Category Archives: Qigong

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The Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong

Working with the Qi of the Extraordinary Meridians. This course is suitable for all levels.

These Qigong exercises work with the Qi that is stored in the 8 exceptional vessels (aka the Extraordinary Meridians). These vessels are often likened to reservoirs that store Qi and blood while the Meridians can be likened to rivers that carry the Qi.

This course usually costs £65.00

Over 50% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £31.99!
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Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong

A Five Elements, stand-alone Qigong exercise. This course is suitable for all levels.

Connecting Heaven and Earth is a stand-alone, Five Element, exercise that is powerful, efficient, and effective.

This course usually costs £65.00

Over 50% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £31.99!
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The Five Taoist Yin Qigong

Working with the six Yin meridians – Lung, Kidney, Liver, Heart, Heart Governor & Spleen. This course is suitable for all levels.

Also known as the Five Taoist Yin, the name of this set is a bit of a misnomer as there are six yin meridians and these exercises work with, were designed to work with, all six.

Both Heart and Heart Governor meridians are worked within the one exercise, either individually, or together.

This course usually costs £65.00

Over 50% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £31.99!
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The Embroidered Brocade Qigong

This course is suitable for all levels.

Although having similar names, the Embroidered Brocade and the Eight Pieces of Brocade (AKA the Ba Duan Jin) are two entirely different sets.  The Embroidered Brocade is a set of seven Qigong exercises, namely:  Folding Over, the Circle of Light, the Billowing Sail, the Sun and the Moon, the White Crane, the Snake, and the Taiji Walk.

Practice of the Embroidered Brocade set takes between 20 to 30 minutes.

This course usually costs £65.00

Over 50% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £31.99! Get your discount here – Coupon

The Four Shen Qigong

This course is only suitable for advanced practitioners.

The Four Shen exercises are Active, Spiritual, Qigong. That is to say that the body movement is one of the tools used to help guide the Qi and the exercises are used to alter states of awareness, giving access to higher levels of being and increasing perception.

This course usually costs £65.00

50% + discount on this course. Only £31.99. Get your discount here – Coupon

The Ten Fundamental Treasures

This course is only suitable for advanced practitioners.

The Ten Fundamental Treasures is another, ancient, Qigong set that is little seen let alone practiced now.  It shares, in name, a number of exercises that are in the Ba duan Jin (AKA The Eight section brocade) and the exercises look similar.  However, the focus, the emphasis, is not the same.  I practice both of these sets and they are, internally, completely different.

This course usually costs £90.00

50% discount on this course. Get your discount here – Coupon

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.


  • “……………… 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.


Taiji Shibashi Qigong Course

Taiji Shibashi Qigong Course –  2016

The Tai Chi Chi Kung Shibashi (十八), or the eighteen postures of Tai Chi Chi Kung, is a set of Chi Kung exercises that utilise Tai Chi stances and adhere to the rules governing them. Although this set was brought together in the 1980’s the individual exercises themselves date back centuries, even millenia.

The Shibashi Chi Kung focus on health and well-being, directing and promoting the flow of chi through the meridians. Although each of them can be practiced individually, or in any variation, the set flows beautifully, from one posture to the next,producing a feeling of inner calmness and wellbeing.

The health benefits from the Shibashi become clear when they are practiced regularly and, in effect, you are being proactive with your health and wellbeing. The Shibashi are easy to learn and can easily be practiced in a restricted space where the Tai Chi forms would be impossible.

Feedback from previous workshops

  • Did the workshop meet your expectations? – 100% Yes.
  • Did the workshop cover the syllabus? – 100% Yes.
  • Were the methods taught useful? – 100% Yes.
  • Would you recommend this workshop? – 100% Yes.
  • Is there anything you would like to see added to the syllabus? “Perhaps guidlines about how best to practice with a view to building confidence to teach others” *This is included in the Instructor Course.

“Really enjoyed this workshop – couldn’t have been better, fantastic day and I feel like I learned an enormous amount and had fun doing it!”
“I really liked that the meridians were mentioned within the exercises and found this useful.”
“I felt very well lead throughout the exercises and supported – thought it was a great course.”


The Shibashi Qigong course is suitable for everyone including: –

  • Beginners
  • Tai Chi practitioners
  • Chi Kung practitioners
  • Reiki practitioners
  • Shiatsu practitioners
  • Physiotherapists
  • Rehabilitation therapists
  • Exercise instructors
  • Group leaders

This Shibashi Qigong course, which can be used towards our certificated Shibashi Instructor course, provides a firm grounding in the Tai Chi Shibashi Chi Kung system.

Shibashi Qigong course information: –

Dates: Jan 23rd, Feb 27th & March 26th  2016
Times: 10:00 till 17:00
Location: East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire
Cost: £70.00 per workshop, or £180.00 for the block of three.
Booking:  Pro-Holistic Taiji Shibashi Course

A deposit of £30.00 per workshop is required, with the balance to be paid on the first day of the course. Advanced booking is essential.

Further details of courses on Pro-Holistic Courses

This course is being provided by San Bao Martial Arts

Taiji, the calm within the storm


Taiji benefits all ages. You are never too young, or too old, to learn.

Originating in ancient China, Taiji (also written as Taiji Quan, Tai Chi, Tai Chi Chuan) has gained enormous popularity throughout the world as its health benefits have become more recognised.

Taiji, as practiced in the west today, is a usually seen as a slow, choreographed, set of posture that is used for exercise, relaxation and health. It can perhaps best be thought of as a moving meditation.

There are a number of different styles (family styles such as Chen, Yang, Li, Wu & Sun as well as the more recently formalised Beijing styles) and within these styles there are various forms which consist of a sequence of movements and postures. Originally developed as a martial art, each of these movements was formulated with self-defence in mind.

Taiji has its origins in Taoism and Taoist martial arts. The literal translation of Taiji Quan is “Supreme Ultimate Boxing.” This is not a big-headed, boastful, claim to be the supreme martial art as the term “Supreme Ultimate” refers to the Tao. The symbol that is usually referred to as the Yin/Yang symbol is actually called Taiji and it represents the duality of our perception of Tao, of which the universe is only part. Taiji, in this context, can be seen as a microcosm of the Tao (universe) as its movements, shapes and breathing patterns reflect dynamic forces and interactions of the universe.

The concept of Qi is a fundamental part of Chinese medicine and philosophy. Qi is the intrinsic energy that the universe is made of, and it is also the energy that animates the body. The movements of Taiji promote the circulation of Qi within the body creating health and vitality. The Qi circulates through pathways that are known as meridians and the meridian contain the access points that are used by acupuncture, shiatsu, tuina, etc. for their healing properties and by martial arts for their harming properties.

Using these principals, Taiji Quan is a sophisticated method of combat where the Taiji Quan practitioner aims to neutralize his opponent’s use of force (strength – Li) before “borrowing it” and applying a countering force (focus – Jing) of his own. This is the interplay of Yang and Yin.

To the uninformed, it is hard to see how these slow, graceful and fluid movements could be used for defence against someone who is attacking with speed and strength. In any confrontation, the Taiji practitioner will also move faster………… with a speed to match his attacker’s but with the same fluid, relaxed and rooted movement that has been practiced in the form. It is by practicing at a slow pace that perfection in balance, rooting and technique can be gained.

However, for the vast majority of Taiji players, the martial aspect is never really touched on and the emphasis is on the tranquillity of mind and body, along with all the health benefits, that Taiji provides.

Taiji fosters calmness and tranquillity of mind as the focus of the practitioner is solely on the precise execution of the forms. The precision that is required within the postures also helps correct poor postural alignment that can contribute to tension, excess pressure on joints, or injury.

Today we may use Taiji to rid ourselves of the fatigue that stress, overwork, poor posture and the lack of atunement with our own body can bring. It is aid that Taiji increases longevity…………. This is something that modern scientific research is starting to agree with. This longevity does not mean that you will live forever. What it does mean is that daily practice promotes a healthy body, clarity of mind, better balance, denser bones, better circulation, more balanced blood pressure, lower (more efficient) respiration, and a more efficient and active lymphatic system (assisting the immune system. The list goes on! One more thing that Taiji can do for you is that you smile more……… Great big smiles, that
come from deep within.


In the words of Aldous Huxley (from Island):

“No leaps, no high kicks, no running. The feet always firmly on the ground…movements intrinsically beautiful and at the same time charged with symbolic meaning. Thought taking shape in ritual and stylized gesture. The whole body transformed into a hieroglyph, a succession of hieroglyphs, of attitudes modulating from significance to significance, like a poem or a piece of music. Movements of the muscles representing movements of the consciousness…It’s meditation in action; the metaphysics of the Mahayana expressed not in words, but through symbolic movements and gestures.”


Therapist info

Taiji has great health benefits.


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



Taiji, Taiji Quan & Neijia, Lanarkshire

San Bao Martial Arts School, Lanarkshire

T’ai-Chi London

Town & Village Tai Chi and Qigong is based in Carlisle but covers a large area within Northern Cumbria, running classes as far south as Shap and Penrith and as far north as Brampton.



Further information on Taiji including case studies, etc.

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


Please note that 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. 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.



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



Further information on Qigong including case studies, etc.

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


Please note that 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. 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.



Qigong for Chronic Lower Back Pain

Qigong for Chronic Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a symptom that can have a multitude of causes.  Any, gentle, exercise where the muscles are being relaxed and toned and the vertebrae are being manipulated tend to be good for alleviating back pain.  Using simple exercises, Qigong for chronic lower back pain, can speed up recovery  and continued practice maintains mobility flexibility and strength.

For example, one Qigong exercise that can be done (both standing and seated) is from the set known as the Shibashi.  It is easy to learn and you only need to do 6 to 8 repetitions on a daily basis to gain the benefits.  It is not an instant cure, it will take time and that time is dependent on the current pain levels and mobility.

This is the seated variation of “Rowing the Boat”.


Sitting, upright, on a firm chair (dining chair, etc) with the visualisation that your head is suspended by a single thread, from the crown. The arms hang, loosely, at the sides and the feet are placed flat on the floor.  The speed of the movement is guided by your speed of breathing…………. try to relax and take your time.

Qigong for chronic lower back pain



On inhalation, bring both hands above the head (as though surrendering) and gently curl the fingers as though you were holding the oars of a boat.




Qigong for chronic lower back pain


As you exhale, bend the body forward at the waist, letting the chest drop onto the thighs, circling the arms forward and down.  As the arms swing to their lowest point, let the head hang down (this will increase the gentle stretch on the lower back).  Finally swing the arms to the rear.



On inhalation, continue swinging the arms back, to your comfortable limit, and slowly straighten up (uncurling from the lower back,  keeping the chin gently tucked in until the body is upright), and raise the arms above the head, opening the hands and turning the palms forward.


Remember to uncurl from the lower back, keeping the head hanging forward with the chin tucked in.  Repeat six to eight times.

Arthritis relief through Qigong

About Arthritis

Arthritis means “joint inflammation” and there are over 100 types including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Inflammation is one of the body’s natural reactions to disease or injury, and includes swelling, pain and stiffness. Prolonged, chronic, inflammation can lead to tissue damage.

Where two or more bones come together, such as the knee or hip they are covered with a smooth, spongy material called articular cartilage.  This cartilage cushions the bones and allows the joint to move, as it has no nerve supply, without pain. The joint is encapsulated by a thin film of tissue called the synovium and the synovium lining produces a slippery fluid called synovial fluid that reduces friction, acts as a shock absorber, nourishes the joint (supplies oxygen and nutrients) and allows the body’s waste management system to remove carbon dioxide and metabolic waste from the chondrocytes within the surrounding cartilage . The articulating bones are stabilised and held together by strong bands of tissue, called ligaments. Muscles and tendons also support the joints enabling movement.

With arthritis, an area in or around a joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness and, sometimes, difficulty moving. Some types of arthritis also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin and internal organs.

About Qigong

Qigong can help in the relief of arthritis pain.

Although the exercises that are now termed Qigong are estimated to be at least 5,000 years old, Qigong is a relatively new term to describe them (first used in the early 20th Century).  The type of Qigong that this article relates to is health giving, beneficial to Mind, Body and Spirit. Qigong combines graceful, flowing, movements with focus and breathing to increase and balance your vital energy (in Qigong speak this is the Mind – the Yi guiding the Qi). In “Active Qigong” there is movement of the body that gently utilize the full range of motion in your joints. Because Qigong is low-impact it has minimal impact on your joints and can be performed by almost anyone and although it is normally practiced in a standing position many of the exercises can be adapted for a seated posture.

There are numerous studies for the effect of Qigong on arthritis.  Here are a couple: –

Benefits of Qigong

Qigong can be done while moving, lying down, sitting or standing, making it an ideal exercise for arthritis patients. With part of the focus being on correct posture, Qigong reduces the load/strain on joints.  Incorrect posture can lead to injuries and joint strain and blocks Qi flow.  The relaxed, deep, abdominal breathing increases oxygenation, benefits the cellular processes and can reduce stress and tension.  Not all Qigong is beneficial for arthritis so it is best to talk to an experienced qigong instructor about which exercises are right for you.

Here is one example of a simple Qigong exercise that can help.

This is good for regulating the breathing allowing the lowering of the breathing rate.  It is also good for maintaining the balance of the blood pressure, it strengthens the function of the Kidney meridian, calms the nerves (Shen), and it has a therapeutic action in the alleviation of arthritis.


Standing with the feet shoulder width apart, the knees unlocked (very slightly bent), the feet parallel, the shoulders relaxed and the tailbone (coccyx) tucked under.  Breathing should be relaxed, through the nose and into the abdomen (deep abdominal breathing using the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm).  The breath should be silent (with no tension in the throat) and the tip of the tongue should rest against the palate.
The movement should follow the pace of respiration…………. If you breath fast you move fast, breathe slow you move slow.  As you become more familiar with the movement you will notice that you start to relax more and your respiration slows down.  This bio-feedback will continue until your movement and breath are harmonious, relaxed and slow.

  1. Inhalation – With the palms facing downward, slowly raise the arms so that the hands are slightly higher than the shoulders, and extend the fingers.
  2. Exhalation – Keeping the spine erect, simultaneously lower the hands gently to waist level with the palms facing downward whilst bending the knees.  When bending the knees, the movement should not be excessive, and the knees should not extend beyond the toes (i.e. when looking down, with the back erect, you should just be able to see your toes).

N.B.  Make sure that the shoulders are relaxed and that the elbows are pointed down, with a “rounded” rather than angular feel/look to the arms.  There should be a harmonious co-ordination between the raising and lowering of the arms and stance.

This is the first of the Shibashi Qigong exercises and would normally be repeated six times if it was being done as part of the full Shibashi set.  However, as a solo exercise it can be repeated to your own comfortable limit……………… Take your time to build this up.

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 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 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

Qigong as a Healing Art

Qigong as a Healing Art

Qigong  (pronounced chee gung) is the art or science of using, working with and cultivating Qi (Chi) “life energy” to enrich ones life by controlling and strengthening the flow of qi throughout the body.

This information is written from the point of view of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Please do not be put off by the terminology of Water/Metal imbalances, as these are only ways of describing the illness from a TCM perspective.

Qigong is an art, which is steeped in history, legend and myth, has its roots in ancient China, growing as a healing art over thousands of years. It is the forerunner of, and is therefore based on the same principles as, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Tuina, and Shiatsu.  At present it is still being developed and researched as a cure, and preventative of illness by Qigong masters and by medical establishments and universities in China, America, Russia and Japan. In China, Qigong is often used in conjunction with Traditional Chinese and Allopathic Medicine to increase the healing power/rate – This wonderful system can also be utilised to enhance any of the Complimentary Healing systems as well as being used as a self-development and self-healing system.

Often after giving a treatment we ask ourselves if we could have done more.  We often see people who need frequent/regular treatment but who cannot afford the cost.  One way we can deal with this dilemma is to recommend some form of self-help such as diet, exercise etc.  However one of the most powerful self-help systems is often overlooked, primarily because of lack of experience – Qigong.

It is my intention to outline two Qigong exercises which can be used to treat imbalances in Metal, but which also treat other chronic ailments.  My intention is to show the basic exercise listing pathogenic factors it may be used to treat, then show a modification to the exercise that will enhance it, making it more potent in treating Metal disorders/imbalances.  The beauty of these exercises lies in their simplicity and strength.

Qigong promotes the smooth flow of Qi within the meridian system, bringing harmony and balance to the Whole (Body/Mind/Spirit).  Each exercise has both a tonifying and sedating quality (i.e. It can either increase or decrease the amount of qi within the meridian) and can be prescribed using Five Element Theory or Kyo/Jitsu, as would be done in Shiatsu, etc.

The stances for both exercises are the same; feet are shoulder width apart with the weight evenly distributed, the knees are slightly bent, the coccyx is tucked in slightly, and the head is held upright as though suspended from above.

The breathing should be natural and it is important that the movement follows the breathing and not vice versa.  Breathing should be through the nose and concentrated on the Tan Tien (a point 2 – 3 inches below the navel).  Throughout the exercise, the tongue should touch the palate just behind the front teeth.


a)      Inhalation – Turn the palms to face each other as though holding a balloon, raise them to chest height while simultaneously raising the stance, then move them laterally/horizontally as though the balloon was expanding.

b)      Exhalation – Move the arms medially/horizontally to the original distance apart, lower the stance/arms while turning the palms obliquely downward.

N.B.  Make sure that the shoulders are relaxed and that the elbows are pointed down so that the arms are not “locked”. There should be a harmonious co-ordination between the raising and lowering of the arms/stance and the breathing.  Repeat six times.

This is good for dealing with insomnia, hypertension, relieving mental fatigue, and when used in conjunction with “Commencement” it can be used to treat asthma.

The exercise can be enhanced to focus more on Metal by adopting the alternative hand position shown, and turning the palms outward as the arms are moved laterally/horizontally.


Following on from the last exhalation:

a)      Inhalation – Turn the palms upward with the fingers pointing at each other, and lift the hands to eye level.

b)      Exhalation – Turn the palms down, again with the fingers pointing at each other, and press down until the hands are level with the hips. Repeat six times.

This is good for regulating the breathing and balancing the blood pressure.  It strengthens the function of the Kidney, calms the nerves, can alleviate tinnitus and dizziness, and also has an effect on arthritis of the knee.

The basic exercise is primarily used to treat Water imbalances, however by forming a triangle between the index fingers and thumbs as you press down; it then becomes more potent for treating Water.

As stated, each exercise should be repeated six times and should be carried out twice a day – morning and early evening.

Excellent results are achievable but are entirely dependent on the client practising diligently.  One example of how potent Qigong is, is that of a 13-year-old boy with severe asthma.  When he first came for treatment (Shiatsu) he was dependent on daily medication involving three different inhalers.  His treatment consisted of three Shiatsu sessions, which started to stabilise his condition, and he was then prescribed two qigong exercises.  Eight months later, his mother telephoned me with the news that he had been off medication completely for the previous five months and that he had only had one asthmatic attack in this time.  He had remained calm during this incident and used qigong to overcome it in a controlled manner.

His mother had viewed this as almost miraculous, but the real miracle was that her son had the discipline to practice his qigong each and every day – he had been empowered with the ability to heal himself.

Qigong (Chi Kung)


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.