The Health Benefits of Abdominal Reversing Breathing of Tai Chi on the Five Internal Organs


Abdominal reverse breathing is a fundamental Tai Chi practice. Contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles during breathing changes the abdominal pressure constantly. Tai Chi practice creates an abundant reservoir of air for breathing. For example, when the abdominal pressure rises, the veins in the abdominal cavity are under pressure, and transports blood into the right atrium. On the other hand, when the abdominal pressure decreases, blood flows into the abdominal cavity, and because of the constant exchange, the respiratory movement increases the function of the heart by nurturing the vessels and promotes oxygen circulation by increasing blood circulation, and therefore enhances the circulation and respiration functioins. The result of reverse abdominal breathing improves the nurturing process of the heart, and helps maintain the health of the cardiovascular system.

A person who practices Tai Chi often has a resting heart beat rate of about 60 times per minute as opposed to the normal rate of about 100 beats per minute. This kind of decrease in heart rate results from long term persistent Tai Chi exercises. The lower BPM results in a delay of the diastolic phase of the heart, and make the myocardium fully rested. Additionally the lower BPM promotes myocardial contractility, increases the blood output, and improves the working abilities of the heart.

I can give an example; tortoise from the ancient times. People have always used the tortoise as an example and symbol of longevity, Some Qigong also refers breathing as the tortoise breathing method. What is the tortoise breathing method? It is similar to the abdominal breathing from Chen Style Tai Chi. There are two features for tortoise’s longevity: few breaths, with a long period of diastole or rest. This means that though a person himself has a lot of energy, with proper breathing the person uses very little energy, how could he not live long! Another example is, a person saves a lot of money in the bank, but he usually spends very little, then would it not be true that his money can be used for a long time. This tells everyone a principle: people should save health daily. Don’t wait till one is sick and then goes to the hospital, but must prevent it before one is sick.

Expand lung capacity and enjoy increase lung functions.

The main physiological function of the lung is breathing or oxygen exchange. The lungs are a place where air is exchanged: the fresh air people breathe in accumulates in the chest and is fundamental in the generation of the qi, fulfills the heart to move the blood through the entire body.

The abdominal reversing breathing of Tai Chi, especially sinking your breath to the lower belly, when you sink your breath to the lower belly, your chest cavity expands downward. Originally, the size of your chest cavity is limited by the limited expansion of the spine and ribs. The result of the downward movement of the diaphragm, enables the space of the chest cavity to expand downward. if the breathing capacity of the lungs increases accordingly, the lungs capacity increases and the amount of air that the body receives increases as well. Everyone knows, the increase of air is like the engine of a car, it increases from four cylinders to six cylinders or increased to eight cylinders, the more cylinders, the greater power.

Due to the increase in lung capacity, the air exchange in the body is sound, metabolism is enhanced, the blood circulation is enhanced. This has a direct and very good influence on the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system. This is Tai Chi’s inner method, also known as the inner practice. Internal practice is actually the cardiopulmonary function in the body; practicing often can keep the normalcy of the heart and lungs, which is the major condition for preventing aging, avoiding sickness, and prolonging life.

The increase in heart and lung functions, can have a cosmetic effect. If a person’s lung functions are not well, then he might have Qi deficiency, lung deficiency, or lung fever, demonstrated as soft spoken, hard in hearing, pale and yellow complexion, tiredness, even cough and asthma, and intestinal disorders as well as dry stool, are a result of loss of health and unhealthy lungs.

Practicing Tai Chi often to improve heart and lung functions that can also have weight loss and cosmetic effects. We all know that people who practice Tai Chi often, their faces are especially ruddy compared to others, and their skin is smooth and moisturized, their eyes are lit up, these are the cosmetic effects that one wants to achieve with practicing Tai Chi. But is not true that everyone who practices Tai Chi can achieve this effect, the reason is that only for the ones who practice with correct breathing, and incorporate that closely with their practice can achieve this effect. Correct breathing, ample lung capacity, can transport the oxidized blood in the body from the artery to the each of the capillaries under the skin. The skin is moisturized and will excrete residual waste from the body through normal exercise, and at the same time, stimulates the active secretion of hormones As exercise makes one sweat, especially on the face this will discharge body waste ,this is the best pore scavenger, and the best method for cosmetics. As exercise burns excess fat in the body, it tightens the muscles, makes the body more elastic and loses excess weight, isn’t this the best way for weight loss? The quality of the heart and lungs can directly affect the function of the entire organs. If the lung function is poor, the first to be affected is the respiratory system: cough, asthma, chest pain, or weakening cough. On the other hand, cough, asthma hurt the lungs, and reduce lung functions, causing direct harm to the respiratory system. Every time you practice Tai Chi is to achieve inner practice, and the inner practice balances yin and yang, adjusts the stomach and enhances breathing. This is the root of longevity. Therefore, practicing Tai Chi is very suitable for preventing various chronic lung diseases.

The lung functions can affect the stomach. People’s various pressures in life can cause qi stagnation or tight chest. The air cannot flow downward and therefore is stuck in the stomach, and everyday there’s a feeling of fullness in the chest. This will affect the appetite. If one has no appetite, then he will be hungry and full irregularly. If the stomach is upset and the expression is languid and the complexion is yellow, this affects the stomach. When the stomach is digesting, if there is such condition described above, and there’s no food in the stomach, this causes the stomach to begin digesting the stomach, this consumes stomach membrane, and the stomach becomes sore, then painful, and even gastric perforation in severe cases. Therefore, through practicing Tai Chi, one does inner practice, it strengthens the lung functions, and protects the stomach functions, and has the effect of prevention and treatment for various stomach diseases.

If the heart and lungs are not good, the breath can’t be placed in the kidney, and the air cannot sink into your lower belly, and affects the kidney. Because the kidney does not dominate air, this also affects the passage of water. Chinese medicine says that “the lung is the source of water.” Once the waterway is affected, in lighter cases there would be short urine, constipation; in severe cases, there would be chest disease, and even edema. Therefore, practicing Tai Chi can also play a very good role in preventing and treating these diseases.

If the heart and lungs are not good, it will directly affect the spleen because the spleen and the stomach are close to each other, the spleen is at the center, and dominates muscles and physical functionalities, transports water and moisture, and is the originality of air and blood. If the lung functions are not good, and air gets stuck in the chest, then the spleen would lose its transportation and cleaning functions, causing water to accumulate and the transportation of water and fluids is reduced. This causes digestive dysfunction and blood cannot be held in the spleen and residuals can’t be removed from the intestines which causes diseases such as abdominal distension, abdominal pain, constipation, edema, and internal bleeding. This would cause the face to lose its glory, be sallow and sullen, and lessen the interest in speaking.

If the heart and lungs are not good, and the air cannot travel downward and gets stuck in the chest. This lack of air movement can affect the large intestine, which as a main line for water transportation. Intestinal disorders need to first look for reasons in the lungs. Air doesn’t flow in the belly, constipation, are results of the loss of balance of qi, and internal sickness. In all, if the heart and lungs are not good, it can affect the liver, because the liver dominates the bones and discharge. If air is stuck in the chest, then one can be easily irritated, and pick fights and arguments from nothing, and become emotionally unstable.

The gallbladder is where gall is stored and discharged, to help the stomach and spleen digest food. The gallbladder also is said to “dominate decisions.” Sometimes people say “someone is very brave, and decisive” so the gall bladder health is also related to one’s emotions. According to the above analysis, practicing Tai Chi is to practice internal strength this is also to practice heart and lung function. The health of the cardiopulmonary function can directly affect and help other organs. So if you want to be healthy, please practice Tai Chi often. Then again, to be able to play the structure of Tai Chi, does not equal to understanding Tai Chi; does not equal to knowing how to do inner practice. Only by mastering the correct breathing, coordinating breathing and your practice closely, and being able to breathe into your lower belly are you practicing the real Tai Chi, and practicing the real inner practice. Only with long-term correct practice of internal strength can aid with the passage of the qi and blood, and improve the function of the internal organs; from the organs to the body tissues, from joint and ligament to tendon, sheath, and muscle, all got the complete activity and exercise, only this can make people muscular, have strong bones, ruddy complexion, and be full of energy. This is the key to fitness and beauty, and the foundation for longevity.

Wrote by Jincai Cheng, Translate by Mark Cheng. edit Mike Cunningham