INTRODUCTION TO MEDICAL QIGONG

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More than 5000 years ago, Chinese physicians came to understand that everything is composed of the same energetic substance called Qi (pro­nounced //chee/,). These ancient masters con­cluded that there is a oneness and wholeness in all existence, and that energetically everything is interconnected as one body, although energy may appear to take on many different forms. All things in nature and, in fact, all things in the universe are woven together so that are, quite literally, all symbiotically one with the universe through the system of Qi. Qi is always in motion within all things, and is the catalyst for everything to re- late and interrelate within the universe.

In modern times, the laws of physics have demonstrated that matter and energy are inter­changeable, and that matter is simply another form of energy. Matter is constantly vibrating in the form of tangible solids and intangible gases, and is constantly altering, being affected by, or in- teracting with energy. Energy is inherent in the living human body, and the human body is sus­tained by energy (Figure 1.1).

The ancients mastered techniques to balance the body’s energy (Qi) in order to live in harmony with the environmental (Earthly) Qi as well as the universal (Heavenly) Qi. Traditional Chinese Medicine maintains that when living things start to lose their Qi, they lose their vitality. An ancient Chinese saying states, "Life comes into beginning because Qi is amassed; when Qi is scattered, the person dies.”

Qi is stored within the body in the form of pools, creating the structures of the internal or­gans. From these internal pools, the body’s life- force energy flows in the form of rivers and streams. These energetic rivers and streams form the body’s vessels, channels, and collateral sys­tems.

 

 The Five Dominions of Energy

The ancient masters observed that Qi can be divided into five manifestations of matter and energy: mineral, plant, animal, human, and di­vine. Each form draws on the energy of the next, resonating and interacting with the divine through the form's relationship in Wuji (infinite space). The five manifestations of matter and energy are ex­plained as follows.

  1. The mineral’s energetic field is considered the densest (i.e., the slowest) or lowest form of energetic vibration. The disintegration or di­vision of the minerars particles combine with the elements of air and water to form the Earth's soil. Every particle in the soil still re­tains the original primordial energy force of the mineral, whicR interacts with the energy of the divine.
  2. The plant's energetic field is considered the next higher form of energetic vibration. All of

    the Earth's vegetation (trees, bushes, flowers, herbs, etc.) absorbs a part of its life-energy from the mineral’s energetic field, increasing and multiplying its energetic potential. The plant's energetic field is considered the next higher step in energetic evolution towards the divine energetic field.

  3. The animars energetic field is considered the next higher form of energetic vibration. The animal consumes and absorbs the energy from the plant's energetic field, further in­creasing and multiplying its energetic poten­tial, bringing it one step closer towards the divine energetic field. Within each higher fre­quency of vibration there is also an increase in consciousness and level of awareness.

  4.  

    The human energetic field is considered the next highest form of energetic vibration. Man­kind stands between Heaven and Earth, par­taking of both energy fields. Through diet, Qigong practice, prayer, and meditation, hu- mans can further refine and multiply their energetic potential.
  5.  The divine energetic field is the highest vi­brational expression of energy known. As it envelops and becomes active within the hu­man body, it further increases and multiplies the body’s energetic potential, allowing man to attain divine consciousness.

All these energetic fields originate from one source, and all contain the vibrations of the one divine life-force. Likewise, with an attitude of deep respect for plants and animals that give up their life-force energy for our consumption, it is possible to enhance the nutritional value of the substances they provide us with. The blessing of food, and food prepared with a loving attitude, allows for the absorption of not only the vitamins and minerals contained therein, but also the ab­sorption of the higher vibrations of the one divine energy inherent in all things. This is why many ancient cultures, often referred to as "primitive," prayed before hunting so that the animal spirit would willing give itself for sacrifice. Prayers were also given after the kill to free the animal‘s spirit so that it could return back to the divine.

 

Yang.

■ Yin

active ■

.passive

creative.

■ receptive

masculine.

■ feminine

front.

.back

left.

■ right

fire.

■ ■water

hot.

..cold

dry.

■ wet

hard.

.soft

light.

.heavy

bright _

.dark

heaven.

.earth

sun.

.moon

 

Figure 1.2. The table above shows some characteristics of Yang and Yin. Below is the Yin/Yang symbol: white represents Yang and black represents Yin. The small circles, one white and the other black, symbolize the fact that Yin is always transforming into Yang and Yang into Yin. (For more on Yin and Yang, see Chapter 3.)

Once individuals becomes aware of the divine energetic field, they begin to experience the re­fined vibrational energy fields of minerals, plants, animals and human beings. This increased aware­ness of the divine life-force energy strengthens the awareness of one’s own energetic fields and that of others. This in turn can deepen the conscious and unconscious energetic connections between ourselves and others, be they human, animal, plant or mineral.

Defining the Energy of Yin and Yang

Each of the five energetic fields can be fur­ther divided into Yin and Yang aspects. In Tradi­tional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the theory of Yin and Yang energy represents the duality of balance and harmony wit|iin the body, as well as within the universe (Figure 1.2). Earth energy is Yin, while Heaven energy is Yang.

Yin exists within Yang, and Yang within Yin. Yang manifests as active, creative, masculine, hot, hard, light, and bright. Yin manifests as passive, receptive, feminine, cold, soft, and dark. The dy­namic balance of Yin and Yang always changes and transforms the body's life-force energy. (See Chapter 3 for more on Yin and Yang energy.)

Successful practitioners in balancing the body's Yin-Yang energies were considered mas­ters or //immortals// able to harmonize the body with the mind, the mind with the will, the will with the breath, the breath with the spirit, the spirit with motion, and finally, motion with the sur­rounding environment (Earth), the universe (Heaven), and the divine (Dao).

Understanding the Concept of Qi

While the concept of Qi may seem compli­cated, it is actually very simple. Matter progresses to energy and energy to spirit. Qi is the medium, or bridge, between matter and spirit Once we be­come aware of the reality of Qi, it becomes easily recognized.

Through observation and study, Chinese Qi­gong (pronounced chee-gung) masters discovered that each organ in the human body has a differ­ent function and a different speed of energetic vi­bration. By tracing the pathways (channels) Qi takes through each organ and observing the ef­fects on bodily functions, the Chinese developed the basic theories upon which Qigong practice is founded. For thousands of years, Chinese medi­cine has successfully cured serious illnesses by stimulating the body's energy in very specific ways.

Through the study of Qigong, anyone wish­ing to cultivate awareness of the energy vibrations and their own individual pathways can learn to influence and even control them. Qigong practi­tioners use these skills to heal and strengthen the immune system, and to improve the functioning of various organ systems within the body. China Healthways International estimates that in Beijing alone more than 1.3 million people practice some form of Qigong every day, whereas, in China as a whole, around 80 million people practice Qigong.

Different Schools of Qigong

Qi means "life-force energy" and gong means "skill," so Qigong is the skillful practice of gath­ering, circulating, and applying life-force energy. In China today, Qigong practice is divided into three main schools: medical, martial, and spiri­tual. The three schools are all based on the same philosophical system and share many of the same meditations and techniques. The schools differ pri­marily in focus. Students choose a school based on the use to which they want to put their Qigong training. Briefly, each school focuses on one of the following specialties:

  1. The medical school trains doctors and heal­ers in special Qigong methods for health maintenance and longevity, disease preven­tion, and the diagnosis and treatment of dis_ eases and disorders. The three primary tech­niques of Medical Qigong therapy include the following.
  2. Purging to detoxify the body of patho­gens,
  3. tonifying to strengthen the body’s in­ternal organs and systems, and
  4. Regulating to balance the body's inter­nal energy.

The martial school trains martial artists to build their strength and power for perform­ing martial arts applications. The three pri­mary techniques of martial Qigong training include the following.

  1. Obvious Power (Ming Jing) techniques emphasize the training and condition­ing of the muscles, strengthening the bone structure, and increasing the individual’s overall stamina. This school also includes such techniques as pounding the body (arms, hands, legs, and torso) to strengthen and toughen the tissues.
  2. Hidden Power (An Jing) techniques emphasize stretching and twisting the tendons and ligaments (known as Reel­ing and Pulling the Silk) to cultivate resonant vibration within the body for striking and issuing power.
  3. Mysterious Power (Hua Jing) tech­niques emphasize the training and con- ditioning the mind's imagination and intention, to project and utilize the power of the individuals’ Shen (Spirit).
  4. The spiritual school trains practitioners who seek spiritual transformation and enlighten­ment (Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism each have their own unique techniques). Their techniques include meditations for fusing, as well as releasing the Three Ethereal Souls (Hun). These souls can best be understood as personifications of moral qualities (or arche­types). When the Hun are fully developed, the practitioner acquires certain extraordinary powers and abilities, such as soul travel. The goal however, is to achieve transformation and a state of enlightenment, and not be led astray by the glamor of extra powers. The three primary techniques of spiritual Qigong training include the following:
  5. Nourishing the Spirit (Shen), to strengthen and refine the power of the individual’s Shen,
  6. Housing the Shen by disciplining both thoughts and emotions, to relax and tranquilize the individual’s Shen, and to become more receptive to divine en­ergy and guidance, and Combining the Shen with the Qi, to co­ordinate the breath and intention for directing the spirit to guide the body's life-force energy.

Qigong training involves all of the individuals’ physical senses. The concentration is focused on breathing, hearing, visualizing, and muscle relaxation. Massage, and movement are also used to develop and control the body's in­trinsic energy. Studying Qigong requires not only comprehending the immeasurable wisdom gath­ered for medical, martial, or spiritual development but also studying the ancient Chinese culture in- hetent within these systems.

Medical Qigong Defined

All living bodies generate an external field of energy called Wei Qi (pronounced 7/whey chee,,)/ which translates as "protective energy." The defi­nition of Wei Qi in Medical Qigong is slightly dif- ferent than that of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In classical TCM texts, the Wei Qi field is seen to be limited to the surface of the body, cir­culating within the tendon and muscle tissues. In Medical Qigong, however, the Wei Qi field also includes the three external layers of the body’s auric and subtle energy fields. This energy origi­nates from each of the internal organs and radi- ates through the external tissues. There the Wei Qi forms an energy field that radiates from the entire physical body. This field of Qi protects the body from the invasion of external pathogens and communicates with, as well as interacts with, the surrounding universal and environmental energy fields.

Both internal and external pathogenic factors affect the structural formation of the Wei Qi. The internal factors include suppressed emotional in­fluences (such as anger and grief from emotional traumas); The external factors include environ­mental influences when they are too severe or chronic, such as Cold, Damp, Heat, or Wind, etc. Physical traumas also affect the Wei Qi field.

Any negative interchange affects the Wei Qi by literally creating holes within the matrix of the individual’s external energetic fields. When left unattended, these holes leave the body vulnerable to penetration, and disease begins to take root in the body. Strong emotions, in the form of toxic energy, become trapped within the body’s tissues when we hold back or do not integrate our feel­ings. These unprocessed emotions block the natu - ral flow of Qi, thus creating stagnant pools of toxic energy within the body.

Medical Qigong consists of specific tech- niques that use the knowledge of tRe body’s in­ternal and external energy fields to purge, tonify, and balance these energies. Medical Qigong therapy offers patients a safe and effective way to rid themselves of toxic pathogens and years of painful emotions that otherwise, can cause men­tal and physical illness. This therapy combines breathing techniques with movement, creative vi­sualization, and spiritual intent to improve health, personal power, and control over one's own life.

Medical. Qigong Training in China

There are numerous colleges of Traditional Chinese Medicine throughout China today that focus on Medical Qigong training. The majority support the scientific study and expansion of Medical Qigong applications and Traditional Chi­nese Medicine treatments.

According to Qigong master and doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Professor Zhou Qianchuan, all of the most famous Chinese doc­tors of acupuncture and moxibustion, herbal medicine, bone setting, and massage therapy, ei­ther practiced Qigong or incorporated Qigong into their clinical practices.

Major traditional Chinese medical colleges in China offer comprehensive, government-spon­sored, three-year programs in Medical Qigong therapy. Programs include classes, labs, and semi­nars on traditional Chinese medical theory. These studies include: The foundations of Chinese medi­cine for internal diseases according to the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, Spiritual Axis, Essential Questions, and the Canon of Perplexities. The Medi­cal Qigong classes also include energetic anatomy

and physiology, diagnosis and symptomatology, energetic psychology, Qigong pathology, Medical Qigong tlierapy, as well as a survey oi other re­lated medical modalities. The other related mo- dalities include: a comprehensive understanding of herbal medicine, acupuncture therapy, and Chi­nese massage. Classes of Western anatomy and physiology, Western internal diseases, and health and recovery, are also required.

During the certification program, three to five training hours a day accompany the standard six- day-a-week classroom curriculum. Course content, personal mastery of energy extension, and diagno­sis techniques are rigorously tested each week. Upon completing the required courses and pass­ing the final exams, the student receives a certifi- cate of completion. Next, a six-month to one-year internship is required at a program-affiliated hos­pital or clinic. Upon successful completion of this internship, the new doctor is licensed as a doctor of Medical Qigong therapy by the People's Republic of China's Bureau of Scientific Technology.

Each internship program is assigned a sepa­rate wing in the selected Chinese hospitals. Both inpatient and outpatient facilities are available to the public. Each branch has specific approaches to healing a patient, with its own unique set of ground rules for diagnosis and treatment.

There are three distinct supervisory levels working within each clinical branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. The first and lowest position is that of a "doctor of Medical Qigong,” who is responsible for the treatment of all clinical patients (including patients in both the inpatient and outpatient clinics). The positions of Medical Qigong doctor are generally filled by the medical college graduates who have spent four to five years in clinical study and practice. The next level is called a "'physician or doctor in-charge/' and denotes a senior position within the clinic. This individual is responsible for the supervision of all the Qigong doctors7 clinical procedures. This po­sition is usually obtained after spending a mini­mum of five years as a Qigong doctor. The final and highest level is called a "director or profes­sor;’’ this position requires overseeing the doctors in-charge, as well as teaching, treating, and train­ing of other doctors to pass on Qigong clinical knowledge to future generations. This position is usually obtained after spending a minimum of five to six years as a doctor in-charge.

The licensing is reviewed and issued by ei- ther the People’s Republic of China’s Bureau of Scientific Technology (that issues a license in lo­cal city hospitals) or by the Ministry of Scientific Technology (that licenses to practice in any clinic or hospital throughout China). The Qigong doctor's skills are tested through oral, written and practical examinations, and a license is issued ac­cordingly. In China today, there are five positions available for a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medi­cine. These five positions are described as follows.

  1. A Doctor of Acupuncture Therapy (D.Ac.) specializes in the five main modalities of Chi- nese acupuncture.
  2. A Doctor of Herbal Medicine (D.H.M.) spe­cializes in the five main modalities of Chinese herbology.
  3. A Doctor of Massage Therapy (D.M.T.) spe­cializes in the five main modalities of Chinese massage and tissue regulation.
  4. A Doctor of Medical Qigong Therapy (D.M.Q.) specializes in the five main modali­ties of Chinese Medical Qigong.
  5. A Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (D.T.C.M.) is a doctor who has trained in all four branches of Traditional Chinese Medi­cine (acupuncture, herbs, massage, and Medi­cal Qigong).

 

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