Lao Gong & Energy-Healing
Taoist practitioners and other energy-healers who use qigong emission (external qi therapy) techniques to amplify and balance another person’s qi (life-force energy) frequently use the palms of their hands as a place from which to emit energy. And you’ve probably seen photos, if not experienced in person, saints and healers from various spiritual traditions offering group blessings by extending the palms of their hands in the direction of their devotees. What's going on here?
Lao Gong - Palace Of Labor
As it turns out, the palm of the hand is home to one of the most powerful acupuncture points, which is considered also to be a minor chakra. The Chinese name for this point is Lao Gong, and it’s the 8th point on the Pericardium meridian. “Gong” means palace, and “Lao” means labor or toil; so the point name is often translated as “palace of toil” or “palace of labor.”
Pericardium 8 may have been named “palace of labor” for a very mundane reason: because the hands are the part of the body frequently used to engage in manual labor. A somewhat more interesting explanation is that, according to the Five Shen system, the heart is residence of the “emperor” of all the shen. Since the pericardium is the sack that encases and protects the heart, we can think of it also as being the heart’s (and emperor’s) “palace,” whose job (i.e. labor) it is to comfort and protect the king.
Pericardium 8 - Location
The classical location of this point is where the tip of the ring finger lands, in the palm of the hand, when we make a fist (i.e. between the 3rd and 4th metacarpal bones). Some modern texts define the location to be where the tip of the middle finger lands, when we make a fist (i.e. between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones). You can use either location, or a combination -- depending upon what you’re intuitively drawn to.
As alluded to above, Lao Gong is used in all kinds of ways, in the context of qigong healing -- as a location from which to emit qi from one person to another person. Its classical acupuncture indications (i.e. the effect its stimulation has on our own bodymind) include calming the spirit and resolving fatigue.
Activating Lao Gong
To massage your own Lao Gong, simply rest one hand, palm up, on the fingers and palm of the other hand. Then, use the bottom hand’s thumb to reach into the palm of the top hand. Apply moderate pressure, with the end or tip of your thumb, moving it in tiny circles, as you place your mental focus gently upon the point.
Another way to activate Lao Gong energy is to place the palms of your hands together in “prayer position” in front of your heart-center. Then separate the palms just slightly, so there’s about an inch distance between them. With your attention resting gently in the space between the palms, begin to move your two hands in tiny circular motions, maintaining that one-inch distance between them. Notice what you feel.
Then, slowly, in a wave-like fashion, pull your hands apart, until there’s five or six inches space between them; and then press them back toward each other, until they’re almost but not quite touching. Repeat this movement, ten or fifteen times (with your eyes either open or closed), with your attention, once again, in the space between the palms, i.e. between the two Lao Gong points.
Chances are you’ll begin to notice sensations of heat or tingling, or a sense of heaviness (or lightness), or a magnetic or taffy-like feeling in and between your palms. This, at least in part, is the activation of the Lao Gong points.