Qigong is an ancient powerful self-healing system which includes illness prevention, health maintenance, health promotion and healing to rectify illness. It originated thousands of years ago in China. Qi is the energy and gong is the practice and training of the Qi. Qigong can be understood as energy work. In fact, the goal of Medical Qigong is to conserve body vital energy, absorb external energy from the universe, expel toxic energy from the body and to ensure a smooth, free and balanced flow of Qi within the meridian system to attain ultimate health. A person practices Qigong by a combination of exercises including meditation, visualization, mind-body integration, breathing and movement. Practitioners of Qigong develop an awareness of qi sensations (energy) in their body and use their mind to guide the Qi. When the practitioners achieve a sufficient skill level, they can direct or emit Qi externally to affect others.
There are many types of Qigong. You probably have heard of Tai Chi, which is a popular form. Tai Chi is the martial arts form of Qigong, developed primarily for its fighting efficiency. Any health benefits come only secondary and are limited. Unfortunately, many Tai Chi practitioners practice it for health promotion. It is not surprising that for some, their health problems may continue to develop and remain unresolved, or take many years to lessen.
The dynamic formis an active and yang form involving movement; the entire body may move from one posture to another or a posture is held while the arms move through various positions. Externally there is movement, but internally, yin is concealed, the mind is quiet, peaceful and at rest.
The tranquil or still formis an inactive and yin form with the entire body being still. The Qi is controlled by mental concentration, visualization and precise methods of breathing. The mind is active, paying attention to the Qi. There are many reasons to practice Qigong: The goal of Qigong is to accumulate more qi through controlled exercises with breathing and posture etc. The students are taught to conserve qi, not to waste either his inborn, genetic store or that acquired through exercises. All qigong forms will, to varying degrees, prevent disease and improve health. Each category has its own purpose and specialties. There are over eighty thousand forms or styles of qigong in China, all based on the common principles of balance, relaxation, healthy breathing, and good posture.
Medical Qigong (Healing Qigong)is a way to achieve super-health, self-healing, rejuvenation and longevity. Many doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine prescribe Medical Qigong for their patients, or recommend as an adjunct to other necessary therapies or as a way for patients to maintain optimum health. Patients who practice Medical Qigong recover more quickly and gain the necessary skills to take charge of their own health.
External Qi Healingis an ancient Chinese method of healing touch and a branch of Medical Qigong. After months of Medical Qigong practice, the practitioners will have gained abundance of Qi and control of Qi flow internally and externally. It is then that he or she can attempt to heal others by projecting Qi to the patients.
Spiritual Qigongis a meditative form focused on developing a clear, tranquil state of mind, with deeper self-awareness, harmony with nature as well as achieving enlightenment. Higher forms of spiritual power are also developed as a result of the practice. This form of Qigong is always practiced as a complement to Medical Qigong.
Confucian Qigongis the form to improve one's character. Practitioners work on the same qigong techniques as other forms, but they differ only in their goal of using qigong to cultivate benevolence, sincerity, respect, and other virtues.
Martial Qigongdevelops one's ability to defend and attack, and also improve performance in other sports. The practice strengthens, stretches, and conditions the body to resist blows from injuring the body and will also greatly increase one's martial power. It is a popular form, especially for people involved in police work.
Life-force energy (which the Chinese call Qi) is the basic force that is contained in all life forms (human, animals and nature) and is required to sustain life. Everyone has it. With training, anyone can see it. Science can measure Qi, and even photograph it. Mystics have talked about this life force energy for centuries. Artists have depicted it, healers have used it and we have all felt it. In the universe, the transformation of energy is constantly at work. Within our bodies, we absorb Qi from people, the sun, ingested food, water, the surrounding environment and other elements. This life force or Qi fills our bodies and is literally in every cell of the body. It may be strong or weak depending on how we manage to supply and nourish it. It also rules our life span and determines our personality, our passions and emotions. It also dominates our entire life from birth to death and in sickness and health. We can both send and receive Qi from one individual to another to effect biophysical changes. The effects are the same regardless of any belief (or disbelief) system we may adhere to; the energy is still present and is received when sent.
The human body has TWO systems: the physical system which Western medicine, health programs and exercises address, and the second system is our energetic or energy system and is the focus of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) which uses the prescription of herbal remedies, energy nutrition, Chinese massage and acupuncture. Medical Qigong has only recently been included in this school of treatment and has become an invaluable part of TCM after proven an effective treatment against illnesses and responsible for a multitude of health benefits, as evidenced by long-term clinical and experimental studies by Chinese scientists.
The energetic system is a complete system with a structure no less complex than the physical system. For most people, it remains unnoticed or dormant in the body until we activate it with Qigong practices. It then begins to function to its fullest capacity. Only then, are we are able to go beyond the boundaries of the material or physical world that previously have limited us. In fact, Qigong awakens and stimulates the energy system, allowing it to work optimally.
The Qi that fuels our activity demands unimpeded free and strong circulation in order to maintain good health in the individual. Disease (acute or chronic) is primarily the result of the body Qi being out-of-balance attributed to Qi related toxins, stagnation, blockages and negative-Qi absorbed by the body. Under these conditions, overall body Qi is weakened and the free flow of Qi is restricted and compromised. This manifests as chronic illness, pain, weakness or swelling.
Medical Qigong practice is a traditional means of allowing and keeping a strong and unimpeded flow of energy in our bodies. Medical Qigong increases Qi absorption, releases Qi related toxins, stagnation and blockages. The practitioner notices the immediate sensations and signs of relaxation and relief of symptoms and diseases. Increased energy for activities is a welcome side effect of the practice. The flow of Qi keeps us limber and develops the flexibility our neuro-muscular systems requires. This easier and freer flow also enlivens us. Medical Qigong is more than simply a supply of energy. It is the most profound way to strengthen the life-force, and to prevent diseases before they even develop.
Conventional medicine treats bodily symptoms while Medical Qigong attempts to resolve energy problems (diseases and afflictions) associated with the body, mind and spirit. Modern medicine tends toward specialization of skills and compartmentalization of treatment. Medical techniques may be wonderful for treating specific symptoms or accomplishing so-called miracles, but often in a dehumanising way, with side effects almost as bad as the illness itself. Treatment of the whole system - body, mind and spirit - is ultimately the path we must follow. This combination of new scientific techniques and old healing arts is in fact happening as the medical community gives grudging acknowledgement and acceptance to many natural folk remedies and energy healing, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (Herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Medical Qigong), previously and disdainfully dismissed as superstitions.
Science is proving, for example, that certain foods and natural herbs offer a wide range of medicinal benefits, some curative, others preventive in nature. The expression, "Take a pill", is being replaced with "eat a healthier diet and get some exercise". There is a general feeling of wanting to take back control of our lives, even if we don't know how or why we lost it. When it is time for a coronary bypass, you definitely need the surgeon trained in Western Medicine techniques, but it is better not to need the bypass.
As we start a new millennium, many are becoming more concerned with deeper questions and probing past the superficial issues of life, becoming more interested in root causes. In terms of illnesses, energy imbalance is the main hidden root cause that is responsible for most of the physical symptoms. There is a growing sense that time is running out and that we must change old habits and perceptions in order to survive.