(Chi Kung) has been an integral part of Chinese culture since ancient
China. High-level qigong masters have always been respected and held in
high esteem in Chinese society. They studied qigong not merely for the
health and strength of the body, but as an attempt to understand human
nature and its interactions with the environment and the universe as a
whole. Realizing that humans are part of nature, any attempt to understand
human physiology inevitably involves the study of the universe. These
qigong masters were the pillars of Chinese society and included healers,
philosophers, teachers, astrologers, scientists, martial artists, and
government leaders. Their study resulted in the formation of the Yin-Yang
and the Five Element Theories that have guided, and still guide the development
and research of all fields of study, from medicine, to government, to
the understanding of our greater existence.
Today, qigong is most often referred to as any set of breathing and qi
circulation techniques that are capable of improving health, preventing
illness, and strengthening the body. Generally speaking, qi is a Chinese
term used to refer to all types of energy. It is the intrinsic substance
or the vital force behind all things in the universe. It is the medium
between and within all material substances. We are all immersed in it.
The term gong refers to the power to produce an effect, an attainment
of, or an accomplishment that is achieved with steady practice. Loosely,
qigong can be translated as the attainment of qi. Healers and the medical
society use qigong for healing and preventing illness. Martial artists
used qigong for developing incredible strength and abilities. Others use
qigong to attain a greater state of consciousness.
The practice of qigong aims at balancing and strengthening qi in the human
body. In Medical Qigong, for example, the objective for healing illness
is to build the patient's qi to counteract the pathogenic influences and
to regulate the balance of yin-yang energy, thereby returning the body
to a normal physiological state, thus regaining health. This way the energetic
imbalance is rebalanced and the root cause of the illness is removed.
If qi in the human body is strong, then it will be difficult for the pathogenic
influences to adversely affect the body. Even if the pathogenic influence
does attack the body, the abundance of qi increases the immunity of the
body and prevents disease from occurring. Only when the qi is weak or
deficient will the pathogenic influences be able to cause irregularities
in the physiological systems and result in diseases.
The TCM approach to treating illness includes the use of herbs, acupuncture,
moxibustion, and massage to counteract the effects of pathogenic influences,
thereby regaining health. Another approach would be to practice qigong
and/or take herbs to strengthen the qi, thus improving the immunity of
the body for fighting against the pathogenic influences.
One of the ways doctors and healers can remove the physical manifestation
of an illness is by balancing a patient's energy; and prescribing external
assistance such as drugs, herbs, or nutritional supplements. In drastic
cases, surgical removal of the manifestation of the illness is necessary.
However, it is up to the individual to work on maintaining the balance
of energy within the body to prevent the illness from remanifesting in
a similar or other form. External assistance is not a permanent solution
to problems associated with energetic imbalance. Once the external assistance
is removed or stopped, the individual's body still may not have a natural
response to prevent the illness. By practicing qigong, the natural response
to establish balance within the body is achieved and strengthened, thus
illness is prevented.
In Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, and Wushu (martial arts) qigong training,
the same approaches are also used to achieve a healthy mind and body.
With a healthy mind and body, the higher levels of any achievement in
any field can be accomplished because the foundation is strong enough
to withstand the demands of continuous learning.
Qigong is the oldest art of health exercise developed in China. Qigong
exercises were developed to strengthen and circulate Qi (life or vital
energy). Smoothly flowing Qi is the basis for good health in Chinese medical
theory. Proof of its ancient uses have been unearthed and preserved until
this day in various styles and forms throughout the world. The purpose
of Qigong is more of a therapeutic process. A wide variety of practitioners
and professionals attest to its effectiveness in relieving stress, increasing
brainpower and physical stamina. From a study of various physical basic
structures, Master Yu teaches the basic acu-meridian points associated
with each of the many style and types of Qigong practices.
history of Qigong (Ch'i Kung) commences beyond the era of written records,
in the mists of prehistory. Earliest estimates suggest that self-enhancement
and empowerment practices date into the time of Chinese shamans, previous
to 500 BCE.
While Qigong has strong roots into mystical and philosophical ground,
the practical healing and stress management applications are the most
popular aspects of the tradition in China today. Both the health and spiritual
applications are rapidly gaining in popularity in the Western world as
people realize that disease and stress are relieved by peace of mind.
Qigong is one of the four pillars of traditional Chinese medicine: Acupuncture,
Massage, Herbal Medicines and Qigong. Of these, Qigong is the one that
can be most easily self-initiated. Both massage and herbal remedies can
also be done as self care, however, Qigong is the mother of Chinese self-healing.
Patients who use Qigong faithfully need less medication, less acupuncture
and heal faster.
The word Qigong breaks into Qi and Gong: Qi = vitality, energy, life force,
Gong = practice, cultivate, refine; Qigong = to cultivate and refine through
practice one's vitality or life force. The Chinese believe that the primary
mechanism that is triggered by the practice of Qigong is a spontaneous
balancing and enhancing of the natural healing resources in the human
system. Over thousands of years millions of people have benefited from
these practices believing that improving the function of the Qi maintains
health and heals disease.
In the paradigm of mechanistic Western science, the practice of Qigong
triggers a wide array of physiological mechanisms, which have profound
healing benefits. It increases the delivery of oxygen to the tissues.
It enhances the elimination of waste products as well as the transportation
of immune cells through the lymph system. And it shifts the chemistry
of the brain and the nervous system. You can find a summary of the many
physiological mechanisms that are initiated by the practice of Qigong
in the Information Center.
There are various estimates for the number of varieties of Qigong. There
are at least a thousand. Some elaborate and complex, some mysterious and
esoteric and some simple and practical. If you adjust to a relaxed, upright
posture, take a deep breath and relax your mind - you are already doing
Qigong. Try this: sit up, relax your body, take a deep breath, and rest
your mind for just a moment. Already you are stimulating an automatic
On any morning in the parks throughout China you will find literally thousands
of people doing Qigong practices. Some practice individually quietly among
the trees. Others practice in large groups of hundreds or even thousands.
Often, one will see a patient, in hospital pajamas, doing a special form
of cancer recovery Qigong - at form of slow and intentful walking. Or
a group might stand in a circle chatting as they do a simple form based
on hand movements.
Qigong is one of the most powerful self-healing traditions ever developed
in human history. It is literally a health wonder of the world.
Every time you return to this Qigong and Taiji Resource Center you will
find that our libraries are growing.
You may wish to explore the words that are used to describe Qigong (Ch'i
Kung) and Taiji (T'ai Chi); it will help to clarify a few important points.
the 1600's the social, scientific and philosophical history of western
culture experienced a radical shift. The work of Newton and Galileo literally
revised our world. For thousands of years the humans were locked in the
stagnation of the dark ages, with little advance since fire, the wheel
and the sword. Then, in less than the life span of an oak tree, tremendous
and sudden evolution occurred with the rapid development of engineering,
the automobile and antibiotics.
Western culture is at the edge of another profound and dramatic transformation.
For the last 400 years we have understood that the world was a dynamic
interrelationship of substances, particles and bodies. Now, through the
most refined scientific inquiry, it has become clear that there is no
substance. What we thought was substance has been revealed as a dynamic
interrelationship of energies. Physics is now redefining time and space
and generating whole new sciences of resonance and energy fields. There
is even emerging agreement on a theory that suggests that there are more
than three dimensions of space and one of time. Again as in the 1600's
everything is dramatically changing.
Acupuncture, however, is really just a modality, a tool used by doctors
of oriental medicine to help the patient. Like surgery, though much less
invasive or like medication though less likely to cause side effects,
acupuncture has startling implications for the future of medicine. The
aspect of oriental medicine that has the potential to truly rock the western
world is Qigong. Healing patients without touching them and with no medication,
causing anesthesia by just pointing a finger and generating acupuncture
like response without needles are well documented effects of Qigong. Many
observers have seen Qigong masters light fluorescent tubes with their
hands, break massive stones and thick steel bars with their hands and
feet and start fires by projecting the Qi. The implications for the transformational
impact of Qigong on western science are profound.
Qigong has captured the imagination and the scientific attention of the
world. In China there is a multitude of Qigong research institutes. The
need for research in the rigorous scientific method of the West, with
control groups and ample statistical methodologies has shifted Qigong
research out of the tradition ways. In the United States Qigong associations
and institutes are proliferating rapidly. The Chinese National Chi Kung
Association, which has an extensive written and video training course.
Master Manuel Marquez was one of the first groups to graduate from the
Chinese National Chi Kung Association in 1984 in the USA.
is one of the great mysteries of the Asia. It is the most profound of
the aspects of Asian medicine. It is the root of self-care, in the Chinese
health care system. It is the essence of the how "physician heal
thy self" operates in China. Qigong is the grand overriding structure
of the martial arts and is the central practice of the "internal
arts". It is the current link to the ancient source of Asian shamanism
and magic. And yet, with all of these qualities of the unusual and the
esoteric, Qigong has a very practical role in the maintenance of health
and the healing of disease.
Cultivating the Human Bio-Electric Field
The Chinese character that gives us the word Qi means the human vitality
or essential functional energy of life. It also means breath. Bioelectrical
breath, resonating bioelectrical field and human bio-magnetic field are
other translation attempts that give a rich and graphic image for the
Qi. It is the Qi or life force that maintains the healthy and harmonious
function of the human body's self regulating systems. It is the Qi that
the doctor of oriental medicine manipulates with acupuncture. It is the
Qi that binds the planets into a solar system, holds the electrons in
their orbital shells around the nucleus of the atom and drives the sprout
upward, against 14.7 pounds per square inch of gravity, to reach for the
The character that gives us the word Gong means, "to cultivate"
or "engage in". In every Asian community there is a wonderful
place called the cultural hall or institute of culture. Sometimes it is
called the school of physical culture. This idea of culture derives from
the act of cultivation, which requires time, discipline and intention.
Gong means to practice, train, enhance and refine but it also implies
enjoyment, devotion and commitment. If some one loves to cook, garden
or meditate and if they are devoted to practice and refinement, then,
one's engagement in these practices is Gong. Because one of the all time
favorite pastimes in China is gong fu, which in many historical periods
has meant fighting or boxing, the idea of gong is often associated with
the martial arts. . In fact, however, gong is applicable to any practice,
discipline or self-development art in which a person is deeply involved.
Qigong, simply stated, is the cultivation of Qi or vital life energy.
Stated in a more modern and scientific language, Qigong is the practice
of activating, refining and circulating the human bioelectrical field.
Because the bioelectrical field maintains and supports the function of
the organs and tissues, Qigong can have a profound effect on health. Beyond
this Qigong expands into a discipline of mental and spiritual development.
There are many systems and traditions of Qigong ranging from simple callisthenic
type movements with breath coordination to complex auto regulatory type
exercises where the practitioner alters brain wave frequency, heart rate
and other organ functions intentionally. In extremely advanced levels
of practice the Qigong practitioner can transmit Qi or energy across distances
and through substances. There are cases where the practitioner can manipulate
the limbs of a subject from a distance and diagnose physiological disturbances
without conversation or palpation.
is a growing literature on the history, tradition, science and practice
of Qigong. Its origin is shrouded in the mystery of ancient China. There
are stories of special techniques of breath practice that leads to immortality,
healing powers, and special abilities. During the ancient Shang dynasty
(1766-1154 BC) there is evidence of a system to stimulate, what are now
called acupuncture reflexes that help to resolve disturbances of the Qi?
From Lu Buwei (221-207 BC) and his book to Huang Di and his book Nei Jing
(476-221BC) the Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic. During the Han Dynasty
(206 BC - 220 BC) widespread was received. Lao Zi (770-476BC) and Zhuang
Zi (369-286BC) the founder of Zhuang Chi Kung the masters where compiling
more information on this subject. During the Chou dynasty and the Warring
States periods (1100-221 BC) records appeared on bamboo and on bronze
that refer to breathe practice. A number of Lao Tze's greatly revered
verses suggest breath practice and the benefits of merging with the forces
and elements of nature. A famous prescription of the period is frequently
referred to and because of the wide variation of possible meanings for
early Chinese ideograms it has many various translations.
Taoist poet/philosopher Chuang Tzu stated, in 300 BC, "The ancients
breathed down to their heels". This suggests that the breath, in
the form of the Qi, is projected and circulated throughout the body. In
1973 an archeological excavation of a Han dynasty (220 BC-220 AD) tomb
in Hunan Province revealed a series of over 40 figures painted onto a
silk scroll doing various Qigong movements. It is reported that while
many of the inscriptions have become unreadable one is clear which says,
"Look skyward and exhale". In this same period one of the first
great acupuncture and herbal medicine practitioners, Bien Chieuh, taught
breath practice to enhance the circulation of the Qi.
It is a strong tradition in oriental medicine to teach a person to maintain
health and many famous physicians developed systems of exercise. In the
third century AD, Hua To, whose place in the history of oriental medicine
is so illustrious that a series of important acupuncture points bear his
name, developed a series of Qigong exercises called the "five animal
forms". In the sixth century, Ta Mo, a monk in the tradition of Mahayana
Buddhism, also known as Bodhidarma, came from India and found the monks
of Shaolin Temple weakly and undisciplined. He introduced a combination
of movement forms with Buddhist meditation that invigorated the monks
and increased their power. This was the beginning of the tradition of
the superior martial artists of the Shaolin Temple.
Many lineages of Qigong have developed over the centuries. The martial
Gong enhances the strength, endurance and spirit of the warrior. The medical
Gong can be used to heal diseases. Confucian Qigong is focused on self-cultivation,
ethical development and refinement of personal temperament. The Taoist
Gong is aimed at alchemical transmutation, merging with nature, longevity
and immortality. The Buddhist Gong seeks refinement of mind, transcending
the world of illusion and salvation of all living things.
In the "New China" following the revolution in the 1940's Qigong
briefly disappeared. In the 1970's and 80's numerous institutes for the
study of Qigong have sprung up in China. Many hospitals now have Qigong
doctors on staff and Qigong classes as regular allied treatment with acupuncture,
herbs and western medical modalities. There is a genuine renaissance of
Qigong occurring in China. The western world, with its tremendous breakthrough
of quantum physics, has taken up a sincere fascination with the bio-energetic
Here at the school we teach various forms of Qigong from the oldest and
most diverse form is Daoyin Nei Dan or Wai Dan exercises. Dao refers to
the fact that physical movements that are guided by the strength of the
mind and in turn stimulate the internal flow of qi within the body. Yin
means that with the aid of physical movements, qi can reach the bodily
extremities. Nei is the soft internal way to distribute the qi to the
body. Wai is the hard internal to distribute the qi to the body and Dan
is the form of exercise.