“Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.”
Energy. Every informal family caregiver needs more of it because too often we are running on empty. Energy according to the dictionary is defined as “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical and mental activity”. Sustained physical and mental activity defines what day-to-day caregiving requires. Body tapping is a simple technique that relieves stress, soothes muscles and gets your blood flowing.
Body tapping is my favorite self-care “snack” for energy renewal and improved circulation. Body tapping is an aspect of the ancient Chinese practice of Qigong (pronounced chee-gung). The literal translation for Qigong is “energy work”. Qigong is comprised of thousands of meditative movement practices to improve energy flow in the body. Body tapping is just one technique to increase circulation and release trapped energy by tapping energy meridians or acupressure points in the body. It is “exercise” but you will not have to do crunches, run in pace, planks. You will, however, feel more energetic because body tapping is focused on improving circulation and releasing energy blockages.
In my previous two posts, here and here, I discussed how the “snack” strategy which means very short segments of at most ten minutes at a time, can help a caregiver carve out time for exercise, meditation and in this instance, body tapping. The “snack” method makes it possible for essential self-care to become a daily habit,
The Pema Chödrön quote above underscores that compassion for others, fundamentally what we do when caring for a sick or disabled loved one, must begin with kindness to ourselves. We all know that the demands of caregiving can leave you feeling frazzled, isolated and like no one is seeing you. When you do a simple 10-minute body tapping session, you are in fact “seeing” yourself by being in contact with your own body. Body tapping unites the internal and external body because the simple technique – either with the cupped palm of your hand or a closed fist - awakens your skin (your largest organ) while at the same time stimulating your internal organs. Unlike western exercise with its emphasis on muscles and toning or the outside in, eastern forms of exercise focus on the inside out.
Here are three of my favorite YouTube introductions on the how and why of the benefits of body tapping. They are each only ten minutes long. Try them and you will see that body tapping is both energizing and relaxing, invigorating and meditative – creating, in my opinion, the perfect energy boosting “snack” that anyone can do. No equipment needed - except your hands!
Bo Yoga/Balance for Life - Body Tapping for Energy: Nate takes you through a very thorough but simple introduction to body tapping. Here is my go-to morning practice.
Qigong with Kseny: Kseny Gray is a very engaging qigong teacher. She has many available videos on the practice of qigong but this particular link is a ten-minute video which focuses on body tapping. Body tapping is so simple there is not even any audio instruction in this clip - just follow along. I also like the fact that most of Kseny's videos are filmed outdoors which is a tenet of qigong - to practice in nature.
Brain Education TV: 10 Minute Routine for Total Circulation - This is another favorite introduction on how to body tap and what it does to energize your body.