Liuzi Wuzang Daoyin Fa 六字五臟導引法
(Six Characters Five Internal Organs Qigong Healing Method)

“Liuzi Wuzang Daoyin Fa” or “Six Characters Five Internal Organs Qigong Healing Method” is a treatment method commonly used by Daoist medical practitioners for treating illnesses of the five internal organs. It utilizes deep breathing as a way of strengthening the body and treating illnesses. The method is based on combining the principle of the five elements, four seasons and the twelve months with the movements of standing and sitting. It has its foundation in the Daoist belief about the interconnectedness between nature and the five internal organs of the human body, as well as the theories about strengthening the five internal organs that Chinese medical and qigong practitioners subscribe to. It is particularly useful for the treatment of illnesses of the five internal organs. As well, it is easy to learn and master and highly effective.

Wuzang Daoyin Fa (Five Internal Organs Qigong Healing Method 五臟導引法) is a set of simple movements which work in coordination with the five weathers and four seasons to dispel the evil vapours and toxins in the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys. It is for the treatment of some of the illnesses in the five internal organs and is a training method based mainly on dynamic exercise (動功). It stresses the correspondence between the five weathers and four seasons – the first, second and third months (the three spring months) are for exercises for the liver which have the effect of driving out the evil toxins accumulated in the liver in order that one can stay healthy. The fourth and fifth months (the two summer months) are for exercises for the heart, which treat the illness in the heart and chest. The sixth month (the long summer month) and all of the four seasons are for exercises that can cast out the toxins in the spleen and improve the appetite. The seventh, eighth and ninth months (the three autumn months) are for exercising the lungs in order to disperse the toxins in the lungs and chest. The tenth, eleventh and twelfth months (the three winter months) are for exercising the kidneys so that the toxins accumulated in the kidneys and bladder will be driven out. (The months referred to are based on the lunar calendar.)

Consistent use of this healing method improves the appetite, enables the body to better absorb the nutrients in food, helps one to recover quickly from tiredness, to sleep more soundly at night, and it improves circulation and, in general, strengthens the body and mind.

Liuzi Jue (Six Characters Rhymed Formula 六字訣), also known as Zhongxi Fa (Deep Breathing Method踵息法) and Liuzi Yanshou Jue (Six Characters Longevity Rhymed Formula六字延壽訣), is a fitness method grounded in deep breathing. The breathing exercises correspond to the four seasons and the five elements and their relationship with the collateral channels that govern the internal organs; and, through the exercises, the imbalance between qi and blood, as well as yin and yang, is corrected. In this way, the aims of treatment of illnesses and extension of life are achieved. When practicing this healing method, when exhaling, uttering the character “xu” (噓) benefits the liver (which belongs to the element of wood), uttering the character “si” (呬) benefits the lungs (which belongs to the element of gold), uttering the character “he”(呵) benefits the heart (which belongs to the element of fire”, uttering the character “cui” (吹) benefits the kidneys (which belongs to the element of water), uttering the character “hu” (呼) benefits the spleen (which belongs to the element of earth, and uttering the character “xi“(嘻)benefits the triple energizers (三焦)。 The six characters correspond to the collateral channels that govern the internal organs – liver, heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys – and the triple energizers. The uttering of the appropriate character is conducive to the healing of any illness in the corresponding internal organ; it also helps to prevent illnesses in that particular organ.

The Daoist text from the Ming Dynasty, Zhengtong Daozang Dongshen Bu (正統道藏洞神部), explains the Six Characters Rhymed Formula in this way: “Si (呬) governs the lungs, the lungs are linked to the five internal organs; a stuffy nose results when the body is affected by pathogenic wind. At such times, uttering the character si (呬) when breathing brings relief. He (呵) governs the heart; the heart is linked to the tongue. When the heart is suffering from pathogenic heat and the tongue is dry, the uttering of the character he (呵) brings relief. Hu (呼) governs the spleen; the spleen is linked to the lips. When the spleen is suffering from fire-heat, the lips are dry. At such times, the uttering of the character hu (呼) brings relief. Xu (噓) governs the liver; the liver is linked to the eyes. Medical texts have stated that when liver fire is over-exuberant, the eyes are red. At such times, uttering xu (噓) brings relief. Xi (嘻) governs the triple energizers; uttering xi (嘻) when suffering from indisposition brings relief. Cui (吹) governs the kidneys; consistent practice uttering cui (吹) grows the kidney-water.” Huangting Neijing Wuzang Liufu Buxietu (黃庭內景五臟六腑補瀉圖) also mentions Wuzang Qigong Method (五臟導引法). This method is used in conjunction with the Six Characters Rhymed Formula. This is because the five internal organs and the five elements, the five sounds and six qi are in interconnected, so that when the two healing methods are used at the same time, they yield twice the result with half the effort.

From the medical perspective, the principles of Liuzi Wuzang Daoyin Fa (Six Characters Five Internal Organs Qigong Healing Method) are very close to the theories of traditional Chinese medicine. The correspondence of the five internal organs with the seasons and the uttering of the six characters focus the healing directly on the affected organ; this is also related to the theory behind the Five Elements Five weathers Healing Method. It is a practical traditional Daoist medical treatment with distinctive Daoist characteristics.

Xu (噓) in spring supports the lungs,

He (呵) in summer lowers the heart-fire,

Si (呬) in autumn benefits the lungs,

Cui (吹) in winter grows the kidney-water,

Xi (嘻) rids the triple energizers of heat,

Hu (呼) in all seasons enriches the spleen,

Beware the sounds reaching the ear,

This is more effective than any medicine.

Four Seasons Five Elements Six Characters Rhymed Formula (四季五行六字歌訣) states clearly that based on the interrelatedness between the four seasons, five elements and the collateral channels governing the internal organs, training should be related to the seasons, in order to correct the imbalance in the collateral channels of the internal organs. It emphasizes the importance of not vocalizing the sounds of the characters in order to attain the full benefits. In addition, there is another rhymed formula that states the relationship between the five internal organs and the six characters.

“He (呵) governs the heart, cui (吹) the kidneys; the spleen is ruled by hu (呼), the lungs by si (呬),

Heat in the liver treated with xu (噓), congestion of the triple energizers rid with xi (嘻).”

The Daoists also have the Six Qi Combating Disease Rhymed Formula (六氣袪疾歌訣) which was secretly passed down and which states,

The immortal plays the flute that makes no sound;

Excesses in the liver and dry eyes call for xu (噓) in spring,

Lower the heart-fire in summer with long he (呵),

To temper the lungs si (呬) is best,

Grow the kidney-water with cui (吹) in winter,

Calm the spleen with hu (呼),

Xi (嘻) clears the triple energizers better than medicine,

Five and one together work better than magic.

The Daoist Six Characters Combating Disease Rhymed Formula (六字袪疾歌) is also known as the Five and One Rhyme (五一歌). It is an effective treatment method commonly used by Daoist medical practitioners. The rhymed formulas are only different in the way they were written and passed down.

This healing method requires silent breathing in through the nostrils and exhaling through the mouth. According to the season and the needs of the particular internal organ, the patient uses one of the six characters, xu (噓), he (呵), si (呬), cui (吹), hu (呼), or xi (嘻). The five qi each corresponds to one internal organ, the remaining qi refers to the triple energizers; hence the reference to “five and one.”

Xi (嘻) corresponds to the lungs. The lungs govern the nose and the skin and the organ manages the flow of saliva, breathing, heat and cold. With illnesses of the lungs or the skin, silently uttering the character xi (嘻) will bring relief.

He (呵) corresponds to the heart. The heart governs the tongue, the lips and the teeth. The organ manages the reduction of heat for protection of the heart. With illnesses of the heart, uttering the character he (呵) will enable the body to expel the excess heat in the heart and bring relief.

Hu (呼) corresponds to the spleen. The spleen governs the middle energizer and is the seat of the postnatal. Where the middle energizer becomes congested, relaxing the facial muscles and breathing out the character hu (呼) will bring relief.

Cui (吹) corresponds to the kidneys. The kidneys govern the ears, the life gate, the vital essence, the eyes and the teeth. It is the seat of the prenatal. If it is balanced and calmed, it naturally brings itself benefits. When the kidneys are weak, or the ears are ringing, or the skin is sallow and lacks glow, or the body is tired, uttering cui (吹) will bring back strength.

Xu (噓) corresponds to the liver. The liver is where blood is housed; it governs the eyes and the blood. It should be purged of excess fire. When the liver is suffering from excess, or if the eyes are bloodshot and the blood is hot, uttering xu (噓) while contracting the abdomen will bring relief.

Si (呬) corresponds to the triple energizers which should stay calm and free of depression. When the triple energizers are ruffled, keeping still for a time and uttering si (呬) will bring benefits.

Daoist medical principles from the earliest times impart the importance of breathing in through the nostrils and breathing out through the mouth silently in a natural and unforced manner. The theory is that making a sound riles the organs, heats up the qi and harms the blood. In other words, it does harm to the body. The six characters each corresponds to an organ, but illnesses like heat, cold, exhaustion and imbalance in the five organs and the triple energizers all ultimately affect the heart. He corresponds to the heart; it follows, therefore, the use of he will bring relief to all kinds of illnesses without the need to resort to the six qi. For daily fitness, using the entire Six Qi Combating Disease Rhymed Formula is recommended, but it is important not to overdo it or it will harm the source qi (元氣). For treatment of a single illness, there is no need to use all six qi, and one should stop when the illness is treated. This healing method when combined with the swaying of the body has the benefit of clearing the heat, fostering the qi and neutralizing the effect of pathogenic forces.

The Five Internal Organs Qigong Healing Method when used together with the Six Characters Rhymed Formula and the set training movements, while also applying healing pressing to the pressure points will improve the body’s immunity, allow the internal organs to recuperate and restore the balance in the body. This will aid the recovery from illness or even bring about a cure. Through the process of carefully nurturing of the body, regulating the breathing, and calming the mind, the body will be in the state of “optimal essence,” “optimal qi” and “vigorous spirit,” and this, in turn, will delay aging and extend longevity.

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