Between the Pages: 'The 6 Minute Method' Revitalizes a Stressed Mind
If there's one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it's that your health is a crucial factor to living a full and happy life. Over the past two years, people experienced a level of fear and isolation that contributed to higher stress levels, which are tied to the development of diseases in the body over time.
Everyone needs to make time to take care of their mental and physical health. However, this can be difficult if there's much on your plate, from career to family, fitness, friends and more. Fortunately, according to Jenna Robins, B.Sc. (Hons), you need only six minutes every morning to improve and maintain your well-being. She's the author of "The 6 Minute Method: Energy Medicine for Wellbeing & Vitality."
Robins is a qi gong and tai chi instructor and traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturist in the United Kingdom who has been in complementary medicine for 30 years, working for clinics and hospitals in the U.K. and China.
"Kids in Asia learn about meditation and mindfulness from an early age, so it's easy for them to switch to having a self-connection, unlike in Western countries, which changes pathology in the body," Robins explained. "Thought creates energy, energy creates motion and motion creates chemical changes. Thus, it makes you feel good and happy, which then makes you feel more connected to yourself and your sexuality in a healthy way."
The six-minute method consists of five minutes of qi gong practice and one minute of journal writing. Robins' book explains the history of qi gong, the concept that everything is energy, and how you can feel and direct your chi energy. Robins includes health benefits and science-backed evidence of the effectiveness of qi gong.
Qi gong combines breath work and tapping or pounding on the correct meridian points (pathways of the chi energy) to release energy blocks. The book is rich in photo illustrations and includes 365 days of journal writing prompts.
In this exclusive interview with Giddy, Robins discussed what inspired her to write this book and how energy work and journal writing can also support sexual health.
Being involved in many holistic health modalities, what made you write a book about qi gong?
Robins: Qi gong is part of tai chi without the added martial arts elements. Once you master qi gong, you can move on to tai chi. I've seen how fast and effective qi gong is in patients with anxiety, migraines, PTSD, insomnia, bereavement and more. Stress affects how they function, feel and connect to themselves and others. I started teaching a six-minute method because everybody said, "I haven't got time to do it now." And when you're more stressed, you feel like you've not got time for anything because you can't cope.
I wanted to come up with something short and sweet that's going to actually have an effect and make them feel better. I brought two models together because writing the opposite of how you truly feel every day, embedding new thought processes, will change your neuroplasticity that creates physical changes of chemistry in your body.
Due to the new thought process, you start to change, which changes how you feel very quickly. That's why all programs are 21 days, because it takes 21 days for those millions of neurons to fire in the brain, dislodge and reboot into a new thought process. And then the actual practices of breath movement and mind synchronized as one stops you from thinking.
It was a scary time when the [COVID-19] lockdown came, and my business closed for three months. I was also grieving heavily at the time [as] I'd just lost my dad. I used my model for my own well-being every day and I thought I might put it together in a book to help my patients.
How does qi gong work and how do people know they feel the energy?
Chi means energy and gong means movement, effortless movement, cultivation of energy movement. Energy is everywhere and it is electrons, neutrons, protons and atoms. And the atoms and new cells are moving all the time, generating energy, which keeps us alive, our hearts pumping and the neurons firing. And that's your biofeedback.
Energy's also externally around us. Just like the wind, you can feel it but can't see it. You have to learn how to tap into it. It feels like tingling, spirals and rushes down the channels. You're activating your senses that haven't been used to learn how to feel it, and when you do, it's quite exhilarating.
How long does it take to start noticing any mental or physical changes?
It's different for everyone, but some people start to feel a difference very quickly, within four days. They start to feel more relaxed and have more clarity of mind. Their mind isn't overthinking all the time. It's like a reset and a rewire every morning. Their stress hormones start to reduce and, therefore, their physical symptoms decrease.
Stress will create palpitations, poor sleep, overthinking, jaw clenching and adrenaline. All your adrenaline will start to reduce, and then all those symptoms. You start to feel better and get more confidence. And what happens is, without you realizing it, you begin to have more awareness of what's going on around you because you're more connected to yourself. You're more rooted and grounded, so you're more aware of your environment, things you would normally be switched off from. And you've got to be less reactive and let things go. You get much stronger mentally and emotionally and much more aware.
How does qi gong benefit sexual health? Perhaps give us a quick exercise that would benefit women and men.
Chi moves blood. During the whole practice, you are opening what we call gates, which are all the joints. Let's say you bend a wire that is plugged in. Electricity can't move freely through it. That's what happens to us when we're stiff and unfit, don't exercise, have an injury or just become very stationary.
If you sit down for a long time, your hips are stiff because all the blood and energy are stuck in the hips. You open the hips, and the energy flows free everywhere, to your lower dantian, your sexual organs and your lower powerhouse of energy. It stimulates the uterus in the womb and circulation, so it helps fertility. If you have poor circulation with erectile dysfunction, it might help that as well.
Qi gong is an all-encompassing movement, breath and meditation practice. Yang is an external, strong movement energy such as circulation and chi. In contrast, yin is responsible for all the internal bodily fluids, the eggs, their fertility and the sperm—the primordial making of every human being. As we get older, things become drier, more tired and worn out, and we need to encourage that production.
One of the first movements in the book is the microcosmic orbit movement, which will encourage all those healthy functions: reducing stress hormones, increasing circulation and increasing liver blood. These are all the sexual organs for a man and a woman. Get the free flow of energy correct so that you're in a place where all those things are more likely to happen for you.
For this practice, put your hands on your lower dantian, just below your navel. Women put their left hand on top of the right one; men the other way around. Close your eyes, go down onto your lower belly, take three deep breaths in and out and relax. And then you go into the microcosmic orbit movement. Arms above the head, coming down. Your mind is focusing on the breath, and your movement is following your breathing. When you breathe up, your hands go up. When you breathe down, your hands come down. The whole thing is like an internal brain and body massage. Set a timer for five minutes, close your eyes, put music on if you want to, and off you go.