What is Medical Qigong?
The purpose of Medical Qigong is to treat illness, cure disease and maintain good health. It is one of the oldest forms of healthcare in China, emphasizing the free flow and balance of vital energy (Qi) in the human body. Medical qigong also teaches medical practitioners to use the inner Qi in a dynamic way to enhance diagnosis and healing.
Internal vs. External Qigong
Internal Qigong refers to Qigong practice by oneself to achieve healing and health. Self practice of Qigong is a major part of Qigong therapy. Most Qigong practice involves imagery meditation, deep relaxation, guided movement, and mind-body integration through regulating the body, breath and mind.
External Qigong (EQG) refers to the process by which a Qigong practitioner directs or emits his or her Qi energy to others to help them break the blockage of Qi and move the sick Qi out of body, so as to relieve pain, or balance the Qi system to get rid of diseases.
Internal Qigong (Self Practice)
- Moving Qigong (Mostly introductory forms): Specific movements and gestures designed to help concentration on the exercise and initiate the energy flow. See the paper “Medical Qigong Therapy and Yin/Yang Theory.
- Static or Still (Meditation) Qigong (more advanced forms):
- Mindfulness meditation - guided imagery and meditation.
- Mindlessness meditation (most advanced form).
- Training of intention power or consciousness stability
External Qigong Therapy
- Emission of External Qi (EQG Therapy)
- Use of Yi - Consciousness or Intentional Therapy
- Combination of the two techniques above (most commonly used)
How Does Qigong Work for Health Purposes?
The mechanism of Qigong to achieve health benefits is still the subject of further scientific exploration. However, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and available scientific literature, Qigong can works in the following three possible paths.
- The relaxation and tranquility achieved in Qigong practice may relieve stress, build up the Qi energy and rapidly increase the immune function. This results in reversing certain health problems related to immune malfunction or immune deficiency.
- The emphasis of "empty mind without desire" in Qigong practice may help the practitioners release their suppressed emotions and mental disturbance. Many chronic diseases of unknown origin may well be related to this mental disturbance or emotional upset. During high quality Qigong practice, practitioners tend to forget about the disease, forget about the worries, forget about the environment, and forget about themselves. They can then behave freely without any restrictions. In this case, we may observe sudden and frequent emotional expressions, such as crying, laughing, dancing, jumping and turning around. Onlookers without Qigong knowledge will definitely mistake these actions and movements as mental disorders. However, after this type of emotional breakout, the practitioners involved will feel some unusual relief in their body and mind, and many discomforts may disappear immediately.
It is reported that a form of Qigong called “Hui Tong Dan Tian Gong” (Intelligence through Dan Tian) in China was especially effective in treating schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients came to the in-patient clinic and practiced this form of Qigong continuously in a “mental disorders” way under close supervision. After one to two weeks of practice, they could walk out of the clinic free of schizophrenia and return to normal life.
Motivated Qi affects sick locations. According to TCM, good health is a result of a free flowing, well-balanced Qi (energy) system, while sickness and pain are the result of Qi blockage and unbalanced energy in certain parts of the body. Qi imbalance usually precedes physical illness. In order to stay healthy and function well, people need to practice Qigong to keep the Qi flowing smoothly in the body so that each cell in the body gets a constant supply of vital energy. Once the supply of Qi to the cells become blocked, blood flow to that area will change, the cells and their related organs may start to malfunction, and disease or pain may occur. One possible mechanism of Qigong therapy for pain relief and symptom reduction is through the relaxation of diseased or stressed tissues and the increased strength of Qi flow to the blocked areas. This leads to increased blood flow to the afflicted area of the body. Increased blood flow ensures a more efficient delivery of oxygen, nutrients, painkilling substances, and drugs as well as a more efficient removal of metabolic waste products that could contribute to pain and sickness.
Page above copied with permission and slightly adapted from the website of WISH Asia Pacific.