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Exercises from the Book
Reference material from The Genius of Flexibility by Bob Cooley
- Meridian Muscle Group (MMG) Information
- Organ / Meridian Muscle Group
- Heart (HE)
- General Bodily Area
- Chest & Calves
- Associated Tissue / Functioning
- Arterial Blood Flow
- Associated Bodily System
- Kinetic Movement Pattern
- Associated Physical Concerns
- Elbow, shoulder, swimmers shoulder, tennis elbow
- Associated Injuries
- Mid back, shoulder adductor strain, shoulder posture, swimmers shoulder, shoulder external rotation, shoulder dislocation, surfers elbow, carpal tunnel
- Physiological Concerns
- Forgetfulness, sleep disorders, excessive sweating, physical heaviness, circulation problems, heart problems
- Associated Illness and Disease
- Heart problems, insomnia
- Psychological Concerns
The following is a list of muscles associated with the Heart meridian. Note that specific muscles are concomitant with specific meridians while some muscles are associated with several meridians. It is especially important to note that this list was created from: the exact muscles that acupuncture needles puncture through to access individual meridian points; muscles that are along the meridian pathways; muscle group agonist and antagonists; stretching experiences; trigger point theory and practice; muscle synergists.
- Major Muscle Groups
- Pectoralis major, biceps brachii, brachialis, flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, pronator teres, pronator quadratus, abductor digiti minimi, flexor digiti minimi brevis, lumbricals
Meridian Muscle Group Relationships
These are the balancing, opposing, and completing meridian muscle groups for the Heart meridian muscle group (MMG).
Visualizing Your Muscle Groups
There are a large number of muscles in your body. Is there a way to think about them or visualize them in a way that makes them easy to understand? Of course. Here’s how.
Think of your body as eight cylindrical tubes, four stacked on top of each other, or sixteen half tubes. In your lower and upper body, there are tubes on the front, back, outside, inside and on the four angles in between. Each of those eight cylindrical tubes contain muscles in groups that go from your feet into your trunk and head, or from your arms into your face or trunk. Each of these major muscle group is concomitant with one meridian in TCM.
Balancing Muscle Group
Balancing muscles are located directly through the bone across from each other and have opposite directions of action. In Western anatomy, these same muscles are called agonist and antagonist of one another. Because the sixteen meridian muscle groups balance as eight pairs of muscle groups, they are called Balancing Meridian Muscle Groups. The balancing muscles are dependent on each other to make possible maximum shortening and lengthening movements, because as one side of the body shortens the other lengthens. But because both the strengthening and stretching of any muscle depends on the flexibility of its balancing muscle, the balancing muscle group is always the determining factor in developing the strength and flexibility of the muscle (assuming there is no unusual damage to the muscle group you are trying to strengthen or stretch).
The stretch length of the Heart MMG is limited by its balancing muscle group's ability to shorten (Small Intestine). Stretching the balancing muscle group increases its ability to both shorten and lengthen.
The target muscle group (Heart) will stretch more successfully after the balancing muscle group has been stretched. If you still are not making optimal flexibility gains in the Heart MMG, you will need to stretch and strengthen the superficial opposing muscle group (Thymus).
Opposing Muscle Group
The muscles that are perpendicular to one another are called opposing muscle groups (to be distinguished from balancing muscle groups that are located directly through the bone across from each other and have opposite directions of action). The action of opposing muscle groups is surprising. Their level of strength and flexibility govern the proper rotation of the muscle group that you are stretching. If your target muscle being stretched (Heart) does not increase in flexibility by stretching its balancing muscle group (Small Intestine), then you'll need to stretch the opposing muscle groups.
Stretch the superficial opposing MMG (Thymus) to troubleshoot the target muscle group (Heart). Stretch the true opposing MMG (Gall Bladder) to develop the high personality traits necessary for optimal Heart functioning and development.
Completing Muscle Group
Completing muscle groups are the 'top' for lower body muscle groups and the 'bottom' for upper body muscle groups. The Heart MMG traverses the anterior aspect of the arms and its completing MMG, Sexual, traverses the anterior aspect of the legs.
Energy Flow Trellis
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), energy flows from one meridian muscle pathway to the next in a very specific order. In TCM this order is called the 'energy cycle'. This order is determined by the depth of the muscles in the body and begins with the muscles associated with the gall bladder, with the next always being its balancing muscle group, in this case liver, and then on through all the rest. The cycle always includes two lower body, then two upper body meridian muscle groups (MMG), and then repeats two more of each. Ultimately all 16 have been completed.
In the energy trellis diagram, the horizontal pairs are balancing organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and they are also balancing muscle groups. The diagram also houses other secrets about the interrelationships of muscles, organs, and personalities. The MMGs directly above and below each other are completing meridian muscle groups, the same muscle groups above and below in your body. The MMGs diagonal from each other are superficial opposing meridian muscle groups. The superficial opposing muscle group's completing muscle group is the true opposing muscle group.
- Reference Material from The Genius of Flexibility
- • The Energy Flow Cycle — page 51
• The Interrelationships Among Meridians and Muscles — page 55
• Balancing Asymmetries: Keeping Yourself in Line — page 239
• Keep Both Sides Satisfied — page 242
• Troubleshooting Principles — page 252