Below you will find explanations of some of the terms used in this website. If you find these definitions interesting and want to know more please visit On this site, Dr Shen explains some of these terms in greater detail. I have edited these for simplicity.

Lower Dantien
The Ancient Chinese think that an area in the belly – called the dantien – is the center of the Yuanqi. (often translated as ‘energy’). They locate the dantien in between the navel and the pubic bone (specifically, the center of the abdominal triangle) in the straight abdominal muscles. Their philosophy on how to maintain good health is to save Yuanqi there.At the Institute, we understand the importance of this area but challenge the idea that one should store “Yuanqi”  there. We do know it is a very active physiological center key to health and longevity. A nerve branch is connected from this area to the adrenal glands influencing the entire energy system of the body.  It is linked to the lymphatic system, and also to the production of immunity substances. We do work extensively with the development of the dantien in the practice

As the heart is the pump for blood circulation, the dantien can be likened to the pump for the meridian system. When functioning well we feel younger, stronger and healthier.

Upper Dantien
The upper dantien is better known as the third eye. Though it is depicted in eastern art as a literal eye, it is actually an area approximately the width of four fingers behind the center of the forehead. We believe it has some function having to do with the limbic brain.  Sometimes this area is also referred to as the center of the mind.

It is difficult to define binqi as there is no equivalent concept in western models.  The best way to understand it is to think of binqi as pathogenic factors. It can be produced in a number of ways including as a result of  negative unresolved emotions, poor postural alignment, a deficient diet, stress etc. It can accumulate in the inter-vertebral spaces, organs, muscles, tissues, bones, joints and channels. Binqi is able to move in and out of the body. Any area of the body in which binqi has accumulated or to which binqi has moved, will experience uncomfortable sensations such as cold, heat, itching stiffness, pain, etc. As a result, that area will become weaker. There will be varied symptoms, and after a certain time different diseases will develop. The beginning stages of practice are almost exclusively aimed at eliminating binqi from the body.Expelling binqi: How binqi leaves the body naturally
The body has its own self-regulating mechanisms to expel binqi. A mentally and physically healthy person will eliminate binqi in a natural way. It is only when the natural flow and exits are obstructed that it will accumulate in the body. It can accumulate for a variety of reasons such as strong negative emotions, habituated pattern of movement, injury, illness, and stress.  Binqi can move out of the body through the channels.  The “exits” are in the hands and the feet. If the body fluids can flow freely to the hands and feet, then binqi can follow this movement to the exits.

Five Channels that give rise to three circulations
The Ancient Chinese believed that the body was supported and nourished by something called Qi. The Qi flowed through the meridian system much the same way as blood flows through veins and arteries.Some people are curious how the five channels relate to the twelve meridians of modern acupuncture. In addition to the twelve primary meridians, some acupuncturist are familiar with eight others making twenty in all.  Of these twenty channels, only two are a part of the five channel system; they are the front and the back channel listed below.

When we discuss the five channels we are referring to channels that are discussed more in the spiritual texts whereas the twelve channels of acupuncture are listed in the health texts. The reality if that the five channels system fuels the other twelve.

  1. The Central channel runs through the middle of the body. This channel is spoken about in most spiritual traditions
  2. The Back channel goes from the perineum along the spine and ends just below the nose. It is the same as the governing channel mentioned in acupuncture.
  3. The Front channel begins below the nose and goes down the front of the body meeting the back channel at the perineum. It is the same as the conception vessel in acupuncture.
  4. (4 and 5) Left and right channel, these two channels form a loop.  They begin at the lower dantien and travel to the left and right of the central channel and meet again at the upper dantien. These Channels are often mentioned in Tibetan Buddhist texts as the red and white channels. Sometimes they are discussed in internal martial arts texts as well.

For further information please see the book “Spontaneous movement for health and happiness” by Dr Shen Hongxun.

Small circulation
The the small circulation is the circulation that runs through the front and back channel. Further discussion on this is often found in Daoist texts. See 5 channels definition for more information.Optimal Dynamic Alignment
When speaking of alignment, there is a temptation to think that if all our bones and joints are lined up military style everything is in its’ proper order. I find it more accurate to speak of dynamic alignment because our bodies move and  must constantly alter the alignment in order to maintain optimal function. In moving we must take into account much more than a sense of straightness.  For example fulcrums are established and released, our orientation to the environment formed, the use of ground forces according to our relationship with the earth, and so much more. In the end, we can find no fixed rules on an anatomical level to create “good alignment”. Rather we begin to speak about qualities of movement and optimal dynamic alignment.