Going with the Flow
A wonderful description of Qi/Life Energy and some of the benefits of a Qi Gong practice, from The Way of Qi Gong by Kenneth Cohen.
“According to Chinese medical theory, health means a full and flowing supply of qi. Using a modern metaphor, we can regard the body as a battery that can either lose, maintain, or increase its charge. Stress, worry, and poor health habits dissipate qi. Proper self-care helps to maintain or improve health. Moderate and correct practice of qigong can fully “charge” the body, increasing the reservoir of healing energy. This means great vitality and an improved ability to fight off disease and infection.
Healing energy if only helpful if it can get where it is needed. It is therefore essential that qi flow to all the cells of the body. For this reason, qi has been compared to blood, which in a similar way must reach all part of the body, brining oxygen and nutrients and carrying away waste. The Chinese recognize this analogy in their saying, ‘Where the qi goes, the blow flows.’
However, unlike blood, qi is an invisible, subtle force. We know it exists the same way we know sunlight and wind exist. We cannot capture or grasp these forces in the hand, yet we can experience them. Science does not need to prove their existence in order for us to believe in them. Nevertheless, it is wonderful to know that science can measure these things. Qi is quantifiable as research is increasingly proving, but it is more than quantity! Anyone who takes a walk in nature knows that sunlight is far more than photons and wind far more than changes in atmospheric pressure. So it is with qi. “
Doing Qi Gong, like having an acupuncture treatment or a sound, color, healing session with tuning forks, can help this flow of Qi return to homeostasis. When the Qi does not flow, certain areas of the body either have too much or too little energy – either condition can result in illness. Using the physical movements, breathing techniques, and “intention” to move Qi, a person becomes self-reliant and responsible for their own health. They are able to avoid illness or to recover more quickly and fully when they do get sick, as when the seasons change the associated organs do a “house cleaning” (For the spring, focus is on the liver and gallbladder).
Using this practice of inner focused attention, Qi Gong, like western biofeedback therapy, and hypnosis, is a systematic training in psycho-physiological self-regulation. There is so much we can learn from this inner journey – from keeping the body relaxed and supple, keeping our energy strong and fluid, to understanding how to integrate our body, mind, emotions, and spirit.