With springtime upon on us it’s time to open wide our energetic body windows! The return of warmth and sunlight is the perfect time for clearing out built up congestion in meridian points to restore and rejuvenate both your physical and energetic circulation. Two common points we tend to close off against the cold and darkness of winter is the Poong-mun (Wind Gate) and the Dae-chu (Great Hammer). But in the warmer months, we want to open our Dae-chu to the light and let in its nourishing rays.
Traditional Korean medicine believes that the body mirrors and/or is vulnerable to the external environment. When conditions are cold and damp, for example, cold and damp can enter the body through certain acupressure points and cause colds, flu, congestion and other cold weather induced ailments.
The Poong-mun point is located at the base of the skull, while the Dae-chu point is located along the spine at the upper back, between the shoulder blades. You can find it by bending your head forward and locating the biggest bone where head and shoulders meet. We tend to protect and close off the Dae-chu point during the colder months and this causes congestion, hindering free circulation of Ki in that area. Lethargy, lack of appetite, sluggish digestion, dizziness and low energy, also called Spring Fatigue, are all signs of a closed Dae-chu point.
An easy, effective exercise for opening the Dae Chu is forward bend. With your feet parallel and shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly, clasp your hands together and inhale while raising your arms overhead, palms up and pressing toward the ceiling. Slowly bend forward at the waist, letting gravity pull you toward the floor, then press down with the heels of your palms.
This releases pressure and tension from your upper back, and even stimulates the bladder meridian, further enhancing circulation of Ki and creating Water Up, Fire Down balance. For a lying down version, try the yoga floor pose Halasana or plough posture, for similar benefits. In Plough pose, if you keep your shoulders relaxed, the pressure of the floor against your back puts enough pressure on the Dae-chu point to push it open it.
Another easy and comprehensive acupressure point opening and stimulating exercise is back rolling. Simply lay on the floor, bring both knees up to your chest, wrapping your arms around them and gently rock back and forth along the full length of your spine, from Poong-mun to tailbone, for a refreshing, meridian tonifying spinal massage.