Readers would have also realized that I have not restricted my column to just qi and Qigong, but have consistently touched on various other aspects of health and healing.
I am very happy that I am able to oblige finally, since I have always said that you should not just learn from books, or even videos, but should ideally learn from a teacher or master.
To emphasize the importance of having a holistic and integrative view of health, all those learning Qigong from me today also attended a “Healthy For Life” seminar yesterday to learn about modern, natural and complementary approaches to health. I promote nutritional healing and healthy lifestyle as the mainstay of not only preventing diseases, but also of healing from all sorts of chronic diseases that would otherwise require drugs. I am a firm believer in the supreme ability of the body to heal itself – if only you give it everything it needs, and stop poisoning it with things that it doesn’t need, as well as keeping it in good running condition by adequate exercises.
I promote proactive medicine, that is – really taking charge of your health and not allowing things to just happen ( often that means getting sick ), and leaving it to the doctors or other health professionals to fix the problems when these arise. Proactive medicine includes preventive medicine ( measures to maintain health and prevent illness ), predictive medicine ( doing as many tests and evaluation affordable to obtain the best possible assessment of health status and predict what is likely to happen in the future ), promotive medicine ( promote improvement of health to the highest level ), and early therapy if things still go wrong despite all the above efforts.
The Health Ministry has taken a very proactive approach towards healthcare and has had many campaigns to raise health-awareness among Malaysians. This year the annual theme is Healthy for Life, or Sihat Sepanjang Hayat. A big launch was held to publicise the theme, followed by many follow-up educational and media campaigns, including very effective TV commercials. Kudos to those responsible for implementing these programs. For Malaysia Boleh to be possible, we must ensure Malaysia Sihat first.
Maintaining good health takes a lot of effort. However, when the health fails, it takes much more effort ( and money ) to recover, not to mention the suffering, the income-losses, and the whole lot of inconveniences that ensue. So it makes good sense for the government to spend much in improving the health of its citizens because this will in fact save a lot more than waiting to provide them with the treatments for their diseases, which will appear sooner and in greater numbers without these campaigns.
The same applies to individuals. Put more effort (and money) in a proactive personal healthcare program, and you should have a higher chance of enjoying a life free of illnesses, take less sick leave from earning your income, and cause less anxiety to those who depend or care for you!
QIGONG FOR LIFE
My proactive healthcare advice is not complete without Qigong. Qi is the very life-force that starts and sustains life, and therefore the health of the individual depends very much on it.
I have already related that I first felt the power of qi ( though at that time I didn’t know what it was ) while I was doing my ritual Islamic prayer early one morning 14 years ago. Since then, apart from learning the various styles of Qigong and later teaching it, I have also been invited by many Muslim individuals and groups to share with them my story, and show them how the commandment to prayer is actually a life-time self-maintenance program for the spirit, as well as the body. The obedient Muslim stands to benefit in both aspects.
Muslims often claim that prayer is good for health because it is an exercise. However, if you actually access the exercise-value of the typical Muslim praying, you will find very little evidence for it. The real health benefit comes through the improvement of qi ( called latifa by the Sufis ) , which will only happen if the prayer is done with utmost discipline. Many Muslims who prayed in the disciplined manner I taught have reported improvements in their health. One man actually felt the qi running up his spine on his third day of prayer.
Muslims who pray thus five times a day can expect to be charged with qi all day long. It is a pity that most Muslims are not getting this health benefit.
However, everyone can get the health benefit of qi by doing even the simplest Qigong exercises. You will want to do lots of Qigong once you feel the benefits. And since you don’t need equipments or much space ( except when doing the Amazing Qigong Walk ), it can be done anywhere, anytime.
In the last one year I have described many exercises, and all these exercises are beneficial for general health, as well as for the organ systems specified. Most of the patients that sought my advice are those with cancers and chronic spinal problems. Indeed, spinal and joint problems are the leading causes of work-absenteeism, and cancer is slowly but surely increasing to become the next leading cause of death.
HEART FOR LIFE
The leading cause of death is still heart disease. Since today is World Heart Day, it is appropriate that I teach a very simple Qigong exercise for the heart. This can be done right after you finish reading this article, without even getting up from your chair!
Relax, but sit up straight, preferably at the edge of your seat. Rest your hands on your thighs, palms facing up. Inhale ( abdominal breathing preferred ) while you slowly close your hands, making sure the inner fingers press against the palms. This stimulates the heart meridian. Slowly unclench as you exhale. Repeat this for one or two minutes. Simple, isn’t it? For more effectiveness, imagine healing qi flowing from the heart to all the important organs, just as the heart nourishes the entire body with blood, oxygen and nutrients.
You may recall that this clenching exercise is a simplified version of the clenching done during the One-Step-Point variation of the Qigong Walk.
The risk factors for heart disease have been identified to include genetic ( therefore, race and family history ), gender, age, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and triglycerides, smoking, stress and lack of exercise. Heart disease is also closely linked to diabetes, and therefore glucose-insulin metabolism.
The role of qi has yet to be accepted by western medicine, but the role of energy dynamics is increasingly being recognized. Scientists now realize the important role of Co-enzyme Q10 in heart health, and that it depletes rapidly with age, and is severely deficient in most patients with weak hearts. Fifteen years ago, when proponents of nutritional healing first recommended Co-enzyme Q10 for health maintenance, it was brushed aside as another of those spurious claims. Now many cardiologists are prescribing it to their patients.
I would like to thank The Star for carrying the announcements for my seminar and Qigong course that obviated the need for advertisements and reduced the costs to participants.