Yin and Yang – Pumping Your Way to Better Health

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Pumps are at the very essence of life. Think of a body process, and integral to it is one or more pumps.

What is a pump? From Wikipedia: “a pump is a device that moves fluids (liquids or gases) …. by mechanical action”

At it’s most basic, a pump works on the basis of pressure differentials. Fluids or gases will move from an area of low pressure (Yin) to an area of high pressure (Yang) through a point of stillness.

In Chinese culture, Yin and Yang represents the essence of all life.

In your body, the most obvious pump is the heart. When it stops you stop, and when it wanes you also wane. The concept of keeping this pump and it’s components in working order is well understood: for example, the necessity for aerobic exercise.

It is also fairly obvious that what is connected to the pump also needs to work well. If the pipes leading to and from a pump are clogged up, the pump will have to work harder and may actually fail. Coronary heart disease is just one example of clogging up.

Another important concept is one of connected-ness. In a system of pumps, the operation of the whole system will be affected by the operation of it’s individual components. And so it is with our bodies – all of the pumps need to work well in order for the whole body to work well. Over time they get wear and tear, so it is important to keep them well maintained.

Fortunately, our bodies have self repairing pumps. One pump works with the fluids and gasses provided by other pumps to get the materials it needs to self repair.

There are some less obvious pumps:
– muscles – work by contracting, relaxing and expanding – that’s a pump
– tendons, liaments and fascia have fluid filled micro channels within them – where there is a channel with fluid in it, something must be pumping it.
– glands are pumps – they are secreting organs that push specific fluids out into your body,
– your gut – it is a peristaltic pump that moves food along it – and out,
– your lungs, or to be more accurate the muscles around your lungs, in and around your ribs and diaphragms are pumps that draw fresh air in and expel stale air out.

Where your body wants to direct the flow of fluid in your body channels, it sticks valves in them.

But why have valves if the pump operates well? Surely it can pump hard enough to force the flow and not get a back surge: the presence of valves is not just a safety mechanism (a safety valve), it also indicates that there are non directional pumps at work that need to be given a bit of help in directing fluid flow.

If you have a hosepipe full of water, and you step on it, the water will get pushed both up and down the pipe. If you have a one way valve (e.g. a stopper valve) at one end, the water will flow only in one direction.

So, if there are valves in your body channels and no directly connected pump, what does the pumping?

Lymph ducts have valves (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lymphatic_vessel), but there is no explicit lymph pump like the heart. It is the peristaltic and compression pumping action of smooth muscle, arteries and other muscle tissues around the ducts that compresses the fluid, forcing it along them. And it is the valves in the ducts that determine the flow direction.

The general principle of body pumps is that they are not specific organs: they are everywhere in your body. The Chinese recognised this. Qigong specifically has exercises that enhance the pumping ability of every part of your body. You have to keep moving to keep vital.

A great side effect of improving your body pumps, is that it makes your body become more connected, more effective and more powerful. It is no coincidence that the Moving and Martial Arts are renowned for giving better health and better power. The two come hand in hand.

If you have been sitting for a while and are starting to feel tired and lethargic, you need to get your auxiliary body pumps going rather than drinking some more coffee or Red Bull.

Threnergy is a distillation of some of the principles from Qigong and other martial arts, not to replace them but to make available the essence of them so that you can get started quicker and enjoy the health and power benefits much quicker.

Please do have a read of my blog and book: www.threnergy.com – mindful connectivity