Simple techniques to promote self-healing

[Method of Self-Healing 自愈法

Simple Techniques to Promote Self-healing

by Lilian Kluivers

The most beautiful thing about working with Chinese medicine, is to enable people heal themselves. There are so many things we can learn our clients regarding their health. And, as in everything, a holistic approach works best; involving nutrition, lifestyle, and exercises. This asks for some discipline of clients, because they need to work on themselves on a regular basis to feel the change. On the other hand, they will be able to hold on to the renewed energy balance obtained during the therapy. The feeling, and awareness, of being able to influence your own well being, can be relieving and empowering. Truly a beautiful present.

FlowFace of woman with flower

I prefer to start by teaching exercises. They are relatively easy to implement in a daily routine. Besides, they promote the energy flow and work on several levels of our being; physically, emotionally and spiritually. They change awareness, which makes it easier to make new choices on for example nutrition as well.


I love to share meridian stretches, such as described in the last edition of Yang Sheng. However, stretches combined with additional movements such as joint-opening exercises are even more stimulating. They help the Liver-energy in spreading the Chi over our body. Exercises working with the joints are used a lot in Do-In, which literally means ‘guiding the energy through our meridians by stretching and moving our limbs’. I love to end a series of exercises by settling down the energy and collect it in the lower energy center, Dantian, below the navel center.Lilian Kluivers


  • Start sitting, hands in front of your heart. Inhale, stretch the arms up, exhale circle them down, 3 times;
  • Wiggle your toes 10 times;
  • Rotate your ankles 10 times in both directions;
  • Stand up, feet together, knees together, hands on your knees. Start rotate the knees 10 times in both directions;
  • Feet double hip width apart, hands on your hips. Circle your hips 10 times in both directions. End by placing the feet hip distance apart;
  • Now the hands: spread your fingers and make fists; 10 times;
  • Rotate the wrists 10 times in both directions;
  • Bend the elbows and lenghten the arms 10 times;
  • Rotate the arms 10 times back and forth;
  • From the lower belly, start twisting the upper body to the left and right. Arms swing relaxed, hands tap the kidney area, 10 times;
  • Nod the head: 10 times no, 10 times yes.

Meridian massage

The exercises described above are a really nice preparation for stretches, or could be a series on its own when you have not so much time for exercises.

If you do have time, however, add a massage of the meridians after the joint opening exercises. Also this series is perfect on its own.foot massage

  • Start massaging on the inside of the arm from the shoulder towards the thumb, using the thumb of the other hand. Give counter pressure with the fingers on the outside of the arm. This is the Lung meridian;
  • Again on the inside, massage towards the middle finger. This is the Heart protector meridian;
  • Again on the inside, massage towards the little finger, this is the Heart meridian;
  • Now on the outside, massage from the shoulder towards the index finger, continue using the thumb. This is the Large Intestine meridian;
  • Repeat, but now massage towards the ring finger. this is the Tripple Heater;
  • Repeat, but now towards the little finger. This is the Small intestine;
  • Repeat on the other arm;
  • Rub the face with both hands;
  • Stroke down the throat;
  • Tap on the shoulders;
  • Tap on the thorax and abdomen;
  • Tap on your sides;
  • Tap on the lower back;
  • Take a seat and work on the legs the same way we did on the arms: From the groin down the leg towards the big toe moving along the front of the leg and a little bit to the inside, following the spleen meridian;
  • Using the thumbs, working down the leg on the inside. If you’d wear a jeans this would basically be where the stitches are. Here runs the Liver meridian;
  • Again on the inside of the leg, but now a bit more towards the back, massage down towards the achilles tendon and the sole of the foot: the Kidney meridian;
  • Starting from the groin, work down the front of the leg, just outside of the knee and the shin towards the second toe. This is the Stomach meridian;
  • Starting from the hip, work down on the outer side of the leg towards the fourth toe. This is the Gallbladder meridian;
  • Start from the sit bones, work down the back of the leg towards the little toe, alongside the Bladder meridian;
  • Repeat on the other leg.

Here you have it, super easy exercises that can be done daily to promote self healing for you and your clients.


lilian_kluivers-zw-klein_thumbLilian Kluivers is a shiatsu therapist and Do-In teacher and teacher trainer. She runs Do-In Academy, an international education that aims to help people use the wisdom of eastern medicine in everyday life. Lilian is an author of two books about Do-In published in The Netherlands and Belgium, an English translation of her book about Do-In will be finished mid-2015.
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