What is it: Qi Gong is a series of exercises combined with breath work and visualisations that have been practised in China for thousands of years. There are many different styles but they all have a focus on increasing the circulation of Qi or Life Force throughout the body.
Why do it: Traditionally Qi Gong was practised by Buddhist and Taoist monks as way of restoring balance, strengthening, healing and preparing their bodies for meditation. More recently it has spread to the West where it’s potential to cure chronic illness is now being explored by people searching for an alternative to Western Medicine.
Though each individual is unique the majority of practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine I have spoken to link CFS/ME to an imbalance of Qi in the kidneys. They also speak of trapped energy in the lower back manifesting in patients with CFS/ME as pain and stiffness.
Similar to Carl Jung’s psychological theories that our greatest power lies in our ‘Shadow Self’, the type of Qi Gong I began to study suggests that our sore spots are actually where all our energy is hiding, it’s just waiting to flow again. I like this idea as it puts the power back in our hands.
Until fairly recently there was a free hospital in China (Zhineng Qigong Center) that treated thousands of people each year using only Qi Gong. It had an incredible success rate and drew patients from all over the world.
How Often to Practise: To obtain the best results Qi Gong can be practised twice a day for around 2 hours. However for the average health seeker this is a little extreme and most teachers appear to advise a slowing building up to an hour a day.
My experience: (9/10/11) I recently came across Qi Gong when a man named Tim gave a presentation to my meditation group about his healing journey with Qi Gong over the last 15 years. He had struggled with CFS/ME for a few years and had just about given up on the roundabout of alternative therapies when he came across a Chinese Qi Gong master who offered healing sessions. Following the sessions Tim felt an immediate difference and began a very disciplined practice of Qi Gong. He never looked back and went on to make a full recovery discovering levels of energy and vitality he hadn’t thought possible.
I was very impressed with the exercises Tim showed us as well as the energy the man exhibited. I began a practise that night and have since had a number of healings with his master, a man by the name of Sheng. Sheng is a Chinese man who visited the Zhineng Qigong Hospital in China in the 1990’s and cured himself of Leaukemia (cancer of the blood or bone marrow). He lived at the hospital for a number of years and went on to train as a Qi Gong Healer and Teacher. In my opinion he’s a bit of a Master in the making. Like Tim he has a calm, collected and solid presence which suggests a deep spring of secret power hidden somewhere in his lithe physique.
Though I’m only at the very beginning of my practice I feel optimistic about the effect it will have on my well being. Already my 15 minute a day routine has helped clear a pain in my chest that has been lingering for a long time. If nothing else it seems to be a method of physical excercise that will add energy to my system rather than deplete it. Though I have aches, pains and tiredness after practising Sheng assures me this is just a result of the Qi beginning to circulate again after long periods of being blocked.
I believe him for now and I’m hoping to cultivate the discipline to practise Qi Gong each day before I meditate, pushing through the initial river of pain and fatigue to reach the sweet banks of vitality on the other side.
- Learn more about the Medicine Free Qigong hospital that used to operate in China.
- Explore the healing stories on this website for a hit of inspiration.
- Here’s a You Tube video of a guy from New York demonstrating the Zhineng style of Qi Gong.
Had an experience with Qi Gong?
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Where to Next?
Started your own Qi Gong practice? Why not combine it with a bit of Meditation or Yoga?