Qigong ( Chi Kung )
The word Qigong (pronounced chi kung) is a combination of two ideas: “Qi” means air, breath of life, or vital energy of the body, and “gong” means the skill of working with, or cultivating, self-discipline and achievement. The art of Qigong consists primarily of meditation, relaxation, physical movement, mind-body integration, and breathing exercises. 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 (master), they can direct or emit external Qi for the purpose of healing others.
For thousands of years, millions of people have benefited from Qigong practices and believed that improving the function of Qi maintains health and heals disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, good health is a result of a free flowing, well-balanced energy system. It is believed that regular practice of Qigong helps to cleanse the body of toxins, restore energy, reduce stress and anxiety, and help individuals maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Although there is not yet an instrument that can measure the strength of Qi and that we may not fully know what Qi is physically, research has shown that external Qi of a Qigong master could produce significant structural changes in water and aqueous solutions, alter the phase behavior of dipalmitoyl phosphatidyl choline (DPPC) liposomes, and enable the growth of Fab protein crystals (Yan et al. 1999). It has been said that Qigong is one of the most powerful healing traditions ever developed in human history. It is literally a health wonder of the world.
A Brief History of Qigong
Qigong is the key component of traditional Chinese medicine with a history of five thousand years (in record), which can be divided approximately into four major periods.
(1) The period of united heaven, earth and man (before 206 BC): This period was marked out historically by the book “Yi Jing” (Book of Changes) introduced in 1122 BC, which talked about Qi, the concepts of the natural energies and the integration of Heaven, Earth, and Man.
(2) The period of Qigong mixed with religion (206 BC – 500 AD): During Han dynasty (206 BC) Buddhism and meditation methods were imported from India, which brought Qigong practice and meditation into the religious Qigong era.
(3) The period of martial art Qigong (500 AD --): In the Liang dynasty (502- 557 Ad), it was discovered that Qigong could be used for martial-art purposes. From 1911 on, Chinese Qigong training was mixed with Qigong practices from India, Japan and many other countries because of the ease of communication in the modern world. (Source: Jwing-Ming Yang, Qigong for Arthritis).
(4) The period of modern Qigong research:(1980's – present). As more and more Qigong practitioners came out to show the public their amazing abilities and to teach the public to practice Qigong, it gradually emerged from the traditional secret transmission into a practice found in the public domain and scientific research.
Medical Applications of Qigong
Qigong promotes health and healing by physical and mental exercises that promote the balancing of Qi. Qi is the foundation of traditional Chinese medicine, which is built on the belief that pathology or sickness arises when an individual’s Qi (vital body energy) is unbalanced or stagnant in the body. External Qigong refers to the emission of Qi by a Master with the objective of affecting someone other than himself. A patient is healed or affected when the master emits his Qi to balance the patient’s Qi. Numerous studies have reported amazing effects on a variety of different illnesses when Qi is emitted on humans. Qigong can be administered to an individual in the following three ways: self-administration, emitted by a Master externally, or a combination of the two. Some of the functions and organs affected by Qigong include the brain, blood flow, heart functions, kidney, biophysical (enzyme activity, immune function, sex hormone levels), eyesight, and tumor size in mice.
For example, Qigong changes the blood chemistry and mortality of patients with hypertension. A study conducted by Huang Zianbiao of Fujian (China) found that, compared to control groups, patients with hypertension that self-administered Qigong for 30 minutes twice a day regained their strength faster; their appetites grew larger, were freer of diarrhea, increased body weight by more than 3 kg, and had an increase in phagocytic rate by 12.3% while the control decreased by 7.9 %.
A study conducted by the Jiangsu Provincial Research Institute suggests that emitted Qi from a Master damages tumor cells, inhibits their growth, promotes the regenerative function of the lymph system, and increases anti-tumorigenic function in rats.
The Shanghai Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine observed that Qigong increases cellular immunity in cultured blood cells. Emitted Qi affected all of the functions of cell-mediated immune systems that were measured, not just one part of the system.
It has also been shown that the emitted Qi combined with self-Qigong practices can effectively treat heroin addiction. It is a safe way for detoxification, and possibly for rehabilitation (Li, Chen &; Mo, 1999). Even plants seem to benefit from Qigong. Qi-treated seeds had a higher and faster germinating rate than non-treated seeds (Laboratory of Photocatalysis, Shanghai Teacher’s University, Shanghai, China)
Prep. The facial Qigong starts, of course by warming the hands with Qi, focusing on the two finger tips on each hand that will be used to apply and stimulate the Qi. Then a good Taiji stance is assumed, with
attention especially in the BaiHui point suspended from above.
1. The first part of the head to be washed is the eyebrows, one finger riding on top of and one finger riding below the eyebrow, starting at the bridge of the nose and pulling out to the tops of the ears. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed. Repeat at least nine times using whatever pressure feels best.
2. Prep again. Next is under the eyes, one finger riding on top of the cheekbone and the other below, pulling again to the tops of the ears. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed. Repeat at least nine
times using whatever pressure feels best.
3. Prep again. Next along the nose, one finger on the side if the nose and one next to the nose on the face, pulling from the bridge of the nose to the corners of the mouth. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed. Repeat at least nine times using whatever pressure feels best.
4. Prep again. Next, using the right hand only, run the middle finger along the top lip and the index finger rubbing the nostrils, alternately closing the right passing one way and the left passing the other. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed. Repeat at least nine times using whatever pressure feels best.
5. Prep again. Next the middle finger running in the channel in front of the ears and the index finger riding on the bone behind the ears, from the top of the ears down to the corner of the jaw. Keep the shoulders,
elbows, wrists and hands relaxed. Repeat at least nine times using whatever pressure feels best.
6. Prep again. Next the index finger runs under the jaw line and the middle finger runs just above the jaw line from the corner of the jaw to the tip of the chin. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed. Repeat at least nine times using whatever pressure feels best.
7. Prep again. Next locate the hollow at the base of the rear of the skull. Massage this hollow with the fingertips and then pull along the base of the skull, around the neck to the middle of the throat. Keep the
shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed. Repeat at least nine times using whatever pressure feels best.
8. Prep again. Next place the thumbs on the backs of the ears and massage the front of the ears with the index and middle fingers. Do this in three parts, starting with the top third of the ears, nine times, prep again,
middle third nine times, prep again and bottom third and ear lobes nine times last. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed.
9. Prep again. Place both palms over the eyes sealing out as much light as possible and being careful not to put any pressure on the eyeballs, open the eyes wide and look as to the horizon. Feel the energy of the palms being absorbed into the eyes and the toxins from the eyes being neutralized by the palms. Relax here for several deep and slow breath cycles. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands relaxed.
10. Prep again. Seal the ears with the palms, laying the fingers on the base of the skull. Flick the index fingers off the middle fingers so that they drum the skull. Keep the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands
relaxed. Repeat at least forty-nine (49) times using whatever pressure feels best.
11. Stand and observe your breathing and your breath for at least seven cycles.