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Breath Sounds for Organs – Chinese Medicine

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The Six Healing Sounds for Organs, also known as Liu Zi Jue, are a traditional practice in Chinese medicine and qigong (a system of coordinated body postures and movements combined with meditation) that involve making specific vocal sounds associated with different organs in the body. These sounds are believed to have therapeutic effects on the corresponding organs and help promote overall health and well-being.  

Each of the Six Healing Sounds is associated with one of the body’s major organs and is believed to release stagnant energy or emotions associated with that organ. The six sounds and their linked organs are as follows: 

  1. Xu (pronounced “sshh”) – Associated with the Liver: This sound is believed to help release anger and frustration and promote the smooth flow of Qi (energy) in the liver. 
  2. He (pronounced “huh”) – Associated with the Heart: This sound is associated with the heart and is believed to help calm the mind and release excessive excitement and overthinking. 
  3. Hu (pronounced “hoo”) – Associated with the Spleen: This sound is said to benefit the spleen and digestive system and help clear the mind of worry and overthinking. 
  4. Si (pronounced “suh”) – Associated with the Lungs: This sound is associated with the lungs and is believed to help release sadness and grief, as well as promote healthy lung function. 
  5. Chui (pronounced “chway”) – Associated with the Kidneys: This sound is associated with the kidneys and is believed to help release fear and stress, while also promoting kidney health. 
  6. Xi (pronounced “shee”) – Associated with the Triple Burner (Sanjiao): This sound is unique because it’s not directly associated with a specific organ. Instead, it’s associated with the concept of the Triple Burner, which relates to the upper, middle, and lower parts of the torso. The Xi sound is believed to help balance the three burners and harmonize the body’s energy. 

Practitioners of the Six Healing Sounds typically perform a set of exercises in which they make these sounds while engaging in specific movements and visualizations. The practice is often used as a form of self-healing and can be incorporated into a broader qigong or meditation practice. 

It’s important to note that while the Six Healing Sounds have a long history in traditional Chinese medicine and qigong, scientific evidence may be lacking to support bold claims related to their effectiveness.  

The Research 

The Six Healing Sounds may ease symptoms related to pulmonary conditions. A 2022 study demonstrated that the Six Healing Sounds helped patients with Covid-19 symptoms. Researchers found that participants in the treatment (sounds) group experienced significant improvements related to breathing difficulties and fatigue compared to those in the control (no sounds) group. However, the study showed that psychological conditions, cough, labored breathing, and chest tightness all improved to pre-Covid-19 levels within the same time frame, with or without Six Healing Sounds treatment. 

The Six Healing Sounds have also been shown to improve symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Individuals in COPD remission who practiced the Six Healing Sounds, along with walking exercises, were shown to experience improved lung function capacity, mobility, specific airway conductance, and overall quality of life, according to a 2015 study.

Because the Six Healing Sounds are considered a form of meditation, it’s not surprising that their effects on the mind have been studied, including relaxation, depression, and pain. One study found that participants experienced increased brainwave activity associated with relaxation and creativity after performing the sounds. Additionally, brainwave activity has been shown to reduce pain consciousness and depression in practitioners of the Six Healing Sounds.

While the Six Healing Sounds hold a prominent place in traditional Chinese medicine and qigong, scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness remains limited. Randomized controlled trials exploring specific outcomes are scarce. There is also a lack of research to connect individual sounds with changes in corresponding organs. Nonetheless, existing research suggests possible benefits in various areas. And as a meditative practice, the sounds have demonstrated potential positive effects for mental wellbeing due to their impact on brainwave activity.  

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