Qigong and Tai Chi for Health
WHAT IS TAI CHI AND QIGONG?
Developed over millennia in Chinese monasteries, hospitals, and imperial courts, tai chi and qigong have been used to promote health, emotional happiness, and spiritual development. These methods combine movement, postural alignment, breath, and mental intention to balance and enhance one’s vital life energy. Tai chi and qigong, sometimes referred to as Chinese yoga, are a significant part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also includes acupuncture, herbal medicines, and tuina (Chinese massage).
Long kept a carefully guarded secret from the Chinese public, qigong has recently come into widespread use throughout the Far East. Now, in the West, it is viewed as a health and human performance breakthrough, as well as an excellent tool for self-improvement and a safe, gentle, proven approach to treating pain and dis-ease.
Qigong/Tai Chi classes now being offered.
The practice of Qigong involves movement, visualization, sound, and conscious integration of one’s internal energy with the external energy present within every living thing. In that flow of energy, you are literally placing yourself into an ocean of life force energy. You are one drop of water in the ocean. In practicing qigong, one experiences being part of the oneness of creation. The only thing required is to allow one’s self to experience the gentle sensations occurring from doing. In describing contemplative practice, people talk about being versus doing. In qigong practice they are the same thing. By doing you are experiencing being. You feel relaxed, you feel deep peace as all levels of one’s self come into relationship and connect with the oneness that exists in the universe.
—Master Mingtong Gu,
founder of Wisdom Healing Qigong, in Petaluma, California
THREE BENEFITS OF PRACTICING TAI CHI AND QIGONG
Improved Oxygen Supply
Under healthy conditions, the body cells and tissue receive oxygen as needed. This helps repel disease, which cannot thrive in a high-oxygen environment. During tai chi and qigong practice, the body becomes deeply relaxed and oxygen is absorbed from the blood by the tissues. Unlike more vigorous physical activities in which oxygen is utilized by the muscles, during the practice of tai chi and qigong, oxygen is distributed throughout the body, including areas that may be harboring diseased cells. The higher the oxygen supply, the more readily one’s body can reverse a condition of dis-ease.
The process [of practicing Qigong] removes inner barriers that exist between the heart, mind, and emotions and how these manifest themselves in the body. As a result there is a growing appreciation for the body. . . . Today there are practitioners and teachers in all the continents and an ever-growing number who are reaping the harvest of this beautiful and moving practice. Ultimately, the practice is a key into one’s own heart.
—Master Li Jun Feng
Improved Balance of the Autonomic Nervous System
The second major effect of tai chi and qigong on disease involves balancing the two branches of the ANS: (1) the sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze) and (2) the para-sympathetic (calm/centered/comforted) systems. Tai chi and qigong increase a person’s ability to relax, which in turn reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and increases immune function.
The beauty of qigong is that you can literally feel the sensation of the activation of the natural healing respond internally. The Chinese call this qi sensation. We might call it the sensation of naturally occurring self-healing resources.
—Roger Jahnke, O.M.D
Improved Lymphatic Function
Tai chi and qigong exert a powerful influence on the lymphatic system. The practice of tai chi and qigong stimulates circulation of the lymphatic fluid enhancing the immune cells by detoxifying the body. The combined effects of improving the nervous system, enhancing mood and relaxation, and strengthening the lymphatic system make up qigong’s main therapeutic benefits.
Just as our bodies need oxygen to sustain life, our bodies also need qi to cleanse us of toxins, creating inner reservoirs of healing and vitality.
—Ted Cibik, D.M.Q., N.D., Ph.D
Peter Wayne, Ph.D. of Harvard Medical School recently spoke about the role of tai chi and qigong in preserving and rehabilitating some age- and chronic disease-related mental and physical decline. A video of his lecture can be seen at https://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=19669&bhcp=1?nav=govd.
TAI CHI AND QIGONG ARE REPORTED TO BE USEFUL FOR:
- Increasing vitality and longevity
- Achieving and maintaining optimal health
- Relieving stress and improving concentration
- Aiding in the healing of major illnesses
- Improving strength and balance
- Integrating body, mind, and spirit
- Helping relieve pain and stiffness
- Improving balance and stability in older people and in those with Parkinson’s disease
- Improving quality of life in people with heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses
- Improving reasoning ability in older people
- Possibly easing fibromyalgia pain and promoting quality of life
TAIJI FIVE-ELEMENT MEDICAL QIGONG
Taiji Five-Element Medical Qigong is a system developed to rapidly reveal one’s human self-healing potential, boost one’s immune function, and increase one’s internal healing capability. The major component of the Taiji Five-Element Self-Recovery System was developed by Master Binhui He over years of clinical experience with thousands of patients. It is a unique, easy-to-follow meditative program that provides a peaceful mind and relaxed body, and balances one’s qi (life force) energy. The guided meditation and visualization of Taiji Five-Element Medical Qigong is combined with soothing sounds and music to allow one to achieve homeostasis (balance) in mind, body, and spirit. Taiji Five-Element Medical Qigong is a useful complementary therapy for pain management and stress reduction and is often very helpful for cancer patients.
Dr. Trekell has studied this form with Professor Kevin Chen, Ph.D. at the Center of Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.
She continues to practice this form of medical qigong daily, noting that doing so allows her to feel more grounded and centered, especially when used before she practices her other qigong forms.
Guolinxinqigong was introduced to the public in China in the early 1970s. Guo Lin was a female qigong master who not only recovered from a very serious form of cancer by using this form of qigong, but who also lived many years after teaching it to others. Many of those who have practiced Guolinxinqigong have also experienced personal healing, remission of cancer, and increased longevity. Large numbers of people still practice this invigorating walking qigong in parks throughout China. The efficacy of practicing Guolinxinqigong is now being recognized and researched in the United States. In 2011, when Sharon was studying medical qigong in China, she observed many people engaging in this formof qigong. As it is very easy to do, Sharon integrates it into her weekly practice and sometimes teaches it in her classes.
Dr. Trekell is certified in Integral Qigong and Tai Chi by the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi (IIQTC) in Santa Barbara, where she completed its 200-hour teaching certificate. In addition to this certification, she has practiced qigong for 25 years, studying with such notable teachers as Master Mingtong Gu (Wisdom Healing Qigong), Grand Master Hong Liu, M.D., Master Ted Cibik, N.D, D.M.Q., Ph.D., and Master Li Jun Feng (founder of Shengzhen Qigong—a Qigong of Unconditional Love). She has also studied medical qigong in China with Grand Master Wan Su Jian, Chairman of Medical Qigong General Headquarters in Beijing.