“Modern science cannot explain it. Only Chinese Medical Theory can explain Qigong’s curative powers”, he said.
CHINESE MEDICAL THEORY ON QI
This explanation is recorded in “The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic”, a medical reference from the third century BCE. It describes the regulation of the flow of blood and qi, taking Chinese medicines while observing their yin and yang properties, relaxation, and calming the mind as essential health therapies. The theory states that circulating qi through the body can restore health, increase strength and improve mental power. It states that qi can also slow and reverse aging. So the subject of “anti-aging” is nothing new to Qigong masters. Masters who practice a lot and take care of their diet and lifestyle usually look many years younger than their age. They are of course very healthy.
Closer to home, Uncle Koh is an elderly gentleman who was incapacitated by severe Parkinson’s disease and for years could only walk slowly using his walking-stick. After only several weeks of Qigong practice, he threw away the sick. Now, five months later, he can even drive his car confidently.
These two cases illustrate that Qigong therapy is effective, either through the services of a good Qigong healer, or through self-therapy by learning and practising the exercises sufficiently. Although there are occasions ( eg. acute cases like slipped discs ) when Qigong external healing is necessary, self-therapy is always preferred because the healing process can continue as long as you continue to practise, and once healed, further practice will prevent a recurrence. For the healthy, Qigong practice is of course an effective form of preventive medicine.
Qigong has a history dating over two thousand years, and many styles have evolved over these years. Although much is talked about its effects on physical health, the practice of Qigong in fact goes beyond the physical.
Qigong began as a physical, breathing, and meditative exercise practiced by monks to strengthen their body, mind and spirit. It harnesses the power of the mind to regulate the flow of health-enriching qi. Thus those who are accustomed to meditation will find it easy to master the art, as the mind is more able to focus on the breath, the postures, the movements and the flow of qi. These monks acquired tremendous physical abilities that made them formidable fighters, and many also became accomplished healers. For generations, this art was only taught by masters to very selected disciples.
These monks were relied upon by the rulers to help in the defence of their territories against enemies, and the healers among them helped the sick even when traditional physicians could not. These stories, especially about their physical prowess, have been immortalised in stage plays and movies. Although these stories are more known for their Kung Fu fighting scenes, the real strength of these monks was in their Qigong training.
SELF-HEALING WITH QIGONG
In modern times, when it became known that the healing effects can also be achieved by anyone who practices Qigong, without having to rely on a healer, Qigong practice became a popular healthy exercise and self-therapy method. Thousands have since benefited, including many who have recovered from “terminal” cancers after their own doctors had given up hope on them. The Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club ( Shanghai, China ) alone have records of hundreds of such cases ( who remained cancer-free for five years or more ). In Malaysia, we also have dozens of such cases known to the various Qigong associations. However, since there are no proper studies done, all these testimonies are still “inconclusive” as far as scientific evidence is concerned.
Fortunately, in China, the Government recognizes Qigong as an effective form of therapy, and “Medical Qigong” treatment is offered in many hospitals. “Qigong doctors” are also being accredited. Many scientific studies have been conducted, with good results, but the overall findings have yet to meet the standards demanded by Western science. There are also regular scientific conferences on Medical Qigong. Since it will take a lot of money to conduct large studies, the search for conclusive scientific evidence can only come to fruition if a university or government institution decides to conduct the study. Until then, we will have to rely on the available research reports and testimonies.
The Chinese Government has also embarked on a program to remove the esoterics and mystery surrounding Qigong, and promote it solely as a health-enhancing exercise. It wants to dissociate the healing benefits from the philosophical and spiritual aspects of Qigong to prevent a resurgence of groups like the Falung Gong, which had problems with the authorities, and resulted in the restriction of the practice of all forms of Qigong in China for sometime. Although this means that much of the beauty of Qigong will be removed, it will at least ensure that everyone is once again allowed to practise the art to gain health. Qigong practitioners elsewhere are more fortunate since they can practise Qigong fully.
If you value your life, then you should value your health. If you value your health, then you should do everything necessary to maintain good health, prevent disease, and heal promptly from any illness. You must switch to a nutrient-rich diet and live a healthy lifestyle. You must not smoke or drink excessively. You must exercise enough, including doing the mind-body exercises. The range of Qigong exercises include aerobics, muscle-building and mind-body exercises. I therefore strongly recommend that you learn and practise Qigong.
QIGONG EXERCISES ARE EASY & ENJOYABLE
Most of the exercises are simple and enjoyable, and can be learnt by anyone, and is sure to keep you healthy and free of most chronic diseases. Only those who choose to learn the advanced levels need to master the more difficult exercises that also require good concentration, visualization, and dedication; and they must also learn the Chinese Medical Theory regarding qi.
There are exercises that are like Yoga, Tai Chi and even Kung Fu. For health, you practise the slower exercises. For fitness, self-defence and for performing unusual physical feats, you practise the Kung Fu-like exercises. So Qigong can cater for everyone’s needs. Children as young as two can start learning simplified versions of Qigong!
A typical practice session starts with warm-up and stretching exercises just as when starting aerobics or gym work. The proper Qigong session always begins with an “opening” exercise to open the energy centres and get the qi flowing. The starting exercises are always stationary, followed by exercises with slow arm movements. The qi flow through all the major energy channels are stimulated, and all the major organs are nourished with the healing energy.
I always do a set of Qigong spine-stretching exercises which send the qi up and down the spine while it is being stretched and relaxed. Since back problems is a major concern for many people ( even for young people nowadays ), strengthening the spinal and enriching it with qi is essential. Many people, including several of my doctor friends who have back problems, have benefited from practising these exercises.
Then, if time permits, I do about 40 minutes of the Amazing Qigong Walk. Doing several walking styles, and varying the route makes the walk enjoyable. Even when I do my gym work, I never fail to do the Amazing Qigong Walk on the treadmill. I have met many cancer survivors who attributed their recovery to practicing Qigong, especially this special walk. Knowing that our lifetime risk of getting cancer is as high as one in four, I try to do the walk whenever possible.
There are exercises to improve strength, stamina and aerobic capacity. There are exercises against heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, gout, asthma, and most chronic disease. For lovers, there are exercises that improve sexual performance, which many Qigong masters are noted for. There are even exercises to make the face look young. So you can choose your exercises according to what you hope to achieve.
The session always ends with “closing” exercises which are also stationary, and return the body from the “excited” high-flowing qi state to the normal state. Qi is stored in the main energy centre ( dan tien, in the lower abdomen ) and excess qi is rubbed on the face and any sore points.
It is advisable to rest for at least 10 minutes ( 30 minutes if possible ) after the session ends so that the continuing qi flow can still be harnessed by the body. During this period, it is best not to talk ( closing the eyes is even better ). If that is not possible, then at least try to avoid eating or bathing. Drinking to overcome a dry throat is permissible.
You are sure to be energetic for the rest of the day after that!