Don’t just dry off—try a little “towel chi gung” to give your body a stimulating start to the day.
Step 1: As you dry off, start with a hearty towel rub to the head to draw oxygen to the brain. While rubbing your head in a circular motion with your hands or towel, sense the movement originating in and around your ribs and shoulder blades.
Step 2: Gently rub the towel in circles around your eye sockets with your first knuckle or the palm of your hand, while still feeling the movement originate near your ribs. Try to feel as though your liver—located just below the diaphragm on the right side of your body—is moving with your arms and helping to generate the eye circles. In Chinese medicine, the eyes represent the opening of the liver meridian and are thus considered to be more closely linked to the liver than to any of the other organ networks. Therefore, rubbing your eyes should relax and bring blood to them while helping your liver get ready for a new day of filtering toxins from your body. In our increasingly chemical-laden world, the liver can use all the support it can get.
Step 3: With your towel or fingers, gently pull the skin away from the base of your nose and out toward your ears. Then give yourself an overall face rub and pay attention to the light, tingly sensation on your skin afterward.
Step 4: Massage around your ears, giving a soft tug here and there. If you’re feeling frisky, work on sensing movement in your kidneys. Why, you ask? In Chinese medicine, the kidneys and ears share an energetic connection in much the way the eyes and liver are related.
Step 5:Give your thyroid, at the base of your throat, a little caress. This hard-working gland is responsible for metabolism and providing energy for activities.
Step 6: Next stop is your thymus gland, which lies under your sternum between the thyroid and heart. Tap and/or rub the center of your chest to stimulate this key part of the immune system.
Step 7: Now on to the armpits—or just below them. A knuckle rub in the right place may give a sharp jolt or an achy feeling. This is some of the overworked lymph fluid contained within the tissues of the body that carries white blood cells. Light lymphatic massage helps keep the lymph moving, dispersing that stuck feeling.
Step 8: From here, a brisk towel rub of your entire back works well, though the kidneys are where you’re headed. They’re near your lowest rib in the lower half of your back. Your kidneys also have a big day ahead of them, so a nice, stretchy warm-up with the towel will wake them up.
Step 9: To finish things off, give more general and vigorous rubbing around the hips, the knees, up and down the legs, and the soles of the feet. This should leave you tingly and refreshed all over and help bring fullness to your common daily acts.
Reprinted with permission from Ripples, a seasonal sustainability journal dedicated to finding the bits of bliss in addressing pressing social and ecological issues. To receive a copy, send $4 to Daily Acts, P.O. Box 826, Monte Rio, CA 95426.