Dai-Hara Kizendo uses Liu Zi Jue (六字訣) or Six Healing Sounds as one of its commonly practiced Qi Gong Exercises, in the MMQG (Meditation, Mindfulness, and Qi Gong) syllabus.
This exercise requires attention and should be learned by following the instructions of a teacher. You will find in this article a general explanation of its benefits and practice.
Liu Zi Jue is one of the traditional Qi Gong exercises, as recognized by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.
It is an exercise that regulates and enables the practitioner to control the levels of Qi inside the body through specific inhalation and exhalation process and using sounds to be pronounced with peculiar mouth forms. The exercise is a way to improve health, reduce stress, and promote self-healing.
The term Liu Zi Jue first appears in the Chinese text Yangsheng Yanming Lu (養生延命錄, or Extracts on Nourishing Spiritual Nature and Prolonging Bodily Life) , written by Tao Hongjing (陶弘景) , a famous writer, calligrapher, alchemist, astronomer and pharmacologist, who lived during the period of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589).
For what we know, at that time the Liu Zi Jue consisted just of the sounds. Only later, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the associated body movements where added to the exercise.
The six healing sounds are :
- XU 噓 – ‘hiss’ – regulates the Liver Qi
- HE 呵 – ‘yawn’ or ‘laughing sound’ – regulates the Heart Qi
- HU 呼 – ‘to sigh,’ ‘to exhale,’ or ‘to call’ – regulates the Spleen/Pancreas Qi
- SI 呬 – ‘to rest’ – regulates the Lungs Qi
- CHUI 吹 – ‘to blow out,’ ‘to blast,’ or ‘to puff’ – regulates the Kidneys Qi
- XI 嘻 – ‘mirthful’ – regulates the San Jiao 三焦 (Triple Burner) Qi
San Jiao refers not to a real, specific physical organ but represents the energetic channels that run through the upper, middle and lower parts of the body.
In TCM, one of its main functions is to regulate Qi and the body fluids that surround the internal organs.
The Six healing Sound exercise, to be effective, must be performed paying attention to a series of factors.
The most important ones are the following:
Liu Zi Jue uses six sounds, that must be pronounced with six special mouth forms and methods of pronunciation.
Combining breathing and movements
You can combine the sounds with specific physical movement to enhance the positive effect of the resonating words.
calm and floW
During the practice each movement should be performed calmly and keeping an uninterrupted flow. The breath should be deep and regular, so to promote relaxation and concentration.
Practitioners of these exercises report not only that they have experienced a general improvement in their health and general quality of life but also they had measurable clinical improvements in treating hypertension, hyperlipidemia and high blood sugar.
How the Liu Zi Jue Work
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are five major organs — Heart (心), Liver (肝), Spleen (脾), Lungs (肺) and Kidney (肾).
These five organs did not represent exactly the anatomical organs. Rather, they describe the functions that the organ carries on. Also, each organ can have a Yin and Yang function, and each Yin organ is paired with a correspondent Yang one.
These functions are called Zàng Fǔ (脏腑). Zang indicates the Yin organs, Fu the Yang ones.
The Yin organs are: Heart (心), Liver (肝), Spleen (脾), Lungs (肺) and Kidney (肾), the Yang ones: Small Intestine (小肠), Large Intestine (大肠), Gall Bladder (胆), Bladder (膀胱), Stomach (胃), and Sān Jiaō.
Each of the five organs is associated to an element: fire, earth, metal, water or wood.
It is thought that each organ resonates to a specific sound, and that using that sound one can remove congested, blocked Qi from the organ and fill the organ itself with fresh, clear Qi.
Blocked Qi pain, discomfort or illness. Each organ has specific symptoms to show a congested Qi. An expert TCM practitioner can help you find which organ is affected.
The Six Healing Sounds resonate in the organ and expels the congested Qi through breathing, bringing in fresh one.
How to practice Liu Zi Jue
There are several ways to use the Liu Zi Jue, but you can use it or in its complete form or just in those parts that can help improving your current health.
For general health maintenance, you should practice the six healing sounds in the following order:
Xū (Wood) → Hē (Fire) → Hū (Earth) → Sī (Metal) → Chuī (Water) → Xī (Wood). This order is based on the mutual generation (相生 – xiang sheng) sequence of the five elements (五行相生).
To promote healing, you can alter the order of the sounds in the sequence and use this one instead:
Hē (Fire) → Sī (Metal) → Xū (Wood) → Hū (Earth) → Chuī (Water) → Xī (Wood). This order is based on the mutual overcoming (相克 – xiang kè) of the five elements (五行相剋).
The five elements are, of course: Wood (木 – mù), Fire (火 – huǒ), Earth (土 – tǔ), Metal (金 – jīn), and Water (水 – shuǐ).
As told before, you can choose to practice just the sound that is associated with the current season or the current condition you want to address. Remember that Xī 嘻 , can be practiced all year round to support the San Jiao.
The sounds are associated to the five elements, the five organs plus the San Jiao, and to the four seasons as follows:
- XU 噓 – Liver – Wood – Spring
- HE 呵 – Heart – Fire – Summer
- HU 呼 – Spleen/Pancreas – Earth – All Seasons
- SI 呬 – Lungs – Metal – Autumn
- CHUI 吹 – Kidneys – Water – Winter
- XI 嘻 – San Jiao – Wood – All Seasons
When you practice this exercise, remember to pay attention to always breathe in through your nose and breathe out from your mouth.
Repeat each sound six times, and practice the sequence or the part you chose three times a day.
Before starting the Liu Zi Jue, you can warm you up using your normal Qi Gong sequence.
Keep your back straight, chin parallel to the ground, eyes open but not looking at anything. Breathe into the lower dantian and center yourself.
Free your mind and leave all the thoughts pass through it without being attached to them.
Perform the sounds as it has been taught by your teacher.
End the sequence by rubbing the palms in circles around the lower abdomen.
Men will put their right hand over the left one, while women will put their left hand over the right one.
Do 36 rotations clockwise, then 36 counter-clock wise.