† COLORADO SERENITY Ė NOVEMBER 2003† (Sit Up and Take Notice- Meridian Stretches)
Tracy Saraduke, RN, M.Ac. L.Ac.
3082 Evergreen Parkway, Suite 2
Evergreen, CO 80439
††††† Ever noticed how adolescents cannot sit up straight?† They are hunched, curved, practically sitting on their backs instead of their sits bones.† In spite of parental cries of ďsit up, donít slouch,Ē the children canít.† They donít have the back strength.† Although not as obvious, many adults have a similar problem.
††††† Iíve noticed poor posture more since I found my 8 year old could not sit up.† Then, I discovered an adjunct to Oriental Medicine that turned her around in less than a week: Meridian Stretches, developed by Shizuto Masunaga.† Stretching the meridians brings chi, circulation, and strength.
††††† Here are two of the stretches we follow for a few minutes each day.† 1) Kidney and Bladder Meridians.† Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front, keeping your heels together.† Your toes donít need to stay together.† Keep your knees straight, and the back of your legs touching the floor.† Bend your body forward while exhaling, reaching your arms toward your toes with your thumbs down, backs of your hands together.† Let your head hang down to your knees.† Do not stretch forcibly.† Stay there and inhale slowly, repeating this breathing 3 times.
††††† 2) Liver and Gallbladder Meridians.† Sit on the floor with legs extended out to either side.† Relax and spread your legs as far apart as you can.† Keep your knees straight so that the backs of your legs stay on the floor.† Your legs do not need to be spread apart any more than you are able to keep them fully extended with ease.
††††† Next, clasp your hands high over your head and turn your palms upward, fingers interlaced.† Straighten your elbows.† Start leaning over to one side, keeping your torso facing front as you bend down sideways, your elbow approaching your knee.† You must not bend so far as to cause pain.† Donít let the backs of your legs rise up off the floor.† Donít force the stretch.† Check to which side you can bend easier and begin on that side.† After bending down as far as you can during the exhalation, stay there and slowly inhale.† Repeat this breathing 3 times.
††††† For the other meridian stretches, see Masunaga's book or let me know.
††††† Iíve taught these stretches to numerous adolescents and adults, with amazing results.† But, none were more impressive than my daughter, effortlessly sitting up straight at the dinner table, without a reminder.