Tag Archives: Qi

Taiji Shibashi (十八) Instructors course

Taiji Shibashi Instructors Course – 2017

The Taiji Qigong Shibashi (十八) Instructor course is designed to provide Qigong instructors with all the tools and information needed to teach the Shibashi as true Qigong.

The Shibashi (also known as the Eighteen Postures of Taiji Qigong) is a set of Qigong exercises based on Taiji that adheres to the rules governing Taiji stances (in particular, the Wuji stance). These stances are fundamentally important if the practitioner wishes to get the most out of the Qigong.

Since the early 1980′s, when the Shibashi was introduced, in, the significance of the Taiji stances has been lost and their true use as Qigong has been diminished and the beneficial qualities have depleted.  Without a solid base (root) there is a conflict of focus and the cognitive mind (Yi) cannot be fully focused on guiding the Qi.  This being the case, during the course a lot of time is spent on attaining and recognizing proper posture.

Testimonials:

  • “……………… just wanted to thank you for a wonderful weekend.  It was brilliant, I really enjoyed it.  I gained much more than I expected to.  Thanks for opening my eyes.”
  • “Attending this Workshop was a very motivational experience; an exercise of discovery providing a brief insight into the amazing power of QiGong. I would recommend this inspirational workshop to all who have an interest in QiGong”
  • “I discovered that qigong was more powerful than I had ever imagined.  An excellent weekend and I learned so much more about myself that can be brought into my classes, I now feel more confident that I can deliver qigong more effectively to my students and also enjoy the benefits for myself, thank you so much.”
  • “I am so glad that I made the decision to attend a truly inspirational workshop and to have benefited from an introduction to the amazing powers of QiGong. I am aware that we only experienced an ‘insight’ but even so I consider that I am now in a better position to pass on quality teaching to my students, and having been an FE Lecturer for many years, I believe delivering quality is of paramount importance.
    I also thank you (and your wife) for your hospitality in providing delicious lunches and snacks – greatly appreciated!”
  • “Just thought I should send you a wee message to let you know how much doing the Qigong instructors course has helped me personally. I had just started 4th year at Uni when I came on the course. Uni has been horrendous and a few times it has been bad enough to make me consider leaving but doing Qigong has been a life saver. It has got me through some very tough times.
    Big thank you to you for teaching me this beautiful art. Qigong had definitely came into my life at the right time.”
  • “Thanks des. Really exceeded expectations. Will take time to assimilate the information properly before introducing to my classes.”
  • “Really interesting weekend – it has inspired me to continue on my path for which I thank you so much.”
  • “Learning about Chi and feeling the Chi was an experience.”
  • “Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.”
  • “Thank you Des. Really enjoyed the workshop and your style of teaching the group.”
  • “Excellent instructor, easily understood, good analysis, some helpful tips and suggestions. Thank you.”
  • “Really interesting course. Made me want to learn more about he background and how move have different effects on the various parts of the body.”
  • “Felt better about the postures and learning to be aware about the postures.”
  • “This has been a truly wonderful course.”
  • “A brilliant training course.”

 

Next course: –

Dates: Jan 28th & 29th, Feb 25th, and April 1st & 2nd 2017
Times: 10:00 till 17:00
Location: East Kilbride, Lanarkshire
Cost: £360.00
Booking: Pro Holistic Taiji Shibashi Qigong Instructor Course

A deposit of £60.00 is required, with the balance to be paid on the first day of the course. As spaces are limited, advanced booking is essential.

 

Qigong Basics, getting the most from Qigong

Qigong Basics

Qigong Basics - Qigong for health being practiced at sunset.

Qigong (pronounced Chi-Kung) is an ancient Chinese art for the promotion of health and, when written in Chinese, the word Qigong is comprised of two characters: Qi (anima, vital energy) and Gong (work, cultivation)…………… Qigong literally means energy work, or energy cultivation.  Before this work can be carried out effectively, the Qigong basics must be understood.

There are four main divisions of Qigong, and two methods.

Firstly, let us deal with the divisions of Qigong

  • Spiritual
  • Medical
  • Martial
  • Athletic

The choice of which method that is used is dependent on the goal of the practitioner. However, there is some overlap between the each of the methods.

 

Secondly, the two methods

  • Active qigong – Where physical movement is used to help the practitioner to guide the Qi.
  • Passive Qigong – Where there is no physical movement and it is purely the Yi (cognitive mind) that is used to guide the Qi.

The division of Qigong that we are dealing with here is Medical Qigong. This is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and according to TCM, Qi is life energy and the health of the body is reliant upon smooth, harmonious, flow of Qi within the body and disease is the result of poor Qi circulation and through Qigong it is possible to balance the flow of Qi allowing the body to heal itself.

The Qi is the intrinsic energy, the life force that we share with the rest of the natural world. Qi also refers to energy in the largest sense, it is the stuff of the universe, it is both matter and energy and link that bonds them together. Qi transcends and is not bounded by time or space.

Qigong works by using specific postures and movements of the body whilst combining them with focus (using directed breath) and intention. Through the use of these exercises, the Qi can be cultivated and replenished.

As previously stated, in the precept of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that all diseases are a result of blockage in the meridians (energy channels), causing obstructions and sluggishness in the flow of Qi. A person is healthy only when the Qi freely circulates through the meridians, nourishing all vital organs and tissues. The “Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine” (circa 250BC) states: “When the Qi is blocked, there is sickness. No blockage – no sickness”.

Literally thousands of styles of Qi Gong exist so it is a matter of finding the one that is suitable for your needs. Some styles are designed for general health and wellbeing and require daily practice. Other styles/exercises have specific therapeutic qualities and have been developed to treat specific ailments.

Qi Gong can be practiced by just about anyone, whether they are young or old, active, sedentary, or disabled.

Although there are many styles, they are founded on similar principles

  • A relaxed, grounded posture
  • A straight, supple spine
  • Breathing that uses the diaphragm
  • Fluid movement
  • Tranquil awareness

The quality of the Qi Gong practice is far more important than how often the practice is undertaken. Any aerobic exercise can be slowed down to the point where it appears, superficially, to resemble Qigong but as there is no intent, no focus and no guidance of the Qi, it is NOT Qigong.

It is far more beneficial to concentrate one or two styles, learning through experiential awareness than to learn many exercises superficially. It is vitally important to find a good Qigong teacher who has experience of Qi rather than experience of books.

 

Qigong Teachers

Qigong Basics - Painting rainbows,qigong style.

 

If you wish your website to be included on this page please see our Resources Page for details.

 

 

Healing Qigong at Pro Holistic, Lanarkshire

San Bao Martial Arts School

 

Resources

Further information on Qigong including case studies, etc.

If you wish to add further resource information about Qigong please contact us with the details.us with the details.

 

Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.

 

 

Stress Management the Holistic Way

Stress Management

Stress management - stress can affect anyone, even the carers.

Stress management refers to a variety of techniques and psychotherapies that are designed to controlling stress levels within an individual, especially chronic stress.

We all know, or at least think we know, what stress is but even the professionals, who have spent their lives studying it, still have difficulty in exactly what stress is. Despite their efforts over the last half-century there is still no agreed definition yet we all know what stress is, in the same way that we all know what happiness is, but like happiness it has different qualities for different people.

Basically, stress is a term that describes our natural fight or flight response. Our primeval survival response that helped our species to continue existing. It is this inborn response that prepares us for fight or flight from anything that we perceive as dangerous, or a threat to our survival. And in the interests of our survival, this response is extremely sensitive and is set to recognise and react to even minute levels of potential danger, whether it is real or merely a perception.

In the 21st Century we may not be being chased by sabre-toothed tigers but this response to danger is still hard-wired into our system. Today’s modern stressors produce the same emotional and physical response but are brought on by a perceived imbalance between demands placed and what resources and time are available. They can be the result of fear of missing a deadline, of making a mistake in a tender, of not getting the job right, of redundancy, of not matching up to one’s peers…………… the list goes on. This means that you experience stress whenever you are faced with an event or situation that you perceive as challenging to your ability to cope. If you see the event or situation as only mildly challenging, you will probably feel only a little stress; however, if you perceive the situation or event as threatening or overwhelming your coping abilities, you will probably feel a lot of stress.

Is this, in itself bad? No, not really. Imagine the relief and sense of achievement of the caveman who has outrun the sabre-toothed tiger………….. Stress is a motivator and, on completion of a successful task, it can be rewarded and the stress levels drop to be replaced by a feeling of euphoria…………… However, it rarely works that way and one stressor can be piled on another until coping is no longer possible. Daily exposure to stressors can have negative consequences by causing hyper-vigilance or over-reaction during times when a state of calm awareness would be more productive. With daily exposure to these stressors, stress hormones can accumulate in the body and cause feelings of being burnt-out or depressed.

 

Effects of stress hormones

Stress hormones act by mobilizing energy from storage to muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity.

Constant stress causes continual release of various stress hormones which can cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress-induced hypertension
  • Effects on metabolic processes
  • Lowered energy levels
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Decrease in testosterone levels in males
  • Irregular menstrual cycles in females
  • Lowered immune system

Research has shown that stress hormones are a major contributing factor in many major illnesses including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Certain skin disorders, infections and psychological problems like generalised anxiety, panic, OCD, PTSD, depression, dissociative disorder, phobias and psychosis, have also been linked to cumulative stress.

 

Self-help methods of managing stress

  • Exercise – The easiest way to deal with cumulative stress is through physical exercise. During exercise, we metabolise excessive stress hormones and restore our body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state. Even five to ten minutes of exercise, where a sweat has been worked up, will metabolise stress hormones and prevent their excessive  build-up. Exercise releases endorphins, which help us to feel better.
  • Taiji – Developed by the ancient Chinese, Taiji is one of the internal (soft) martial. It is increasingly practised in the West as a means of stress management and holistic exercise. Taiji is a series of slow, choreographed movements, or postures. At the core of Taiji is the concept of life essence, or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), that flows, in meridians, through the body. When the flow of Qi is disrupted, illness is the result. Regular practice of Taiji is said to strengthen and improve Qi and according to scientific studies, Taiji is an effective healing tool for a range of disorders, particularly chronic (for example, arthritis and heart disease) and stress related conditions.
  • Qigong – Qi Gong is a combination of meditation and gentle, fluid, body movement with an emphasis on abdominal breathing. The, proper, practice of Qigong fills the mind to the point where there is no room for the stressors that permeate our daily lives. It is extremely difficult to empty our minds, our thoughts. The universe loves a vacuum and as we try to empty our mind, it takes the opportunity to fill it to overflowing. With Qigong the mind becomes full, full of one thing, the focus on the Qigong exercise. There is no room for anything else and this lets the practitioner step into the eye of the hurricane, to that calm spot where the stresses of life are absent. From there, these stresses can be observed with an air of detachment and life can be prioritised in a way that is beneficial to body, mind and spirit.
  • Meditation – It does not necessarily take years of meditation to combat stress. Meditation provides stillness and nourishment for our conscious (spirit) brain (cognitive mind) and. There are many types of meditation to choose from but they all share the understanding that the more you meditate, the lower the stress levels and the better you will feel. Zen meditation is particularly good for reducing stress levels.
    During Zen meditation, you become more accepting of your thoughts and feelings and how they relate to the world around you. This enables you to reassess your life, your goals and your relationship with the world, enabling your mind to become increasingly peaceful.

 

Therapist info

Stress management - stress can lead to poor, physical, health.

 

If you wish your website to be included on this page please see our Resources Page for details.

 

 

Pro Holistic Stress Management, Glasgow

 

 

Resources

Further information on Stress Management including case studies, etc.

If you wish to add further resource information about Stress Management please contact us with the details.

 

Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.

 

 

Comparison of Zen Shiatsu and Five Element Theory

Comparison of Zen Shiatsu and Five Element Theory

The central concept of Oriental Medicine is all physical disease is the result of disruption/obstruction in the flow of Qi (intrinsic energy).

Zen Shiatsu

 

zen shiatsu - masunaga shiatsu

Zen Shiatsu operates on the theory/concept of Kyo and Jitsu within the meridian system of the body.  The terms Kyo and Jitsu are used to describe the quality of the Qi in the meridians and acupoints.  Kyo means empty, depleted, or hypo and can be associated with the Chinese concept of Yin whereas Jitsu means full, in excess, or hyper and can be associated with Yang.

As with the Yin and Yang theory, Kyo and Jitsu are relative descriptions of Qi and one cannot exist without the other.  Kyo being the underlying cause of the illness and tends to be covert, while Jitsu is manifest as the effect and is generally overt.

When a diagnosis is carried out using Zen techniques (ie. Asking, listening, hearing and observing) on the Hara or the Yu points the object is to find the dynamic between the meridians and this is generally manifest as being between the most Kyo and most Jitsu meridians.  Once the diagnosis is complete the treatment is decided on, normally the Jitsu meridian is sedated and the Kyo meridian tonified.  The exception to this is when the patient is chronically Kyo in which case sedation is not carried out.

This method of working can also be carried out within a single meridian when, if the overall diagnosis of that meridian is Jitsu, any Kyo points can be tonified and filled by transferring the Qi from the Jitsu to the Kyo.  It a may also be found that there are Jitsu points within a predominantly Kyo meridian and, once again, the Qi can be transferred and balanced within that particular meridian.

Zen Shiatsu also has meridians which are supplementary to the TCM ones and Masunaga’s Shiatsu recognises twelve meridians in the arms and twelve in the legs.

 

Five Element Theory within Shiatsu

Five Element Theory - shen / ko diagram

Five Element Theory also works with the principal of empty (Yin) and full (Yang) points but expands the concept/theory of Yin and Yang so that there are defined qualities of Qi for each Element and the need to relate one quality with another (Yin needs Yang and vice versa) is gone.

The Five Elements (Qualities) are descriptive of the quality of Qi as it changes from Yin to Yang and then back.  It follows the cycle of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood……… then back to Fire.  Each meridian is associated with one of these Elements and as such it is placed in the cycle.  For example, the Metal Element is made up of the Lung and Large Intestine meridians.  This is further broken down within the Element and the meridian pair is split into Yin and Yang.  In the case of the Metal Element, Lung meridian is Yin while Large Intestine is Yang.

The Five Element system is made up of the creative, or Shen, cycle which works on a mother to son basis following the previously described cycle.  When using the Five Element Theory for treatment, three meridians are worked on (Triad).  There is also a control, or Ko, cycle in which one of the Elements has a direct controlling influence over the other: Fire – ko – Metal, Earth – ko – Water, Metal – ko – Wood, Water – ko – Fire, Wood – ko – Earth.

On the Shen cycle, Yang feeds Yang and Yin feeds Yin.  On the Ko cycle Yang controls Yin and Yin controls Yang.

Once a diagnosis has been completed the associations between the symptoms/observations and the diagnosis are noted.  A composite diagnosis is then carried out, the meridians that are to be worked are decided, a plan of treatment is decided and, finally, the treatment is carried out.  On the face of it, The Five Element system appears to be much more complex but it is really straight forward.  It also strengthens the treatment by having a third meridian assist in the rebalancing of the other two.

Examples

  1. If you took the example of someone who was found to be LU Jitsu and KD Kyo, using Zen Theory you would simply sedate LU and tonify KD.  However, using Five Element Theory you could sedate LU, tonify KD and tonify SI, or TH, using the Ko cycle to control LU.
  2. Another example could be of a client who showed KD Jitsu and LU Kyo (the opposite of the previous example).  Using Zen Theory it would be a case of sedating KD and tonifying LU.  If Five Element Theory was used you could sedate KD, tonify LU and tonify ST, utilising the Ko cycle to control KD.If, for example, the client was chronically Kyo and alternative treatment plan (using the Five Element Theory) would be to leave KD, tonify ST to control KD, tonify LU and, lastly, tonify SP to bolster LU through the Shen cycle.

There is compatibility between the two systems that can be seen when using the Five Element treatment method.  If you find Jitsu within a Kyo meridian you can simply use Zen Theory to move Qi from one part of the meridian to another.

Makko Ho Exercises for Qi Developement

Makko Ho Exercises

The Makko Ho (Makko-Ho) are the meridian stretching exercises that were developed by Mr. Nagai as an aid to promote health and well-being. The stretches are designed to stimulate the flow of energy (Qi) in the meridians as well as stretching and strengthening the muscles.
When he was 42 years old, Mr. Nagai suffered a stroke that paralyzed half his body. Doctors said that he would never recover his full body movement but he was determined to find a way back to full health and prove the doctors wrong. It took him three years to gain his full health during which he developed the Makko-Ho exercises.

Posture

Makko Ho - Makko-Ho Metal posture

A basic rule of thumb is that you should, over time, increase the stretch until you get close to your own limitations, using the breath while remaining calm and relaxed. It is more important that you are aware of the tensions in the body that occur during the execution of the exercises than trying to undertake overly strong stretches.
The exercises enhance the Qi flow in all twelve meridians with each stretch working on a Primary Meridian pair according to the Five Elements (Qualities) of Chinese Medicine.

 

  • Primary Fire – Heart and Small Intestine meridians
  • Secondary Fire – Heart Governor and Triple Warmer meridians
  • Earth – Stomach and Spleen meridians
  • Metal – Lung and Large Intestine meridians
  • Water – Bladder and Kidney meridians
  • Wood –Gall Bladder and Liver meridians

The most important thing is to learn to breathe properly, to allow your body to benefit from the positive energy (Qi) that they take in with each inhalation and let their body benefit from the elimination of negative energy when they exhale.
There is a great description of the Makko-Ho at Pro-Holistic

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Shiatsu Bodywork

Shiatsu Bodywork

Shiatsu has its roots in the Chinese healing systems. It was later adopted and developed by the Japanese after the introduction of Chen (Zen) Buddhism, aspects of Chinese philosophy and culture, and Chinese medicine into Japan in the Sixth Century.  It incorporates a meditative approach to the healing process where the practitioner, through experience and with the proper training cultivates sensitivity to the movement of Ki by increasing his/her listening skill.

Zen Shiatsu bodywork is used to treat chronic ailments as well as promoting health, wellbeing and the ability to fight off illness.  Treatment consists of two main tools, sedation and tonification of the meridians and points. With sedation the object is to prepare the Ki for movement, and this is done through a series of joint rotations, stretches, rubbing and palming. tonification is the attraction of the mobilised Ki by using pressure on the meridians and points (tsubos), with this pressure being applied using the thumbs, fingers, elbows and the knees.  Shiatsu therapy is usually given at floor level on a futon. Unlike some other forms of body therapy, Shiatsu is carried out with the client fully clothed and without the application of oils, etc.

DAO-YIN (Qi Self Massage)

DAO-YIN (Qi Self Massage)

Dao-yin, “leading and guiding the Qi”, is really only another name for the art we now know as Qigong.  In the past, Dao-yin was one of the names used to describe the entire art, but since the popularisation of the term Qigong it is mainly used to describe the exercises used to “activate” the Qi prior to doing Qigong.

This short routine of Dao-Yin exercises takes approximately 10 minutes.  Done in the morning, preferably before breakfast, and will wake up your Qi and blood, energising you for the whole day.  Although these exercises are designed to be done in a standing position, most can be adapted for a seated position.

  • Stand with the feet shoulder width apart and the toes pointing straight ahead, with the knees slightly bent.  The spine should be erect (but not rigid), the head is held upright as though suspended by a single thread, and the coccyx should be tucked slightly forward to flatten out the curvature of the lower back.
  • Using the finger ends, tap all over the head and down onto the neck.
  • Flick the index fingers against the muscles at the back of the neck “Beating the Heavenly Drum”.
  • Using the thumbs, press lightly against the upper orbit of the eyes, working from the nose to the temples.  Be careful not to drag the skin, press then release before moving on.  (Repeat 3 times).
  • Using the index fingers, press lightly against the lower orbit of the eyes, working from the nose to the temples.  Be careful not to drag the skin, press then release before moving on.  (Repeat 3 times).
  • Using the index fingers, press lightly into the small indentation that is felt at the outer end of the eyebrows (This is the acupuncture point Triple Heater 23).
  • Using the index fingers, press lightly into the small indentation that is felt immediately below TH23 (This is the acupuncture point Gall Bladder 1).
  • Using the thumbs, press up lightly against the cheekbones, working from the nose out to the ears.
  • Using the thumbs, press lightly against the underside of the jaw, working front to rear.
  • Lightly pull the ears up, back, and down.  (Repeat 3 times).
  • Slow, gentle, neck rotations.  Do not try to stretch the neck or force the movement.
  • Supporting the right elbow with the left hand, tap down on the left shoulder using a loose fist and keeping the wrist relaxed.  Work the full length of the shoulder then repeat the exercise on the other side.
  • Using the same tapping action, work down the inside of the arms and then back up the outside.  (Repeat 3 times).
  • Tap lightly across the chest, then down the midline, and gradually work out to the sides.
  • Tap down the inside of the legs and then back up along the outside. (Repeat 3 times).
  • Massage the kidneys using the back of the hands.
  • Hold the palms against the Dan Tien (Hara) and allow the Qi to accumulate while “rooting” through the feet.

Other exercises that can be added to this routine include:

  • Rubbing the index finger back and forward under the nose.
  • Rubbing the centre of the palm of the hand (acupuncture point Heart Governor 8), in an anti- clockwise direction, against the tip of the nose.
  • Standing in a “horse” stance with the arms held out to the sides, transfer 70% of the weight to one leg as you lean over so that one arm is held above and the other is held below.  In this position, wriggle the fingers of the upper hand.  Transfer to the other side and repeat.  (Repeat 3 times to each side).

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Yin Yang and the Five Element Theory

Yin Yang and the Five Element Theory

The theories of Yin -Yang and the Five Elements were the discovered and developed by the ancient Chinese sages through empirical means by their prolonged observations of nature’s cycles and changes. The theory states that wood, fire, earth, metal, and water were the basic substances of the material world. These five basic substances were recognised as being an indispensable part of daily life. They also realised that the material world is in a constant state of flux due to the dynamic movement and mutual conflict of Yin and Yang.
The ancient Chinese sages applied these two theories in the medical field (as well as to the arts of war, poetry, etc.) to explain the physiological activities and pathological changes of the human body, and to serve as a guide to the clinical treatment.

It is important, before going into the theories of Yin/Yang or the Five Elements, to view Chinese cosmology and how those theories and beliefs that developed through the millennia compare with those now held by the great scientific minds of the West.

“The Tao begets the one,
The one begets the two,
The two beget the three and
The three beget the ten thousand things.
All things are backed by the shade,
Faced by the light
And harmonised by the immaterial breath.”

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching.

The source of all things is the Tao, which some interpret as God or Godhead. From this, the quotation from Lao Tzu may be interpreted as:

In the beginning there was God and when God became self-aware, this act of self-awareness created matter.
Matter was then sub divided into two main qualities, matter and energy (Yin and Yang).
These two qualities are held together in balance by a subtle energy (Qi).
The combination of matter and energy created what we perceive as the universe.
The second quotation explains that all nature is either Yin or Yang and that it is Qi, “the immaterial breath” that balances the two.

Yin / Yang

This is the Chinese concept of two complimentary yet opposing qualities of Qi and therefore everything in the universe can be described in terms of Yin or Yang. The literal translation of Yin is “The shaded side of the valley” and Yang is “The sunny side of the valley”.
Yin/Yang is both a way of thinking and a description of the way in which Qi works. For each there is an opposite: Hot/cold, up/down, hard/soft, material/spiritual, etc. The continuous flux of Yin and Yang give impetus to the development of everything, “Yin and Yang are the law of Heaven and Earth, the outline of everything, the parents of change, the origin of birth and destruction….”

Yin and Yang cannot exist independently as they are mutually dependent. There can be no extreme, within Yin there is Yang and within Yang there is Yin. Each can be further sub-divide as within Yin there is also Yin; they are used to provide a reference point for description of phenomena- low, lower, and lowest. Yin within Yin within Yin. When one reaches an extreme it becomes the other.
The now world famous Taiji symbol shows the two aspects of Yin and Yang as though they were two fish swimming round in a tight circle, chasing each other. This shows the relationship between the two – balancing each other, opposing each other, and becoming each other. If observed closely it can be seen that the white fish has a black eye and vice versa, showing that each contains a seed of the other. However if the eye of the fish were magnified it would become another Taiji symbol ad infinitum.
A martial arts instructor who I hold in the highest regard gave the best description I have come across of the inter-dependency of Yin, Yang and Qi. He posed his students many questions, one of which was “How many sides does a coin have?” The usual answer he received was “Two”. He would then send his student away to ponder on the deeper meaning. After a while he would laugh and explain that the coin has three sides, the Yin and Yang were the two faces, and the Qi, which holds both together, was the edge. Yin and Yang are but perceptions of the quality of the Qi.
Yin and Yang represent the two opposite aspects of everything and the implicit conflict and interdependence of these aspects. Generally, anything that is moving, ascending, bright, hot, hyperactive, including functional disease of the body, relate to Yang. The characteristics of stillness, descending, darkness, degeneration, hypoactivity, including organic disease, are related to Yin.

Qi, Chi or Ki

When Qi is used to describe the energy flowing through the meridians it is defined as “life force”, “life energy”, the driving force which makes us “alive”. When that particular quality if Qi has gone, our physical body is deemed to be dead. Qi is the Chinese word used to describe the energy known world-wide as Prana by the Indians, Pneuma by the ancient Greeks, Psychic energy, etc. Qi also refers to energy in the largest sense, it is the stuff of creation, it is both matter and energy and that which holds both together. Qi transcends and is not bounded by time or space it; it is time and space it is the WHOLE.

How does this relate to modern scientific thought?

Max Planck developed quantum physics at the beginning of the twentieth century when he discovered that radiant heat was not emitted continuously, but in small defined units, which he named quanta. This discovery was elaborated on by Albert Einstein when he theorised that this quantum effect applied to all electromagnetic radiation. When Einstein was producing his Special Theory of Relativity, he came to realise that matter and energy were one and the same, that matter is energy at a lower frequency. He further surmised that our cosmos is not three-dimensional, that time was inseparable from space, and from this he produced the space-time Continuum – Qi is both matter and energy!
According to Bell’s Theorem, which was formulated in 1964, he postulates the existence of sub-atomic particles, which are connected in such a way that anything, which affects one of these particles simultaneously, affects them all. As these particles permeate the entire universe it can therefore be seen that Einstein was mistaken when he theorised that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. Bell’s mathematical proof has since been proved experimentally, proving that superluminal speed is possible and concurring with the experience of the Chinese sages, Indian yogis, and modern day psychics in their claims that the universe is totally accessible.
Until this century scientists view the universe in a Newtonian manner where existence /nature consisted of basic building blocks and operated in a rather mechanical way. As the present day scientists push back the boundaries of knowledge they are rediscovering the knowledge of our forebears. The ancient Chinese concept of the universe (the Tao) is a holistic/holographic one. Everything within the universe is made of the same thing (Qi) and therefore each part is a holograph of every other part. It is therefore impossible to fragment the universe into individual segments.

It is extremely difficult to explain the holographic nature of the universe as it cannot truly be described only experienced. Tibetan Buddhist teachings state that when we observe what we perceive to be a solid object we are actually seeing a stream of constantly changing images because the item under observation is constantly moving (atomic and sub-atomic structure), we ourselves are constantly changing/vibrating, and both the observer and the observed interact with each other. It is our senses, which make this constantly changing universe appear solid.
This is YOUR universe, you are its centre, and you are the screen upon which events unfold. You influence it, change it. If we accept our universe as holographic, that all is made of the same stuff, then we come to realise that everything is interconnected and interdependent.

Our concept of the world around us is dualistic; it is the easiest way of describing things. Even the ancient Chinese Taoists who recognised the holistic nature of the Tao chose to explain it in a dualistic manner through the symbolic concept of Yin/Yang reflecting the paradox of matter and energy. However we must not lose sight of the most important factor of their cosmology “In the beginning there was the Tao”, the one holistic/holographic. The rest of the cosmology goes on to describe how our limited senses perceive the ONE, the TAO. “The tao which can be described is not the true Tao”.

Types of Qi

The character Qi denotes a dynamic essence characterised by both substance and function. For example, substantial Qi relates to; clean Qi, turbid Qi, and the Qi transformed from the essence of food. Functional Qi relates to the Qi of the heart, liver, spleen, kidney, stomach, and the Qi of the channels and collaterals.
The various classifications of Qi in the human body are dependent on distribution, origin, and function.
Original Qi – also known as Pre-natal Qi, Primary Qi, or Ancestral Qi. This is the Qi that is inherited from our parents – genetic make-up. Original Qi is nourished and replenished by food (Grain Qi) after birth, however it is ever diminishing and although it can be replenished it can never reach its original levels. Original Qi is also known as the Qi of the kidney and is stored at the centre of the Hara in the “Gate of Vitality”. It is distributed to the whole body through the function of the Triple Heater and it arouses and promotes the activities of the zang-fu organs and tissues. Original Qi moulds our Constitution.
Air Qi – derived through respiration.
Grain Qi – also known as Food Qi, it is derived from food.
Gathering Qi – also known as Chest Qi or Aggregate Qi. This is the combination of Air Qi through the lung and Food Qi from food digested and absorbed by the stomach and spleen. It is a finer form of Qi than Food Qi and is therefor more readily utilised by the body. Gathering Qi is accumulated in the chest and has the function of nourishing the lung and the heart, thus promoting respiration and blood circulation. Being a combination of Air Qi and Grain Qi, Gathering Qi moulds our Condition. It is housed in the “Upper Sea of Qi” at CV17.
Nutritive Qi – originating from the essential substance of food transformed by the spleen and stomach and is a component part of blood. “Nutrient Qi is actually the essential Qi transformed from food and water. Nutritive Qi is secreted by the body fluid, circulates in the blood vessels, and is transformed into blood to nourish the four extremities, the five zang and six fu organs”
Protective Qi – the barrier against external pathogens, or external pernicious influences. It is mainly derived from the essential substances of food and water, which form a part of the human body’s Yang Qi. It circulates outside the meridians and collaterals mainly spreading through the muscles and skin. Its physiological functions are (1) defending the body surface against the invasion of external pernicious influences, (2) warming and nourishing the organs and tissues, and (3) adjusting the opening and closing of the pores.

The Three Treasures (San Bao)

The Three Treasures are three qualities or forms of energy – Qi, Jing and Shen – with Jing being seen as Yin, Qi seen as neutral, and Shen seen as Yang. Jing (Willpower) has an earthy quality that is closely associated with the sexual act, while Shen (Consciousness) has the quality of spirit and is recognised as our connection with the divine.

Jing

Jing is the most refined form of Qi; it is life essence, sexual essence. It is Yin in relation to other forms of energy and has a tendency to flow downward towards the genitalia and is related closely with the fluids associated with reproduction (sperm, semen, vaginal excretions, menstrual blood, etc.). Even though Jing is recognised as being Yin in relation to the other forms of Qi, like all else it has both Yin and Yang aspects – the Yin being the reproductive fluids and the Yang being the saliva.
Jing has the qualities of growth and development that gradually increase during childhood, reaching its zenith between the ages of 20 and 25, and then decreasing. This gradual loss of Jing is associated with the ageing process, particularly with osteoporosis, reduced immune system, grey hair, loss of libido, and memory loss.
Although the Jing cannot be raised above its original level practising Qigong and living a balanced and healthy lifestyle can augment it, slowing down its decrease.
In Chinese Medicine it is said that the Jing creates the marrow, this includes the grey matter of the brain “the sea of marrow”
There are three external sources of Jing: It is inherited from our parents (genetic strength or weakness); it is extracted from the refined qualities of food (Grain Qi); and it can be absorbed from one’s sexual partner when practising Taoist sexual yoga.
The Jing is stored in the kidneys, the Lower Dan Tien, and the Exceptional Vessels.

Shen

Shen is the least tangible, yet most spiritual of the three Vital Treasures, it is a very subtle energy. Yang in nature, it flows upward with a fire-like quality. As with its partners in the San Bao, Shen can be cultivated, this time through meditation and the tranquil forms of Qigong. It is associated with the Liver and the Heart, and when the Qi from these two sources combines (providing that they are healthy) they produce Shen. When these organs are out of balance the Shen becomes unsettled, leading to restlessness and agitation of the Mind.
It is said that the Shen is the sparkle in the eye of the wise, the substance of sentience, intuition and wisdom.
As already stated, the Shen is increased through meditation in any form of introspective exercise. However, it is lost when we spend too much time and energy looking outside to the materialistic world – the ego destroys the Shen. All mental health illnesses are seen as diseases or imbalances of the Shen.
The Shen is stored in the Upper Dan Tien (Yin Tang), flows through the Exceptional Vessels, and unless stopped through meditation and introspection it is lost through the eyes.

Qi Jing Shen
Energy Life Sexual Spirit
Organ Spleen Kidney & Lungs Liver & Heart
Element Air Water Fire
Form Breath Sexual fluids & saliva Light & Spirit
Movement Down, up Down Up
Aspect Yin, Yang, neutral Yin Yang
Reservoir Middle Dan Tien Lower Dan Tien Upper Dan Tien
Circulatory System Meridians Bones Exceptional Vessels
Associated System Respiratory Reproductive & Endocrine Nervous
Gate Nose & mouth Genitals Eyes
Cultivated through Qigong Sexual Meditation

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Qigong (Chi Kung)

Qigong

Qigong (Chi Kung) is the art or science of using, working with and cultivating Qi ( Pronounced Chee and roughly translates as intrinsic life energy) to enrich one’s life by controlling and strengthening the flow of Qi throughout the body through exercises that focus the breath, the mind (Yi) and the Qi. It is not an art that can be learned from books, it must be experienced through practice under the guidance of a teacher.
This is an art that is steeped in Chinese history and whose benefits are still being discovered and appreciated by practitioners today.

Qigong exercises can be sub-divided into Passive Qigong and Active Qigong, and these can be further sub-divided into Medical, Martial and Spiritual Qigong.

  • Active Qigong is when there is body movement along with the movement of Qi – Shibashi exercises, Embroidered Brocade, etc.
  • Passive Qigong is when there is no body movement and the focus is purely on moving the Qi – Standing as a Tree, Standing as a Column.
  • Medical (health) Qigong promotes the smooth, free-flow of the Qi in the meridians. When there is a deficiency or stagnation of the Qi, this leads to illness. Qigong balances and harmonises the Qi, bringing health and vitality.
  • Martial Qigong packs Qi into the facia and organs. This is to strengthen the body so that it can withstand heavy blows, etc. The most famous of these is Iron Shirt.
  • Spiritual Qigong is used to alter states of awareness, giving access to higher levels of being.

Theoretically, Qigong follows the same rules as Acupuncture, Shiatsu, etc. in that it uses the concept of Yin and Yang, uses the meridian system and the exceptional vessels, and incorporates the Five Element Theory. The goal is to reduce excess and feed deficiency, reducing Yang conditions and increasing Yin conditions. Various techniques are utilised to facilitate the raising or lowering of the condition (Yin or Yang), to either cool or heat the Qi in order to achieve a particular result; healing the patient, or to act as prevention against illness.

By practising Qigong, the therapist/practitioner can increase their Qi capacity, and their ability to direct the Qi, so that the energy can be used during treatment. The therapist is also able to prescribe specific Qigong exercises to be used by the client in the healing process. For the healer to heal, he/she must first be healthy and have strong Qi. By the daily practice of Qigong, the therapist/practitioner remains in good health (the immune system is boosted and the endocrine system is more active). This health is not confined to the mere physical; it is health/balance of body, mind and spirit – Qi (intrinsic energy), Jing (sexual energy) and Shen (consciouness). The Qi affecting the physical, the Jing increasing and maintaining vigour, and the Shen affecting the consciousness, providing clarity of thought.

The practice of Qigong is mainly used to treat chronic ailments although it can also be used to treat acute conditions like aches and pains.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been empirically proven effective in the treatment of specific ailments for more than 4,000 years, Acupuncture is a Chinese medical technique. Over the past few decades, Acupuncture has been scrutinised by the medical establishment and has been shown to work in a number of medical trials. It is used primarily for the relief of pain but also for curing disease and improving general health. Recent research – which included testing the thickness of the epidermis over the acupuncture points – has confirmed the location of these points.
Acupuncture consists of stimulating the Qi (intrinsic energy) by inserting hair-thin needles through the acupuncture points. These points generally lie on pathways called meridians although there are many non-meridian acupuncture points. The needles are typically inserted 1/10 to 4/10 inch (0.3 centimetre to 1 centimetre) deep, but some procedures require the needles to be inserted as deep as 10 inches (25 centimetres). The acupuncture points are then stimulated using various techniques. Traditional techniques such as by gentle twirling, or by applying heat. Or using more recently developed techniques such as stimulation with a weak electrical current. Acupuncture points also can be stimulated by pressure (acupressure, Tuina, or Shiatsu), and ultrasound. Recent developments have led to stimulation by the use of certain wavelengths of light.

According to the World Health Organization, diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved, through controlled trials, to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

The depth of insertion of the needles is dependent upon the nature of the problem, the underlying anatomy of the points selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution. Needles should always be of the sterilised, disposable variety thus absolutely assuring that there is no transmission of communicable disease from patient to patient due to contaminated needles.

Although acupuncture is the insertion of needles, there are other techniques and methods used by acupuncture therapists. The most commonly of these are moxibustion, which is the burning of the herb mugwort over the affected area to heat it, cupping, and electronic stimulation. Shiatsu, Acupressure, and Tuina Chinese remedial massage are also used.

Normally associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture utilised the ancient Chinese theory of the Five Elements and the flow of Qi, (pronounced Chi, and meaning intrinsic energy) through discrete channels or meridians. The Qi in each meridian has a particular quality: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood. Illness is said to be the result of an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi through the meridians and Acupuncture is used to regulate the flow of Qi, increasing it in areas of deficiency and decreasing it in areas of excess –bringing balance to the whole body and inducing a harmonious flow of Qi.