The 18 Luohan Hands – name of movements and the benefits of each one.
1. Lifting the Sky
Useful for: postural problems, back pain, neck pain, hemorrhoids, incontinence, stress relief.
This pattern is the best single Qigong pattern in the world. Its forte is that it promotes a holistic Qi flow throughout the body. The exercise works on the Triple Warmer Meridian (San Jiao Mai) and thus harmonizes the upper, middle, and lower dantians.
2. Shooting Arrows
Useful for: skin problems, respiratory issues, excessive or inadequate grieving, high blood pressure (hypertension), depression, self confidence issues, memory issues.
This exercise uses the One Finger Zen hand form, which is a special Shaolin technique that must be learned from a master. Practicing Shooting Arrows is an excellent way to massage the Lung and Heart Meridians.
3. Plucking Stars
Useful for: indigestion, acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation, diabetes, liver and gallbladder problems, Crohn’s disease, and diverticulosis, tennis elbow, Endometriosis, yeast infections, dysmenorrhea, vaginitis, and ovarian cysts.
This exercise nourishes the Spleen and Stomach Meridians, which relate to the Western concept of the digestive system. According to Chinese medical theory, good digestion is a prime ingredient for good health and vitality. This exercise can help with virtually any digestive or gastrointestinal problem. It also opens up the 8 Extraordinary Meridians along the sides of the body, which are important energy reservoirs.
4. Turning Head
Useful for: tension in their neck and shoulders, headaches, migraines, neuralgia, thyroid issues, Parkinson’s disease, stroke recovery, preventing colds and flus.
This exercise isn’t just for loosening your neck. Energetically, Turning Head is used to powerfully cleanse the Chinese concept of the Sea of Marrow, which loosely translates to the head, spine, and nervous system. The exercise brings energy to the entire spine, the brain, as well as the throat, ears, and eyes.
Useful for: anxiety, acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation, diabetes, liver and gallbladder problems, Crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, back pain, tinnitus, rheumatism, indigestion.
This exercise stimulates Water energy at the vital point known as the “gate of life” (mingmen) thereby giving an energy boost that is far superior to coffee. This exercise is a great pick-me-up. It is also nourishing for the Stomach, Liver, Spleen, and Kidney Meridians.
6. Punching with Eyes Wide
Useful for: excess or insufficient anger, hemorrhoids, myopia and other eye problems, liver disease, stress relief, lack of self confidence.
This pattern helps to develop powerful punches for martial artists. But the power comes from the Qi, not from the muscles. If the muscles are tensed, then the Qi has trouble flowing to the end of the punch. Besides developing internal force for martial arts, this exercise massages and strengthens the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians. In order to obtain the benefits listed above, it’s critical to make the appropriate sounds and use correct breathing, both of which should be learned face-to-face from a master.
7. Carrying the Moon
Useful for: back pain, neck pain, emotional cleansing, herniated discs, bulging discs, neuralgia, sciatica, Parkinson’s disease, stroke recovery, scoliosis, youthfulness.
Students love this exercise because it makes them look and feel young. It cleanses away negative energy in the body, especially the nervous system, by stimulating an internal shower of energy. According to a Chinese proverb, you need not worry about getting old as long as your spine stays healthy and erect. This exercise is a great way to do that.
8. Nourishing Kidneys
Useful for: sexual dysfunction, memory problems, sciatica, low back pain, incontinence, phobias, fertility, impotence, low libido, self discipline.
A Western doctor will tell you that your kidneys have nothing to do with sex. A Chinese physician will tell you that your kidneys have everything to do with sex. This exercise, as the name implies, powerfully nourishes the Kidney Meridian.
9. Three Levels to Ground
Useful for: knee pain, palpitations, cardiovascular health, hypertension, flexibility, strength, weight loss.
On a physical level, Three Levels to Ground will make your legs strong and flexible. As a Qigong exercise, it can strengthen your Heart system, generate better energy flow, and increase your vitality. It’s also useful for opening the Small Universe Circulation. (Note: if you have serious heart problems, then don’t try this on your own. You must learn it face-to-face from a master.)
10. Dancing Crane
Useful for: knee pain, kidney stones, strength, flexibility, longevity, weight loss.
This exercise helps to channel energy down the legs. Because everything is interconnected via our energy matrix, channeling energy to the legs sometimes helps to solve problems in other parts of the body. Of course, this exercises also helps build strength and flexibility.
11. Carrying Mountains
Useful for: back pain, neurological disorders, bulging discs, herniated discs.
This exercise opens up the spine energetically (but in a different way than Carrying the Moon). It also channels energy down the arms, which is useful for martial artists.
12. Drawing Sword
Useful for: neck and shoulder problems, headaches, migraines, tennis elbow.
The The Eight Wondrous Meridians (Qi Jing Ba Mai) are often mentioned in Qigong texts, but seldom understood. Drawing Sword is an effective way to generate energy flow to these eight meridians.
13. Pushing Mountains
Useful for: arthritis, tendonitis, impotence, low back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, grief, memory problems.
This is one of the best exercises for channeling Qi to the hands. Because of this, it’s part of the method for an advanced Kung Fu art called Cosmos Palm.
14. Separating Water
Useful for: depression, anxiety, COPD, lung disorders, excessive or insufficient grieving, fibrocystic breast disease, general breast health, self confidence issues.
This is an excellent exercise to open and nourish the Heart and the Lung systems. It is especially useful to cure clinical Depression. Interestingly, it will also give you powerful arms for martial arts.
15. Green Dragon Presents Claws
Useful for: kidney stones, diabetes, anxiety, arthritis,
This exercise channels energy to the Spleen, Pancreas, and Kidney Meridians, as well as all ten fingers (and the Meridians associated with them). It is also used to develop the Art of the Dragon Claw in Shaolin Kung Fu, which is a compassionate way to disable an opponent without doing serious damage.
16. Big Windmill
Useful for: diabetes, arthritis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, shoulder pain.
Do you want to break a brick with your palm? This exercise, when done correctly, will give you the internal power to do that, without any other conditioning. Those problems related to the Liver and Spleen Meridians will also find this exercise useful.
17. Lifting Heels
Useful for: arthritis, knee pain, edema, varicose veins, sacroiliac pain, long leg disorder.This is another excellent exercise for the lower body. It opens up the meridians in the legs so that negative energy from other parts of the body can be efficiently drained out into the ground. It’s also useful for opening the Small Universe Circulation.
18. Rotating Knees
Useful for: knee pain, sexual dysfunction, edema, varicose veins, incontinence, impotence.
You may be surprised, but Rotating Knees can help to overcome sexual problems, and it can enhance sexual performance and enjoyment. Like Lifting Heels, it also helps to drain negative energy down the legs. Since this energy often gets stuck in the knees, this exercise is extremely useful.