Qi Gong (Chee Kung) - a way to health and vitality
An ancient (over 2500 years old) Chinese preventative and healing art that has stood the test
of time, practised effortlessly by millions worldwide, by the able bodied and not so able bodied,
young and old, rich and poor, isn’t it time you benefited too?
The art (and science) is called Qigong (also spelled Ch'i Kung, sometimes spelled Qi Gong)
and is a powerful system of healing and energy medicine from ancient China, still used
today, and here in the west. It is, in short, the art and science of using breathing techniques,
gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate our life energy
(known as Qi). Qigong practice leads to better health and vitality and a tranquil state of mind.
It is both preventative and in some cases curative.
Qigong can be practised from standing, seated, or lying down positions, is suitable for young
and old, is easy and cheap to learn, it aids recovery from illness or injury and works well with
other treatments you may be having – so what’s not to like?
Well, so many hear or see the word and switch off, their baggage kicks in, their judgements kick in and they dismiss it as too difficult to pronounce – what, really? Chee Kung – so simple – and they also dismiss it as foreign and woo woo. Woo Wei if that is you, that is entirely your stuff. Why not give something a try, despite what it’s called, experience the benefits for yourself, and then if you really must go back to an unhelpful pattern of judgement, do that. Judgement certainly won’t heal you.
Don’t be like the kid who says, “I don’t like eggs” without ever tasting them. Your health could be missing out big time.
Another reasons people have given me for not doing it is that it takes time and application. We are so obsessed with quick fixes through a pill, despite its side effects, and too lazy to do something which requires our input, that many just do not DO what is needed to make themselves well again. Let that not be you! Your health is down to you – not a pill!
Qigong is a form of complementary medicine. It works well with other forms of therapy and should never be used as a substitute for necessary treatment by a physician.
I am a great advocate of the ancient Chinese practice of Qi Gong (pronounced CHEE-kung) which combines slow, deliberate movements, a form of meditation, and breathing exercises. It helps your circulation, balance, and body alignment. It can also help restore your energy, called chi or qi (pronounced "chee"). Evidence demonstrates that qi gong can be an effective aide in the treatment of many illnesses including cancer and heart disease.
It was taught originally to me by Sufi Andy Cusick in Glasgow and then I practised each day with the aid of this well put together video on-line course by Marcus Santer at enjoyqigong.com
Opposite is an introductory video by Marcus and a special offer to learn.
The benefits of Qi Gong in its fullest sense – physical (movement and breathing),
mental (meditating), emotional (adopting right attitude), to your health are many.
In general they include improved overall well-being and health. Qi Gong is a whole
body, whole system approach to health. In general, it is claimed to cure specific ills a
nd not only adds years to your life, but life to your years. Research suggests that
Qigong may be beneficial for Asthma, Arthritis, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease,
Chronic Fatigue, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, Pain, and a wide variety of
And it takes just 15 minutes once or twice a day, is cheap and is easy to learn. More specifically it offers : -
Improved energy and clarity of mind – Within a day of my first training, I found within an energy I had not felt in years. I felt a positivity of mind that had long since gone. And low feelings of depression lifted. Not bad for starters.
Tranquility of mind – as the mind became more at peace, the world seemed to be at peace. At least my way of dealing with the world was more tranquil, my decisions were wiser, and as healing comes from peace, I sensed that healing was taking place.
Deep, quality sleep – I had been through a stressful period and was finding it difficult to sleep. Within days of taking up Qi Gong I found it easy to fall asleep and to sleep a deep restorative sleep for about eight hours.
Improved circulation – as someone with a diabetes diagnoses I suffered from neuropathic pains in the feet and legs. Doctors could offer no relief. But again, within days of starting Qi Gong, the neuropathic pains reduced in frequency and intensity and contributed to being able to sleep at night without the pain interfering.
Inner laugh – a simple but profound part of the practice was to “smile from the heart” and as the practice deepened I was aware of a deepening, inner smile, and a developing more joyous and optimistic disposition.
Enhanced intuition and creativity - intuition and creativity generate each other and come from the same source, an awakened brain and being, an ability to think with the gut, to feel with the mind. I found my intuitive and creative inner resources strengthen and be more regularly to the fore.
Improved and clearer skin - the skin, like the intestines, is an organ of elimination. Think sweat! According to Chinese medicine, as your energy flow improves, in this case through your regular practice of Qi Gong, your body more effectively eliminates toxins, and the skin becomes clear.
More efficient metabolism - our bodies get the energy they need from food through metabolism, the chemical reactions in the body's cells that convert the fuel from food into the energy needed to do everything from moving to thinking to growing. My digestion improved, bloating diminished, and hair and nails were healthier.
Spiritual development – I found my spiritual life become stronger, my interests more intense, I felt called to study for a Master and Doctorate in Metaphysics. Now this is my particular experience (so far) but all you need know is that, advancement in qigong is often accompanied by a variety of spiritual experiences. You may have synchronistic, meaningful coincidences, become more insightful, more intuitive, more interested in deeper and more meaningful aspects of life and living. When the qi (energy) is abundant, clear, and flowing, the senses perceive and are permeated by a rich sweetness of life.
From my teachers I’ve also been told of benefits that include : -
Brighter eyes – because through Qi Gong the Spirit and the Soul shine through the eyes and the heart opens with Love, kindness, understanding and compassion.
Body balances – through regular practice on gains greater physiological control. Aspects of the body that were imbalanced or out of control begin to normalise. Poor health is when the body is out of balance in some way, regular Qi Gong practice gently allows the body to rebalance. Tis could include improvement in breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, hormone levels, and states of chronic inflammation or energy depletion.
Increased sexual energy, improved libido, sexual vitality and fertility.
Qigong is especially effective in reducing stress, thereby enhancing the immune system and preventing illness. As almost 80% of all illness is triggered by stress, Qi Gong is a route back to health. It is a proven way to begin anti-aging and it shows people how to take more responsibility for their own health care and achieve benefits for their body, mind, and spirit. This is increasingly important in our society in the face of declining health care services and options.
Way of life
Most importantly, Qigong is not just a physical exercise system or a healing technique; it is a way of being. A way of life.
How do I go about it?
It would be misguided to attempt to teach Qi Gong here. But here are some things you can do if all this seems to resonate: -
If your interest has been sparked, inform yourself, read up about it, sign up to key organisations, watch videos freely available on the internet.
Seek out a local teacher. Search on-line or ask at your local college, library, or school or there may be local health agencies which can direct you and in some cases offer free or reduced fee classes.
Buy an instructional DVD and follow through. Search on www.amazon.co.uk
If necessary, consider an on-line course…especially if you want a deeper understanding of Qi Gong
Make connection with key organisations
Watch you tube videos, they’re free –just key in Marcus Santer and you will find plenty of exercises
And how do I practise it?
As I said, it would be inappropriate to attempt to teach this here – though opposite
you will find a free- introductory video by Marcus Santer.
There are various practices you can advance to but essentiall each consists
of low-impact moving meditations – with a focus on movement, right attitude,
and mental application. This is not meditation as many imagine, sitting cross legged,
eyes closed, chanting. Instead Qi Gong meditations or practice exercises include standing
and balancing, with body postures flowing effortlessly together without pause,
making qi gong look like a slow, graceful dance that keeps your body in constant
motion and balance.
The moving meditation is a very low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on joints and muscles.
There are no gymnastic crunches or aerobic workouts. No sweaty push ups.
But you will use
Your Body Core: as you flow from move to move.
Your Arms: Gentle, flowing arm movements are part of your practice.
Your Back: Qi gong uses your whole body, including the muscles in your back.
Your Glutes: The exercises don’t specifically target the glutes, but those muscles will be gently exercised as you move.
Your Legs: You do the movements standing up, so qi gong gently exercises your leg leg muscles. (Remember you can also adapt exercise for sitting or lying down too!)
The practices help improve flexibility and build strength but ever so subtly.
The practice is best done outside in an open space where you can breathe in the universal life force without constraint of walls but inside works well too.
The gentle, flowing movements are easy on the joints. But check with your doctor first if you have any concerns, or conditions such as diabetes or circulation problems or have recently had surgery.
Questions for you
Now, when will you start?
What’s your plan to inform yourself?
How will you learn?
Which time(s) of the day will you set aside for your practice?
And where will you do it?
And what will you wear? Lose fitting clothes are best!