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Rubbing the Abdomen to

Aid the Stomach

The abdomen rubbing exercise is also called the method of
curing diseases and prolonging life. It is a common technique
used for health preservation among the Chinese and has been
widely practised since the Qing Dynasty.

his exercise is intended to mainly accelerate the blood

circulation in the abdomen and stimulate the nerve
receptors on the membranes of the stomach and
intestines this is done by rubbing certain acupoints and
affected parts and massaging and pulling the internal
organs directly. This causes the nevous system to be stimulated,
thus promoting the contraction of the smooth muscles in the
stomach and intestines. At the same time, it also helps promote
the secretion of gastric juice, bile, pancreatic juice and small
intestinal juice, improves the digestion and absorption of food
by the stomach and intestines, and increases the livers
metabolism of sugar, protein and fats.
It helps cure certain gastro-intestinal diseases, including
gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, chronic gastritis, gastric and
intestinal neurosis, inflammation if the colon and habitual
constipation. Starting form: Sit or lie on your back. If sitting,
keep the upper part of the body upright, feet on the ground
and apart to a little wider than shoulder width. If lying, bend
the knees slightly, feet slightly apart and heels on the bed. In
winter, or when it is otherwise cold, lie on the bed with a quilt
on or sit under the quilt with the clothes on.

Fig 1

page 14 Qi Magazine Jul/Aug/Sep 2004

Fig 2


1. Rub Zhongwan: Put the cushions of the three middle

fingers of the right hand on the pit of the stomach and press
the three middle fingers of the left hand on them. Exert force
with both hands and press-rub gently around the Zhongwan
point (the midpoint on the anterior midline of the upper
abdomen between the joint of the ribs and the navel clockwise
36 times. (Fig. 1)
2. Rub the navel: Massage gently the parts around the
navel 18 circles clockwise, with the cushions of the three middle
fingers of the right hand and the left hand fingers on the top
of the right, starting from the left side of the navel. Then
change to the left hand, start from the right side of the navel
and rub gently around the navel counter-clockwise 18 times.
3. Rub the Qihai and Guanyuan acupoints (Fig. 1): Turnrub around with the cushions of the three middle fingers of
the right hand and the left hand fingers on top of the right
hand, starting from the Qihai acupoint downward to the lowerleft, past the Guanyuan acupoint, upward to the upper-right
and back to Qihai. Massage this way 18 times. Then change
to the left hand and turn-rub gently in the opposite direction
18 times.
4. Push the Ren channel (Fig.2) Push gently with the
cushions of the three middle fingers of one hand (the three
middle fingers of the other hand on top of them) from the pit
of the stomach, along the midline of the abdomen down to
the joint of the pubic bones. Move the three middle fingers of
the hands separately outward, and pushrub along the fossa
iliaca upward along the line under the nipples to the rib-bows,
then toward the pit of the stomach with the three middle fingers

of one hand on top of the other three middle fingers. This

counts as one circle. Repeat this 36 times. Women do this
exercise by using the turn-rubbing method.
5. Rub the entire abdomen (Fig. 3) : keep the left hand
akimbo with the thumb in front (left hand in position when
lying), push and rub gently from the lower right of the lower
abdomen (the right fossa iliaca) with the right palm, past the
right hypochondrium (above the breast line), the left

hypochondrium to the left side of the lower abdomen of the

left fossa iliaca, and finally back to the lower right of the lower
abdomen. This counts as a circle. Do this 18 times. And then
change to the left palm and go along the same route in the
opposite direction 18 times.
6. Point-press and rock: use these techniques to assist
the above-described techniques to achieve an even better result.

Use two or three middle fingers of one hand to press
the Zhongwan, Guanyuan and Qihai acupoints. Push the fingers
downward and lift them up slowly. This is one repetition. Press
each acupoint 5-7 times.

Use the base of the palm to push and press the loins.
Before pressing, put the hands on the loins, fingertips ahead
and the thumbs tightly against the lower edge of the rib-bows.
When push-pressing inward and forward energetically with the
palm bases, the abdomen bulges, and when loosening the
palm bases, the abdomen withdraws to its original position.
This is one repetition. Do this 9 times in a row. (Fig.4)

Fig 3

Place the hands to the knees and sit with the legs
crossed, rock the upper body clockwise 9 times and then counter
clockwise 9 times, with the rocking range increased gradually.

Number of times:
Press-rub the abdomen two or three times a day, in
the morning and in the evening. The number of times for
each movement depends on your own physical condition. When
disease occurs, greatly increase the number of times. If you
have abdominal pain, you can increase it to several dozen or
even several hundred times until the signs of the illness are
eased or gone. In short, you should feel soothed, relaxed and
free from fatigue after rubbing and pressing.

Points for attention:

Fig 4

Fig 5

a. Concentrate the mind, focus the attention and

breathe naturally.
b. The movements should be gentle, slow and
continuous. Do not exert too much force in order to avoid
injuring the internal organs.
c. Sometimes, during or after rubbing the abdomen,
you may have intestinal gas, break wind, feel warm in the
intestines or feel hungry or want to urinate or have a bowel
movement. These are normal reactions, because the peristalsis
of the stomach and intestines changes the physical functions.
Do not worry about it.
d. Contra-indications: Women should not rub their
abdomen when they are pregnant. Patients suffering from
malignant tumours, gastric and intestinal perforation, internal
organ bleeding or peritonitis must not rub their abdomen. Also,
do not rub the affected part of the abdominal wall if there is
an acute infection. Women can rub their abdomen during the
menstrual period, but they should be sure not to catch a cold.
It is not good to rub the abdomen when you are too hungry or
too full. If you want to urinate or have a bowel movement,
please do so before rubbing
by Zeng Qingnan & Liu Daoqing
Qi Magazine Jul/Aug/Sep 2004 page 15