Qi Gong is a dynamic form of energy medicine originating in ancient China. It is a perfected, refined system comprised of various breathing techniques, physical exercises, body postures and meditation practices. The goal of Qi Gong practice is to achieve a glowing, robust state of health. This includes mental alertness, physical prowess, a hardy immune system and a tranquil peace of mind.
Part of what makes Qi Gong so effective and powerful is its use of Yin and Yang elements. Yin is the feminine energy represented by night, cold, rest and the moon. Yang is the masculine energy associated with day, heat, activity and the sun. They are the only two forces in the Universe which constantly remain in flux in order to preserve harmony.
For example, if you engage in a yang activity like running, eventually the yin counterpart, rest or inactivity, will inevitably occur. To put it philosophically, without rest there is no energy for running, and without running there is no need for rest.
With the philosophy of Yin and Yang very much at the heart of Qi Gong, some aspects focus on meditation and others on physical actions. External Qi Healing is a good example of a yin practice. This practice requires a Qi Gong master to administer Qi, emitted from their hands, into the body of a patient. Qi is the vital life force, or energy, that all living beings require to exist.
The patient can be seated or lying down, and there’s no need to disrobe. As a matter of fact, traditionally the Qi Gong master does not even physically touch the recipient. In this case, the patient calmly receiving the treatment is behaving in a Yin-type manner. The practitioner, by contrast, is actively giving the treatment, which is a Yang activity.
The benefits of this include a better, stronger circulation of Qi and blood throughout the patient's body. When Qi and blood flow freely, the lymphatic, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems all run more efficiently. This is improves immunity, pulmonary function and reduces body pains. Many more medical issues can be addressed through External Qi Healing as well. Part of the session involves an interview detailing the patient's main complaints so they can be properly addressed in the treatment session.
If one wishes to engage in more Yang activities, performing the physical exercises associated with Qi Gong can be of benefit. The gentle exercises are tender enough so that virtually anyone can practice them. They are performed using continuous motions which synchronize with breathing patterns. This helps the mind enter a meditative state and cultivates patience and self-awareness.
A fun way to invigorate the body and mind is through the practice called The Five Animal Frolics. These Qi Gong forms imitate the movements and characteristics associated with the Tiger, Deer, Monkey, Bear and Bird. Practicing them can help enhance overall health, assist in the rehabilitation process after illness or injury, and reduce or prevent medical problems in the future. The movements of each of these forms can actually be quite entertaining to those doing them, and for those watching them.
There is even a branch known as Spiritual Qi Gong. These exercises strive to cultivate a sense of awareness for the practitioner. The aim is self-acceptance and an acknowledgement of the present moment. This isn't a magic cure for all that is disturbing or distressing, but rather it is a technique to help people learn more about themselves.
If you want to be proactive and maintain your good health or, if you find yourself contending with physical or mental issues, there is most likely a form of Qi Gong to suit you. Engaging in a daily practice can improve your overall quality of life, support most medical treatments and help with the cessation of unhealthy habits. This could mean reaching for painkillers less often, or finding that craving for tobacco isn't quite as strong.
Contact a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine about which Qi Gong exercises can complement your acupuncture treatments.
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.