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Qi gong for healthy digestion

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

It's that time of year again; we reflect on what we're thankful for, spend time with loved ones, and EAT. Sounds good to me!

Unfortunately, during this season it can be easy to over indulge. Overeating can leave us feeling heavy, fatigued and unable to enjoy or time with friends and family. Moderation is key. Eat what you like and what makes you feel good, but listen to your body when it's asking you to stop.

Here's a great Qi Gong exercise you can do after any meal to help stimulate your digestive enzymes for maximum absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste.

Sit in a chair with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands resting on your thighs.Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, close your eyes or soften your gaze so your eyes are half closed. Take 3 deep breaths, filling up your lower abdomen with each inhale.Circle your tongue around the back of your upper teeth and lower teeth 9 times in a clockwise circle and 9 times in a counter-clockwise circle. This will stimulate saliva production which is filled with digestive enzymes.Swallow that saliva you've just produced in 3 sections. Swallow the 1st third, feeling it pass down your throat, chest, upper abdomen and settle into your stomach. Then swallow the 2nd third and then the last of your saliva the same way.Place one hand at your navel and your other hand on top of it. Gently rub around your navel in clockwise circles 36 times. This helps stimulate peristalsis.Settle your hands back onto your thighs and breath 3 more deep breaths.

This series can take anywhere from 2-8 minutes, depending on how quickly you move through these steps.