What is Qi?
What is Qi? Qi is the natural energy that fills the Universe. It is an energy that has been described as electric, magnetic, vibration, heat, or light. It can be described as an energy that flows in the body like water or electricity. Its qualities are much like both as it flows from higher potential to lower potential. By doing Qi Gong we can become more aware of this energy and actively use it.
What is Qi Gong?
Well, Qi Gong is a lot of things. It's quite a vast field of study really but to sum it up in a brief definition we can say that it is the art and science of cultivating energy in the body. To gather, refine, store and use this energy for a variety of purposes. One could think of Qi Gong as an ancient technology, a series of methods or if you like "an app for the human body" that one can learn and use. Qi Gong can be used to harness energy for healing both self or others, enhance wellness, improve physical performance, create mental and emotional calmness or even enhance sports and martial arts. These applications are performed through the use of correct body movement and postures, proper breathing and mind intent.
The study of Qi Gong goes back at least 4,000 years in Chinese history. It is a collective body of work influenced by Daoism, ancient Chinese Shamanism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Qi Gong is one of the pillars of traditional Chinese medicine that includes acupuncture, herbs, and diet. There are many books as well as hundreds of websites that can provide a lot of information on Qi Gong and so I refer to those sources for in-depth explanations and history. By all means explore the field and research it. Find out what resonates with you and delve into it further. My site is about what I can offer. Qi Gong is simply about experiencing it. To know it is to practice it. By practicing it, the benefits will become apparent over time.
Branches of Qi Gong
There are several main branches of Qi Gong, each of them have crossover influences from other branches. In general, most have a component that addresses health of the physical body and calming of the mind. I have given a very brief description below:
Medical Qi Gong
Medical Qi Gong is about curative and preventative healing methods. It uses the principals of the Five Elements Theory and Yin and Yang balance for both diagnostic procedures and treatment. Medical Qi Gong derives and combines many of its methods both from Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as from all of the other branches of Qi Gong with the emphasis on health maintenance, healing and restoring balance in the physical body. The style I have learned from my master involves elements of Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist methods. It utilizes physical exercise and moving meditations, massage, acupuncture and acupressure, special breathing exercises and seated meditations. This branch also can be broken down to methods taught for self care as well as External Qi Healing (EQH) where the therapist emits healing energy (fa-chi) into the client to elicit or facilitate a healing response or correct a Qi imbalance. Medical Qi Gong therapists work on the organ system, acupuncture points and meridian channels to facilitate healing.
Martial Qi Gong
Martial artists use Qi Gong for strengthening the body, enhance it's vitality and cultivate the mind and spirit. It is used to build internal energy useful in delivering more effective strikes and to help absorb blows received. Qi Gong methods in martial applications involve both meditative practices, movement practices as well as specific body conditioning exercises.
Daoist Qi Gong
The ultimate goal of Daoist training was to gain immortality and oneness with the Dao. To achieve this the Daoists focused on improving their physical health to achieve this longevity and prepare themselves for higher spiritual practices. They were very aware of Nature, her rhythms and cycles and used these concepts in their training. Daoism is quite a study itself but for our purposes here, it provides us with movement exercises and stillness meditations that can create improved health and wellness.
Buddhist Qi Gong
The methods of Buddhist Qi Gong entail methods for attaining enlightenment as well as methods for better physical health and unlocking latent abilities of the mind. Like many of the other branches, the Buddhist methods have crossover benefits of physical health, healing and mind components.
Confucian Qi Gong
This branch of Qi Gong was developed to balance the mind and emotions. It borrowed from Buddhist and Daoist sources with Confucian philosophy to create an individual who would be an ideal asset and beneficial to society.