use it to stimulate acupuncture points, but the goal here is to address the source problem locally, with only a few specific techniques, and our knowledge of tissue-angles.
Five Element Massage
Fu Xi Wen massage is based on five basic techniques that correspond with the Five Elements. While I will do my best to describe these techniques, the video tutorial on The Official Fu Xi Wen Website may offer more insight in allowing you to mimic what you see instead of relying solely on what you read.
Before I talk about each technique, keep in mind that techniques are often used together such as in generating or controlling cycle pairs. Remember the Mother-Child law from way back when? Either you combine a Mother and a Child to strengthen a weakness, or you combine a Controlling and a Child element to weaken a problem that is caused when a phase of Qi is too intense.
Weakness and Excess Problems
How can you tell the difference between
a problem caused by weakness versus one caused by excess?
Weak problems are always better after rest. They love pressure. They are better after eating. They are worse after bowel movements. They are worse after exercise
Excess problems are always worse after resting. They hate pressure. They are worse after eating and, when relating to the bowels, are better after bowel movements. They are better after exercise
So, if you want to get rid of Water excess in a muscle, which is the most common cause of an excessive muscle pain, you use the controlling technique with the Child technique. Earth controls Water, so you tonify Earth. Wood is the Child of Water so you disperse Wood. When the Child Wood is drained, the Mother, Water, is also drained. When it comes to muscle pain, it works almost every time.
In the case of muscles that lack energy, pain that is better with rest, the Generating Cycle is used. To build Earth Qi, for instance, Fire is paired with Earth and both are strengthened.
Tonifying Versus Dispersing
Finally, there are two ways you can utilize a technique. One way is called tonifying. A tonifying technique is performed in a gentle, extremely subtle, slow manner. The other way is called dispersing. It is conducted as fast and as vigorously as you can do it while not hurting yourself. Back to that example of Water excess causing pain in the muscle, the Earth technique is slow and gentle while the Wood technique is fast and vigorous. In the case of clearing away an excess, you always use a gentle control technique with a vigorous child technique. In the case of tonifying the Mother and Child, both techniques are slow and gentle.
Massaging in Directions
Fu Xi Wen Massage consists of three forces applied to the body:
There are corresponding directions of movement in Fu Xi Wen that relate to the Heaven/Man/Earth planes that direct the action of the massage into the correct energetic plane. What exactly does this mean? It means that the tissue being massaged is physically moved in the Heaven (up/down), Man (East/West), or Earth (North/South) directions as you conduct the massage. If you are balancing the area like a Novice, then you want to increase Fire Qi in the Heaven plane, increase Five Element Earth Qi in the Man plane, and increase Water Qi in the Earth plane. For instance, you may want to increase Five Element Earth Qi in the Man level of a muscle. You squeeze the muscle ala the Earth technique described below, and pull the muscle East to West and vice versa, simultaneously.
While it may seem you are massaging muscles and tendons, when you massage at tissue-angles, you are actually massaging the tissue that corresponds with the tissue-angle of your technique – manipulating the energy that resonates with those tissues. In other words, we are not abandoning our fundamental principles – we are simply engaging them from skin to bone. When you treat within the general vicinity of the problem with the correct tissue-angle, you are treating the problem itself.
Tissue-Angles in Massage
How do you create a tissue-angle (T°) when massaging? This is a good question. In techniques where you grab the skin with at least two fingers, imagine a line connecting the fingers and this line is your treatment tool. If you are using more than two fingers, the angle is created between your thumb and the imaginary line that connects the other fingers together. In other words, your thumb is always in opposition with other fingers to create the angle. Slightly push one finger towards the other. The pushing finger defines the starting point of the angle to determine whether the angle is facing up/down, East/West or North/South.
Say you are using your thumb and index finger with the thumb immediately on top and the index finger directly beneath it. Imagine a line connecting the tips of your fingers. If you push down with the thumb towards the index finger, you are creating a V.-90° angle. If instead you push slightly up with your index finger, you are creating a V.+90° angle. You can angle these fingers in the same manner you place your Fu Xi Wen treatment tool – in any T° – because now your fingers are the tool.
If you cannot create the angle because of physical limitations, be creative in working out the problem. Consider changing body position, for instance. In some cases, it may be impossible or simply dangerous so you cannot use massage at all. When you learn about remote treatments in the Advance level, you can massage acupuncture points to treat anywhere in and around the body.
As you read these techniques, practice them on your thigh muscles using only one hand. I suggest one hand, because often enough, you can only reach the problem on yourself with a single hand.
Earth Qi Technique
Create your tissue-angle then gently press both fingers towards each other while pushing or pulling this tissue-angle towards the Heaven, Man, or Earth planes.
The Earth massage technique is the easiest. This is the basic technique everyone does naturally to their upper back muscles when they feel tight. It is simply a good squeeze where all fingers squeeze in towards each other almost equally. I say “almost” because one finger still needs to squeeze harder to identify the angle. When using this technique in a specific Heaven, Man, or Earth plane hold the angle and then squeeze in that plane. Despite what I said a moment ago, you may need two hands to do this. For instance, to tonify Earth in the Man plane, place your thumb and opposing fingers in the tissue angle you are treating and then squeeze East and West.
Metal Qi Technique
Create your tissue-angle and then push very firmly with the angle finger. Simultaneously push the tissue-angle towards the Heaven, Man, or Earth plane. To tonify, the angle finger pushes firmly but gently. With dispersion, the finger pushes forcefully.
Water Qi Technique
Create your tissue-angle. Push both fingers firmly towards each other (with one finger more firm than the other to identify the angle). Simultaneously, push or pull the tissue-angle towards the Heaven, Man, or Earth plane. When tonifying, this is slow and gentle. When dispersing, it is fast, firm and vigorous.
Wood Qi Technique
Create your tissue-angle. Next, move both fingers in such a way as to alternate between squeezing and stretching. As you do this, push or pull the tissue-angle towards the Heaven, Man, or Earth plane. When tonifying, it is slow, when dispersing it is extremely fast and vigorous.
Fire Qi Technique
Create your tissue-angle. Without moving the angle finger, the second finger pushes in the opposite direction as the angle finger. Simultaneously, push or pull the tissue-angle towards the Heaven, Man, or Earth plane. The movement can be a stready push by the second finger or a stroking motion. To disperse, stroke vigorously to create a sensation of heat. To tonify, simply push slowly and gently.
Massage is one of the Jing level techniques that treats the substance of our bodies rather than the ethereal Qi.
In the next skill level, I will discuss the Heaven, Man, and Earth circuit. At this point, simply keep in mind that moving energy in the Man plane will have the most immediate effect on the problem with the most obvious changes. Treating Heaven and Earth may not have an immediate impact but certainly has a long term impact. So, if you are having an emergency where massage appears to be the best technique, treat the Man level to deal with the immediate trauma and focus on the other levels later when you are ready to heal more deeply. This is true not just for Fu Xi Wen Massage but for all Fu Xi Wen techniques.
Fu Xi Wen Massage can be used as an alternative to sound therapy. All of the theories of Fu Xi Wen can be applied to massage, including tissues-within-tissues and container theory. In order to employ these higher skill level theories, you will need to use two hands. Only having two hands limits this tool to only two levels of depth or magnification. So, for more complicated problems, other forms of therapy are required.
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