Monday, June 9, 2008

Qigong – Exercising Your Qi

Qigong refers to exercises that promote the proper flow of qi, or vital energy, in the body. This term is an umbrella term for a wide variety of exercises including meditation, Dao-In (Chinese Yoga), Tai Chi, and breathing techniques. Its definition could be extended to include exercises cross-culturally that provide similar benefits. Qigong is the foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine. The practice of qigong is an integral part of excelling as an acupuncturist and health maintenance for everyone.

Self-cultivation through a qigong practice is often part of an acupuncturist’s training. The concept of qi is difficult to grasp for Westerners. Qi is often translated as “vital energy” or “bioelectric energy” but this there is no English term that truly conveys its meaning. Qi is the “prana” of the Indian tradition. It is insubstantial. Its healthy flow powers the healthy function of our bodies. Feeling qi move through your body takes seemingly abstract, metaphorical concepts such as “meridian” or “yin and yang” and makes them into real, practical terms.

Short, simple qigong exercises are often given as homework to patients by their acupuncturists in order to empower them to make positive changes in their health themselves. The following is a qigong exercise I have given to my patients. This exercise is particularly important for women after giving birth to recuperate the proper flow of the channels. It is taken from the book Ancient Wisdom from a Modern Master; The Healing Art of Qi Gong by Master Hong Liu, which I often suggest to my patients.


· Powerful Longevity exercise.

· God for male/female problems (prostate, sexual dysfunction, cancer, menstrual, UTI, yeast infections, etc.)

· Don’t do in a car or place you may get distracted. Focus is very important during the exercise.

· Don’t have sex immediately before or after doing exercise (though it may provoke sexual energy)

How To Do The Breathing

Sit on the end of a chair or stool with perineum off the edge of the chair. (Egyptian stance).

Inhale, pull perineum (and only the perineum) into the body, hold (2 seconds) and exhale completely (release while exhaling). Focus on the perineum during the exercise.

Release completely or it may exacerbate problems.

Women -24 breaths (Numbers based on the I-Ching)
Men - 36 breaths .

Chong Mai goes through the energy centers, chakras - all the endocrine glands (helps balance hormones).

Why I Became an Acupuncturist

I was not raised to believe in anything that deviated from modern Western Medicine. My grandfather and uncle were MD's and my father was an engineer so anything "unscientific" was completely discounted. I credit my own healing crisis with changing how I view health and my personal responsibility for it.

I had always been a very healthy child. Around puberty I began having bizarre symptoms. I had joint pain, migraine headaches, menstrual problems, hair loss, and other seemingly unrelated issues. It wasn't until I was 17 that I was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma (a tiny tumor in the pituitary gland). I was faced with a laser procedure to remove it that could damage the entire gland. Out of desperation, my mom took to me to see an acupuncturist, one of the few they had in North Carolina at the time. My health turned around completely in 3 months. A year later I went back and did another MRI and there was no adenoma.

After my experience my mom began seeing our acupuncturist. To make a long story short, after I finished college my mom and I decided to attend acupuncture school together and to open our clinic together. We want to give other people the opportunity we had to transform our health.