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Chinese Kung Fu Preview: Chi Kung or Qigong and Taoism

Chinese Kung Fu Preview: Chi Kung or Qigong and Taoism

Qigong is being used as part of the Traditional Chinese Medication (TCM) in preventive and therapeutic health care. Qi is seen as the vital energy in one’s body to maintain life. Qigong will train one to work on physical to control and exercise this energy for own good or if becomes an expert, one can even use ‘qi’ for treatment.

Qigong, massage and acupuncture are part of TCM based on Taoism. After 5000 years development, there are more than 3,000 varieties of qigong, and five major qigong traditions, namely Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, martial arts, and medical. Qigong has two types “soft” and “hard” qigong. “Soft” qigong is called inner qigong or soft qigong such as Taiji. One sample of hard qigong is the famous Shaolin gongfu.

Medical qigong involves qi exercises combined with meditation. The qi exercises will bring one to a state of meditation. Distress and anxiety will be driven away during the meditation. Positive thinking with great confidence is affirmed. Concentration can be easily achieved. Through the exercise, one gains control of the body and thus have good feelings about life. This in turn stimulates circulation of blood and qi.

Exercise is good for patients as well as any age group who would like to maintain good health and a state of peaceful mind. Qigong is good in treatment of mental and physical stress.

Today, There are more than 70 million Chinese practicing qigong, some for treatment and most as a physical exercise. Qigong lets people experiencing higher levels of energy and stamina, and slow down the aging process. It may not be effective in treating acute illness or medical emergencies. It is good in preventing disease and also treating chronic conditions or disabilities.

The West starts to recognize the effectiveness of Qigong and TCM. In 1988 Chinese held the first World Conference for Qigong Medical Research in Beijing, and latter followed by a series of conferences held in Tokyo, Berkeley and New York City. Psychologists, physiologists and medical researchers start to study qigong as a new alternative medication. Many qigong clubs have been established outside of China to teach people to exercise qigong.

Qigong will smooth the process of delivering oxygen to the cells, reduces stress and improve bowel functioning. Chinese doctors have applied qigong in hospitals and clinics to treat individuals suffering from a variety of ailments. These include allergies, arthritis, asthma, bowel problems, constipation, diabetes, gastritis, gout, headaches, heart disease and hypertension. The list can go on to chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lower back pain, myopia, obesity, neurasthenia, paralysis induced by external injury, retinopathy, rheumatism, sciatic neuralgia, sleeplessness, stress, ulcers, and peripheral vascular disease.

Qigong can be used to treat cancer and reduce or eliminate side effects from radiation and chemotherapy. It will help in treating aphasia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease and post-stroke syndrome. It is especially useful in treating any kind of chronic pain, and chronic disorders of the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Qigong can help one fight virtually any disease. Through qigong, patients can strengthen inner energy and thus increase the chance to survive from many diseases, which Western doctors thinks untreatable.

Qigong just like any other exercise has to be taught and trained under the guidance of a licensed Chinese medical doctor. Beginners need professional supervision from doctor or qigong practitioner who will provide advice and guidance. It requires discipline and persistence to see the result.

Superstition or it works

To understand and judge it, first have to know the basis of TCM, Taoism. Chinese philosophies always believe that everything including the universe is interrelated and changing all the time. One has to reach peaceful state of mind and harmony with the surrounding to maintain good health. Any harmful thing done to others will bring long lasting mental and physical damage to self at the end.

Human organism is just like a miniature version of the universe. They are inter-related and interplay in the five basic elements, i.e., wood, fire, earth, gold (or metal) and water. They are constantly interacting in between the opposing and unifying forces – yin and yang. Health is achieved when the equilibrium can be maintained or sickness will appear when it is out of balance. This is the basic law that human and nature all have to follow.

Qi is the life force, which flows through all the yin and yang organs. Deficiency of qi in any organ means that organ is out of balance. Inter-relatedness of all organs ensures proper flow of qi throughout the body. Each element has specific meridian for the flow of qi. The solid organs of Yang store the qi and the hollow organs of Yin transform nutrients into qi and discharge the wastes.

Acupuncture help to restore the balance for normal flow of qi, while the herb helps to remove any excess or deficiency of qi. Imbalance of qi means imbalance between yin and yang. An organ will adversely affect the next organ in the controlling (destructive) cycle. For example, if the heart is imbalance, the heart will adversely affect the lungs, and the imbalance of qi within the small intestine will adversely affect the large intestine. Imbalance also means either too much of yin or too much of yang.

One of the qigong exercises is specially designed for alleviation of the imbalance of human organs, to remove tension, stress, anger and anxiety, which can inhibit the absorption of necessary nutrients. 

Qi comes into and goes out a process through the interplay of the Five Elements. The universe maintains its balance also through the yin and yang balance of qi. Since human body is a microcosm of the universe, it achieves the mental and physical harmony in the same way. Qi flows through the body via the meridians and their respective viscera in the productive and destructive cycles as interactions between the five elements. Qi has four directions, ascending and descending for transformation, entering and leaving for development. The original qi from the parents is stored-in the kidneys. The nutritional qi from the nutrients is stored in the food. Atmospheric qi is extracted from the air by the lungs. These are but some of the manifestations of the qi which comes from the motion of Tao. 

“Five Element” in qi means Five Movements of the Universal qi. Qi possesses the intrinsic ascending, descending, entering and leaving motions. Such movements constitute the yin and yang interactions. The movements also mean mutually productive, destructive or exclusive cycles among the five elements. Each element is identified with a particular orifice, organs, emotions and flavors. For example, wood can be burned to produce fire. Fire can transform the earth into ashes; the earth can contain gold and other metal; metal can be melted to become liquid, and water is essential for the growth of wood. In the destructive cycle the roots of the tree can penetrate the earth; the earth can replace water to become land; water can put out the fire; fire can melt the metal; and the metal as cutting tool can bring down the tree.

For the same, liver is associated with wood. Qi is passed on from liver to the heart. The heart is associated with fire. Qi is passed on from the heart to the spleen. The spleen is associated with the earth. Qi is passed on from spleen to the lungs. The lung is associated with metal. Qi is passed on from the lungs to the kidneys. Kidney is associated with water. Qi is passed on from the kidneys to liver and the generative cycle repeats itself.

In the area of nutrition, the five flavors enter through the gastro-intestinal tract, each seeks its affinity organ. That which is sour enters the liver. Bitter enters the heart. Sweet enters the spleen. Spicy or volatile substances enter the lungs. The salty enters the kidneys. The influences these flavors produce are upon each organ, yet each organ influences others in both generative and exclusive ways. The Five-Element System operates in cycles of mutual dependence, mutual generative, mutual nourishing, mutual exclusive, mutual controlling and other mutually inter-relative mechanisms. As parts of the body are interrelated and in turn human beings are interrelated with each other and with the cosmos, which is originated from the qi of the great unification. Life is an integrated process.

Chinese ancestors knew that nature is just like mother, nurturing human beings. Any environmental imbalance will bring great disasters to human beings. To maintain good health, one has to maintain internal balance of own body and also live in harmony with nature.

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