How Chi Kung Overcomes So Called
What is Chi Kung?
Chi Kung (or Qigong as it is also spelt) is the art of deliberately managing your vital
energy. Vital energy is the force that enables you and everyone else to be alive. It is
easier to learn than Tai Chi and less strenuous than Yoga. Chi Kung combines
simple external body movements with gentle breathing methods and is performed in
a meditative state of mind. It is the oldest of the 5 branches of Traditional Chinese
Medicine (TCM), practiced by millions of people daily worldwide and has a written
record going back 5000 years. It requires zero athleticism or investment in
equipment. If you can spare 10-15 minutes a day, you can practice this art. In case
you were wondering Chi Kung and Qigong are different spellings of the same thing.
There is Only 1 Illness!
In order to easily understand how Chi Kung overcomes pain and illness we first need
to look at 2 very important concepts of TCM.
Yin Yang Theory - I’m sure you recognise this symbol and have
heard of Yin and Yang. You cannot go to the shops and buy a bag
of Yin or a kilo of Yang. They are just symbols and it is important
to know right from the start that nothing is completely Yin or
completely Yang. Yin Yang theory is a theory of relativity. At its
simplest something is either Yin or Yang when in relationship to something else. For
example in a relationship between a boy and a girl, the boy is more Yang (male)
compared with the girl who more is Yin (female). But if we take a different
relationship say between a boy and a man the boy is more Yin compared with the
man who is more Yang. Yin and Yang can be used in all relationships. For example:
Front/back, night/day, slow/fast, chronic/acute etc.
Something is only Yin or Yang in relationship to something else.
In TCM, we use Yin and Yang to describe contrasting characteristics that are relative
to each other. When we look at health we use Yin to represent our body’s natural
ability to respond to our constantly changing environment and Yang to represent all
the factors that may cause illness.
In TCM there is only one illness and that is Yin Yang disharmony. Or put another
way it means our body has failed in its natural ability to respond appropriately to
disease causing agents. Fortunately Good Health Is Your Birthright and Yin Yang
disharmony is unnatural.
The great news is that:
From the TCM view of medicine there is no such thing as an incurable disease!
If we can restore the balance between Yin and Yang we will restore health. However
if an illness has been left untreated for too long it may not be possible to fully restore
Yin Yang Harmony.
Meridians – Chi/Qi (or energy) flows throughout the body along streams called
meridians. Like a stream the flow may be just a trickle or it may be a strong river.
There are 12 primary and 8 secondary meridians. The primary meridians flow
through internal organs and the secondary ones do not. When your energy (or Chi or
Qi) flows harmoniously through the meridians you have good health. When
blockages to the flow occur they reduce the flow of energy. These blockages can
lead to pain, disease or illness. If the blockage is severe enough to stop the flow of
energy completely death quickly follows.
Blockages to energy flow can occur in 4 different ways:
1) Physical – if you accidentally cut yourself or fall over this may cause a
physical blockage to the flow of energy around your body. Neither of
these examples will be too severe, unlike a car crash that may cause
severe physical blockage to the flow of energy through the meridians.
2) Emotional – if you have been suffering from a lot of stress over a
sustained period of time this will cause emotional blockages, other
emotional factors to consider include regular and prolonged exposure to
fear, anxiety and worry.
3) Mental – I remember when I first learnt this one. I simply couldn’t believe
it, but from my own experience I have discovered it to be true. The
number one cause of mental blockages is: Thinking too much! That’s
right; thinking too much is bad for your health.
4) Spiritual – the most obvious example of a spiritual blockage is
depression. Depression crushes the human spirit and affects you
physically, emotionally and mentally.
In practice, blockages do not occur in isolation. I.e. an event occurs and causes an
emotional blockage only. More common is that an event will affect you in a number
of different ways and have an effect on one or more of the four aspects listed above.
This happens because they are all interdependent. The four definitions are given in
isolation to aid our understanding of how chi kung works.
The forte of Chi Kung is two fold:
1) It removes blockages to the harmonious flow of energy through the
meridians of your body. Whether these blockages are physical,
emotional, mental or spiritual in origin makes little difference to the
effectiveness of Chi Kung.
2) Once energy blockages are removed, Chi Kung can then increase
the flow of energy through the meridians promoting vitality and longevity.
I would like to mention at this point that it is vital you start removing any blockages
before increasing the flow of energy. An example will help show why. Imagine a
hose pipe full of knots and tangles, turn the tap on slightly and a small trickle may
come out of the other end of the pipe, but if you increase the pressure by turning the
tap on full, the water will not be able to flow through the pipe quickly enough and you
will get problems: a burst hose, damage to the tap, water backing up etc. If you
straighten out the hose beforehand, you avoid this problem.
Remember: Repair then Build!
There’s More Than One Way To Look At It
Now it’s important that you realise that I’m not against Western Medicine. TCM and
Western medicine simply look at health using a different model. Remember a model
is just a way of looking at the same things and events. It is not a set of facts.
Using the Western medical model to look at a person with high blood pressure, we
view him as having too much cholesterol choking his blood vessels.
Using the TCM model and looking at exactly the same person in exactly the same
situation, we view him as having Yin Yang disharmony.
The question of which paradigm is correct is not very useful, because both are
correct in their own way.
A better question is which paradigm helps to overcome the immediate problems?
The Shaolin Wahnam Institute has used the TCM model successfully in helping
many people to overcome so called incurable diseases. But in an immediate
situation, like in a car accident, the Western medical paradigm may be more
Chi Kung healing views a human as being made up of 3 parts:
1. Jing (physical body)
2. Chi (energy)
3. Shen (Spirit).
Depression for example is a Yin Yang disharmony of the Spirit (Shen). A disorder of
the Spirit will also affect energy (Chi) and the physical body (Jing).
There are many different ways to cure illness. Western medicine and Chi Kung
healing are only two of these many ways. Western medicine is usually thematic
whereas Chi Kung healing can be thematic and holistic.
Taking medical drugs to manage blood pressure is a thematic approach. It is
thematic because it does not improve the health of the patient as a whole person, it
addresses his particular problem. If he has a stomach problem later, he would need
a different treatment.
In Chi Kung healing, the approach can be thematic or holistic. By performing a
specific Chi Kung exercises, he can overcome high blood pressure.
But he will need a different exercise to overcome a stomach problem. In such cases,
this approach is thematic. This approach is used when the healer wants to
emphasize a particular purpose in the healing.
But Chi Kung healing can also be holistic in that it doesn’t just treat the presenting
problem, it treats the root cause. In fact Chi Kung healing is usually holistic.
An excellent example of holistic healing is self-manifested chi flow (a wonderful
exercise for curing illness). It does not matter what the illness is, the chi flow will
eventually overcome the illness as well as other illnesses the healer and the patient
may not even be aware of.
It is interesting to note that in China the Western paradigm and the TCM paradigm
are used together. It is not unusual for a person who has undergone an operation to
receive acupuncture, be given herbs or Chi Kung exercises to help them to recover
quickly and heal completely.
Remember: It’s not a question of which is best; it’s a question of which
approach addresses the immediate needs.
And There’s More...
Chi Kung has more to offer a regular practitioner than just overcoming pain and
illness and improving health. When we remove blockages to the harmonious flow of
energy in our meridians and then increase that flow of energy, we now have more
vitality to enjoy every aspect of our lives and increase the pleasure we get from our
work and play.
Having a harmonious flow of energy through our internal organs keeps our organs in
peak condition and will allow us to live to a ripe old age. The practice of Chi Kung
also brings with it Spiritual Insights. You can gain insights into universal reality that
confirm there really is more to life than this.
I’d like to emphasise that Spiritual does not mean Religious. A person of any
religious faith can practice and receive the benefits of Chi Kung. Chi Kung is nonreligious.
By spiritual I mean being in touch with who you really are, the deepest part
of you. Everyone has a spiritual life, a spiritual journey. If you are involved with a
specific religion then that might be spiritual for you. If you’re not religious then
anything that gets you in touch with your inner self e.g. quiet time, meditation,
listening to music, reading great books, might be spiritual for you. This part of your
life can only be defined by you. Our spirituality is so important to our health and
wellbeing, but it’s often the most neglected.
Not All Chi Kung Is The Same!
You need to know what to look out for when choosing a Chi Kung class because
there are three levels of Chi Kung taught today:
Low level Chi Kung. This is where only the form is practiced. Strictly speaking
this is not even Chi Kung, it is Chi Kung form. Unfortunately it is the level at
which the vast majority of Chi Kung in the world is practiced today.
The benefits you get are minimal and less effective than traditional Western
exercises like swimming, running or working out in the gym. This level of Chi
Kung will not help you to overcome pain and illness, it will not improve your
health, increase your vitality, promote longevity, enhance mental clarity or give
you glimpses of cosmic reality.
Middle level Chi Kung is where a practitioner actively seeks to influence his
energy flow, by removing energy blockages and increasing energy flow. This is
the minimum level you want to be practicing Chi Kung at if you wish to gain all of
the benefits I mentioned earlier.
High level Chi Kung is where the mind is used and has always been very rare.
Here a practitioner enters into a higher state of conscious-ness called a “Chi
Kung State of Mind” and is able to directly manipulate energy the way they want,
such as tapping energy from the cosmos, channelling energy to various parts of
their body or being able to transmit energy to people in other countries to speed
up their healing!
You CAN take back the responsibility for:
Through the practice of high level Chi Kung.
Sifu Marcus Santer, United Kingdom