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A Daoist Technique for Falling Asleep – Foot Circles

We know that sleep is central to health and healing, and key in healing burnout. But what about those times when you cannot sleep?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes the idea of ‘qi’ – a life force or life energy that powers our bodies.   This energy circulates through our body as needed.

Sometimes when you have trouble falling asleep, it is because you have too much energy (qi) in your head – your mind is over-excited.

When this occurs you can’t sleep well, or sometimes at all. With that energy stuck in your head, the minds keep going going going.

How to calm the mind? Here is a very simple method.

Feel your feet.   “Put your mind into your feet.”

Now pick one foot – it doesn’t matter which one – and very slowly gently move that foot as if you were drawing a very small circle with your toes. In your mind, feel the movement of your toes, foot, ankle, and silently count to yourself as you draw one hundred circles. Then draw a hundred circles in the opposite direction.

All that attention on your feet, and the simple act of monitoring and count as your feet move will pull energy to the feet, and likely that energy will come from your head. It will drain excess energy from the head down to the feet.

While you are slowly, gently, quietly making and counting circles, you may fall asleep.

For me the big challenge is when I wake up at 2:30 AM and am WIDE AWAKE.  I’ve had some good success with this.

A more forceful version of this same principle is to get out of bed and eat something, especially [for me] a carbohydrate.  Putting food into your stomach draws blood (and qi) to digest the food. I’m sure I’ll be asleep in 45~60 minutes, however it can interfere with your intermittent fasting or other diet plan or strategy, and you have to get out of bed.

George Sawyer - Ending Burnout

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