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Chigong/Qigong

Translated as “the working of air,” Chigong (Qigong, chi kung) is a series of standing, sitting, moving or lying down breathing regimens used to balance the Chi Universal Energy in our bodies. At the advanced level, one develops the ability to tap into the Chi Universal Energy external to body at will.

Chigong is a way to improve one's health and wellness, as well as reducing the build-up Chi blockages that had been cleared away from chi healing and/or transformation. It blushes out build-up Chi energy; therefore, the practice of chigong requires guidance for the understanding the changes that happen with the practice of chigong. Chigong practice is an important tool in one’s path to healing and maintaining wellness.

There are many different kinds of Chigong out there, but we only teach the Chigong that saved Craig's life and helped him break away $10,000/year medication cost. That was his pill bill in 1979, so one can only imagine what it would be in 2022.

It takes less than five minutes to learn one of the movements, and requires at least five Chi breaths a day to help your mental and physical wellness. Naturally, the more you practice, the faster and stronger the Chi will become. When Craig learned Chigong, he practice two hours a day, seven days a week.


Chi, Chigong, Chi healing, Health

Chi (Qi), Chi Flow and Health

The literal meaning of Chi is “breath”, “air” or "energy", and by extension, “breath of life“, “life force” or “energy that sustains the Universe”. The Chinese believe that Chi governs nature and life.

Chi is believed to flow through the human body in channels called meridians. The Chinese consider all illnesses, both physical and mental, as a result from irregularity in the flow of Chi. In a healthy person, Chi flows along the meridians freely and smoothly. When Chi becomes imbalanced, disease and illness begin to take forms. Traditional Chinese medicine, one of the oldest medical disciplines in the world, strives to keep the flow of Chi balanced and strong.

A variety of techniques were developed in traditional Chinese medicine to treat illness by adjusting the Chi flow in the body. Acupuncture, Tui na, Cupping and Moxibustion use external stimuli to access acupuncture points (also called acupoints) along the meridians in an effort to clear blockages. Herbs are used to restore the balance of different Chi energy in the body. All these practices are to strengthen the Chi flow, which in turn also increases one’s health. Many famous Chinese physicians throughout history, for example Hua Tuo (141-208 AD), Li Shizhen (1518-1593 AD), were also Chigong practitioners.


Chi (Qi) and Chigong (Qigong or Chi Kung)

The History

Some scholars estimate that the concept of Chi might be 5000–7000 years old. Tracing the exact historical development of Chi and Chigong is difficult, because the concept of Chi probably existed many years before written language had developed. The earliest evidence of Chigong practice comes from the discovery of color pottery of the Majiayao culture of the Neolithic period found in 1975 in Northwest China’s, Qinghai Province, Ledu County Liuwan. A painted water vessel pottery pot (height 34 cm), estimated to be at least 5000 years old, was found decorated with a human portrait (see figure) posed in a posture that is identical to a posture of Chigong practice called standing post (see picture). The Chigong historian Li Zhi-yong contends that this figure represented the earliest Chigong masters, which was further corroborated by anthropologist K. C. Chang (Chang, K.C. 1999).

The earliest form of Chinese writing, known as oracle bone inscriptions (or Jia Gu Wen in Chinese Pinyin), was accomplished by carving ancient Chinese characters onto tortoise shells and animal scapulas. The oracle bone inscriptions were mainly used for divination and keeping records of events that happened during the Shang Dynasty (1766-1122 B.C.). The graphic character of Chi
was found on an oracle bone inscription, and was also discovered on bronze inscriptions of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (1122 to 221 B.C.). The character is a pictogram (depicting the shape) symbolizing the flow of air.

By the Warring States Period of the late Zhou Dynasty (481-221 B.C.), the evidence proving the existence of the concept of Chi was quite abundant. In particular, the practice of Chi had been described in the inscription of the jade artifact “Xing Qi Ming
(see picture). It is the earliest found written evidence of Chigong. Based on the inscription, it is clear evidence showing that the concept Chi and the practice of Chigong were well established at that time.

The translation of the
inscription is as follows: “To regulate chi: When it is in depth, it will accumulate (store, collect); when it accumulates, it will spread; when it spreads, it will move downward; when it moves downward, it will settle; when it settles it will be firm; when it becomes firm, it will sprout; when it sprouts, it will grow; when it grows, it will regress; when it regresses, it will become nature (heaven, sky); heaven (sky) has roots (pounds into the ground) above; earth (ground) has its root (pounds into the ground) below; smooth flow enables life; reverse flow leads to death.”

Two other important findings discovered from the Han dynasty also demonstrate the practice of Chigong in China more than 2000 years ago. An artifact known as the Zhangjiashan Hanjian Yinshu (Literally translated as “The Han Bamboo Strip Book Yinshu”), which dates back to 186 B.C., was unearthed in Hupei Provonce Jiangling Xian Zhangjiashan in 1984. According to the studies of Peng Hao and Li Ling, Hanjian Yinshu is a detailed manuscript that includes therapeutic and illness-preventive techniques as well as movements that emphasize breathing methods as a way to attain health and longevity (Li, 2001).

The other archaeological testimony, “The Silk Book on Chigong Practices” or Daoyin tu, was unearthed from a Han Dynasty tomb (168 B. C.) in 1973 in Hunan Province, Changsha. The Daoyin tu is a color manuscript that shows forty four movements in a series of sketches accompanied by commentaries on their therapeutic features. According to Li Ling, there are two identifiable categories of sketches. The first group is the “Animal Plays,” which is divide into eight types of animal-bird movements such as bear-hanging and bird-stretching as described by Zhuangzi. The second group is the cure for illness and disease that includes eighteen ways to treat deafness, hernia, anxiety, knee pains, neck problems, abdominal bloating, sciatica, fever, and pneumonia. (Li, 2001)

The term “Chigong” (Qigong, Chi Kung, Qi gong or Chi gong) is made up of two Chinese characters, “Chi” (air) and “Gong” (accomplishment or skill that is cultivated through steady practice). Together, Chigong means cultivating energy or work through breathing. The concept of Chi and Chigong practice of utilizing breathing to strengthen health has evolved throughout Chinese history and different aspects of Chigong practice have been mentioned in the literature: tu-na (exhaling and inhaling), dao-yin (guiding the energy flow), xing-chi (promoting the circulation of chi), fu-chi (intake of chi), shi-chi (feeding chi), lian-chi (practice chi), tiao-chi (regulating chi), jing-zuo (sitting quietly), zuo-chan (meditation), zuo-chan (sitting meditation), nei-gong (internal gong), zuo-wang (sitting undisturbed), yang-shen (nourishing the spirit) and shou-shen (guarding the spirit). The commonality of all these aspects is the regulation of breathing to reach good health and a higher spirituality. The term “Chigong” summarizes the essence of all these practices, and first appeared in the Chinese literature in “Records of the Jingming ‘Clear Brightness’ Sect”, a book written by Daoist priest Xu Xun (239-374 A.D.) during the Jin dynasty (265-420 A.D.), where Chigong was mentioned in the chapter “Elucidation on Chigong”.


In the early 20th century, Chigong was the topic of several books. The term “Chigong” appeared in two Wushu training books, “Secrets of Shaolin practice” published in 1915 by Zhonghua Book Company and “Collections of Wushu Practices”, now a classic martial arts text, written by the famous kung fu master Wan Lai-shen published in 1929 by Commercial Press Ltd. In the book written by Zhang Qing-lin “The Secrets of Regulating and Practicing Chi” published in 1929, it mentions about taiji tai chi) founder Zhang San-feng’s emphasis on the practice of Chigong, cites the lyrics (rhymes) used in Chigong practice and also credits Zhang as the originator of dian xue (Dim Mak), a method of training used to strike acupuncture points to interfere with proper Chi flow. Famous Chinese general and outstanding kung fu practitioner, Zhang Xue-liang, wrote a brief description of the importance of Chigong in the book’s preface.


In the 1930’s, Chigong had become a treatment method used in some hospitals. The health aspects of Chigong became the emphasis of two books, “Chigong Treatment Method for Tuberculosis (TB)“ by Dong Hao, published in 1934 by the Xiang Lin hospital in Hangzhou, and “Records of Chigong Treatment Methods” published in 1938 by the Gong Bo Chigong Treatment Institute in Shanghai.


The clinical results of Chigong in Hebei Province in the 1950’s led to the official use of the term “Chigong” in the study reports. Liu Gui-zhen summarized his clinical experience of Chigong treatment in his “Chigong Treatment Experimentation”. The term “Chigong” became widely used after the publication of this book in 1957.


The sporadic appearance of the term “Chigong” in classical literature does not reflect the popularity of the term in common language. Chigong has not only been a common term in the spoken language, it has also been often used in the kung fu novels and marital arts films.

Literatures

Chang, K.C. 1999. Collected Treatises on Chinese Archaeology, Zhongguo kaoguxue lunwenji. Beijing: Shenghuo Dushu Xinzhi Press.

Gao, Ming. 1996. Commentaries on the Silk Scroll Book of Laozi, Boshu Laozi Xiaozhu. Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju.

Guo, Qing-pan. 1997. An Elucidation on Zhuangzi, Zhuangzi Jishi. Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju.

Li Ling. 2001. A Study on Chinese Occult Arts, Zhongguo fangshu kao. Beijing: Eastern Press.

Peng, Hao. 1990. “A Primary Study on the Han Bamboo Strip Gymnastic Book from the Han Bamboo Strips of Zhangjiashan,” in Wenwu: 10. Beijing.

Summarized Results of Scientific Studies on Chigong Exercise

Biophysical Measures

·Generate magnetic field (Japan)

·Balance electrodermal measurements (USA)

Physiological Effects

·Influence brain wave (China) (Austria)

·Change the blood flow of the brain (Austria)

·Reduce level of stress hormones, increase pain suppression neurotransmitter, and balance growth hormone and testosterone (Korea)

·Influence the immune cells towards anti-inflammation response in favor of a rapid resolution of inflammation (Hong Kong) (USA) (Spain), and increase the resistance against common infection and inflammation (Korea). Tai Chi and Qigong practice improve the antibody response to influenza vaccine (USA)

·Improve organ functions: Reduce the level of liver disease markers and renal disease marker (Spain)

·Improve functional capacities (exercise) of patients with heart problems (Italy)

·Improve respiratory function by increasing oxygen, reducing carbon dioxide in the blood (Korea) and increasing efficiency in gas exchange (USA)

·Improve the health of asthma patients (Germany)

·Stabilize heart function (Korea)

·Reduce pain (Sweden) (USA)

·Improve motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (Germany)

·Tai Chi and Qigong improve body mass index, waist circumference, and glucose control measures (Australia)

·Improve global quality of life, and reduce side effects of cancer treatments and inflammation biomarkers (Australia), but it does not provide cure for cancer (Review UK)

·Tai Chi and Qigong reduce blood pressure, stress hormones, cholesterol and symptom score of heart failure just as good as conventional exercise (Korea) (Taiwan) (UK) (China) (Hong Kong)

·Qigong exercise reduce stress at computerised work (Sweden) and hospital staffs (USA)

Psychological Measures

·Alleviate clinical depression (Hong Kong)

·Improve Vitality, Sleep, Social Activity, Health Distress, Mental Health and Psychological Well-being of females of Chronic Fatigue syndrome (UK)
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Qi or Chi is the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Feng Shui. The Chinese consider all illnesses, both physical and mental, as well as bad fortunes, as a result from irregularity in the flow of Qi.

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