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Qigong is the Grandparent/ Pillar of Classical Chinese Medicine
by Ricardo B. Serrano, R.Ac.

Ancient Qigong practitionerQi is the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which includes acupuncture, herbology, massage and Qigong as taught by my classical Chinese medicine teacher Dr. Kok Yuen Leung and practiced clinically at the Hangzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China where I had my TCM internship in 1993. Historically, Qigong is both the Mother/Father of the later branches of oriental medicine and as a pillar of Classical Chinese Medicine. Drawings depicting Qigong movements have been found in Chinese tombs at least 3500 years old, with other references going back 5000 years or more. This makes it the grandparent of many eastern energy-based healing modalities such as acupuncture and acupressure, tui-na (meridian) massage, chi nei tsang (deep organ massage). It probably guided the development of the internal martial arts such as Tai Chi Chuan and Ba Gua Chuan, and the many derivative Japanese/Korean healing arts such as shiatsu, Do-in, as well as the numerous martial spinoffs of Aikido, Judo, etc. Some historians speculate that Qigong even travelled into India where it became part of the repetoire of yoga and sacred temple dance training. Thus, Qigong is what Chinese medicine since prehistoric times is based on!

Yellow EmperorThe Yellow Emperor and the Han Dynasty

The earliest written record of Qigong as a healing technique is found in The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine, or Huang Di Neijing Suwen, written during the Han Dynasty (240 B.C.). It shows that classical Chinese medicine is a quasi-religious system relying heavily on ancient doctrines and a small number of ancient texts that offer a philosophy of balance and harmony between human beings and the environment. It describes the fundamental natural principles that lead to good health, implying that all phenomena of the world stimulate, tonify, subdue, or depress one's natural life force, and that humans are the offspring of the universe and therefore are subject to its laws:

"In the past, people practiced the Tao, the Way of Life. They understood the principle of balance, of yin and yang, as represented by the transformations of the energies of the universe. Thus, they formulated practices such as Dao-in (Qigong), an exercise combining stretching, massaging, and breathing to promote energy flow, and meditation to help maintain and harmonize themselves with the universe.

"They ate a balanced diet at regular times, arose and retired at regular hours, avoided overstressing their bodies and minds, and refrained from overindulgence of all kinds. They maintained well-being of body and mind; thus, it is not surprising that they lived over one hundred years."

"Health and well-being can be achieved only by remaining centered in spirit, guarding against the squandering of energy, promoting the constant flow of qi and blood, maintaining harmonious balance of yin and yang, adapting to the changing seasonal and yearly macrocosmic influences, and nourishing one's self preventively. This is the way to a long and happy life."

DragonAs a seeker of truth, holistic healing and enlightenment (oneness with Spirit) since I was in my 20's, I have been fortunate and grateful to have studied under classical Chinese medicine and Qigong teachers and have read the classical references of TCM with Tao Master Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, Huang Di Neijing, Shen Nong Ben Cao, and the other classical teachings of my Qigong teachers which assisted me greatly to the eventual realization that with no understanding, application and mastery of Qi through the practice of classical Qigong, especially Pan Gu Shengong, and without the wisdom of the fundamental correct doctrines of the classics, deeper and faster healing of clients or the fullfilment of the goal in becoming a self-realized Qi-healer will be just a pipe dream. See Pan Gu Shengong and Three Treasures (Shen, Qi, Jing)

"The teaching focuses essentially on the purification of Jing-Chi-Shen into its final product: the elixir of pure-person."
     - Door to All Wonders, Tao Te Ching

The following three articles on Qigong and one article on classical acupuncture are included to enlighten you on the necessity of returning to the roots of Classical Chinese medicine that is Qi-based and Qigong-oriented not only to come to a holistic understanding and validation of the concepts developed in Chinese culture with its classical Chinese medicine during the last 5000 years but also to revolutionize the present-day practice and prospect of traditional Chinese medicine and aspire its practitioners to become self-realized Qi-healers:

According to my Wuji Qigong teacher Michael Winn's article Qigong Therapy and TCM, "Medicine in the west is undergoing a sea change, as millions of people begin to explore energetic based approaches to healing. Acupuncture has been in the vanguard of this revolution, but acupuncture itself is about to undergo "a second revolution" of its own as it begins to integrate the wave of powerful Qigong healing technologies that are rapidly becoming understood and used in the west.

The practice of Qigong is essentially oriental medicine without needles. The Qigong craze is spreading like wildfire in the west because it is easy to learn, easy to do, and produces fast results, whether you need healing or are just a bliss junkie. It may be the greatest blessing ever for Oriental Medicine. If tens of millions of Americans graduate from jogging and muscle-building to the more subtle practice of Qigong, they will become educated about qi flow. That means millions of more people who will feel comfortable seeing an acupuncturist /herbalist to diagnose and help balance their Qi. This is the real grassroots foundation of the revolution in energy medicine occuring in the west today...

On a more basic level, all qigong is so simple yet powerful that many energy healers use Qigong to repair themselves from "healer burnout."

The Taoists are famous in China for their medical qigong. They claim to use neigong to tap into the universal pool of pre-natal jing. Medically, this means you can replace the "acquired jing" from your parents that is gradually spent, the depletion of which causes one to age. A high level practitioner of neigong is considered an "immortal", since death now becomes a voluntary event, not an unconscious process that forces us out of our body. There are many cases of people claiming to regrow hair, teeth, repair diseased organs, or recover from near death conditions.

This focus on tapping into the universal pool of pre-natal jing defines one of the differences between "classical qigong" (largely suppressed by the Communists as being too spiritual) and "modern TCM qigong". Classical qigong might also focus more heavily on the Eight Extra Meridians and the role of the five vital organ shen (zhang fu spirits, or intelligences) that regulate the flow of qi in the five elements cycle. In Taoist neigong, these practices include the famous "Microcosmic Orbit" and the more secret "Fusion of the Five Elements". The five types of qi are fused into a "pearl" of concentrated or purified consciousness that has the power to dissolve deep physical or emotional trauma...

When Qigong is combined with acupuncture, Qi is sent through the needles to regulate meridian flow, allowing for much faster and deeper healing than using needles without Qi emission... The main limitation of Qigong is the skill of the healer or the willingness of the patient to practice. Acupuncturists are in the best position to introduce this healing modality into the west, and they can gradually increase their Qi skills to complement their needle/herbal practice and TCM diagnostic knowledge. Learning to do so is both fun and rewarding for the acupuncturist." See Necessity of Qigong in Health, Sports & Enlightenment, Necessity of Qi-healers Without Borders

According to my Pan Gu Shengong teacher Ou Wen Wei's article Harmony Between Heaven, Earth and Man, "Man's spirit is like the Heaven and man's physical body is like the Earth. The spirit is the soul and thinking, and the body is the material substance. When harmony between the spirit and flesh is achieved, a perfect man is made. Man cannot live without matter, nor without spirit. Man is in his perfect condition only when his Qi (energy) and Yi (mind) are highly spirited and vigorous.

Exercise Yi to lay a firm foundation; gather Qi to keep the body fit. Free the mind from evil thoughts and qi will be good. Take in everything good, reinforce the root, trace it to the source, eliminate diseases, keep fit, and live longer. Retribution for good or evil can surely be found in how one is tempered.

As the sun homologizes the moon, so yin achieves balance with yang -- it has open up a path for all things on Earth to live and multiply in peace. Be kind and friendly, accumulate virtues and do good deeds, and the human race is on its bright road to the future." See The Nature & Role of Qi in the Human Body and Qigong is a Special Knowledge

According to my Sheng Zhen Qigong teacher Li Jun Feng's articles The Mission of Qigong and Essence of Life, "The amount of qi in the universe is always the same. It is never more or less. But the quality of the qi can change. If the circulation is not good, if there is not enough of an exchange between man and the universe, it results in a harmful imbalance, in poor qi quality, in stale and stagnant qi, in diminished power.

To better the quality, to improve the circulation, human hearts must open. Unconditional love is the key that unleashes the power of qi. When the heart is open, immersed in the experience of love, the interflow of qi can take place making the qi work.

The relationship between human beings in society can affect nature. If the family is happy it affects the community. If the community is flourishing, it affects the country. If the country is healthy, it affects the world. This, at the end is what leads to peace and harmony. Unconditional love is the root, is the key. It is to this purpose that Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong serves."

"Happiness and health are the essence of life. On a higher level, the main purpose of life is to learn what unconditional love is - to give more love to the world. Life comes from qi. Qi comes from the power of love. Qi and love are never separate. Each person can affect the environment, and the environment can affect the person. Each individual can positively affect the universe as a whole by sending unconditional love everywhere and to all beings. We hope unconditional love goes everywhere and to everyone. In our world, full of love, this world will become like paradise." See Why Practice Qigong of Unconditional Love (Sheng Zhen)?

The following article derived from Dr. De Schepper's book explain the concept of Qi with different forms of manifestations, and the cause of disease which is an imbalance of Yin and Yang shown by the pathway (key to the solution) below.

QiFrom Dr. Luc De Schepper's book Acupuncture for the Practitioner, " The concept of Qi is essential in acupuncture: the whole TCM is based on it; hence TCM is often "Energetic medicine." (Read pp. 57-58)

"In the western world, this word Qi is rarely heard without being followed by an adjective: electric energy, atomic energy, thermic energy, all forms of energy that can be transformed into each other. These forms of Qi, of course, known by the Orientals, but they are only manifestations of an essential principle: energy. Naturally, there is only one energy, but it can manifest itself in different forms: the ancestral Qi or Hereditary Qi, the Iong (Yong) or Food Qi, and the Wei or Defense Qi.

The Yong - or food Qi is provided by exterior sources: the Alimentation, but also the Respiration. These exterior sources also provide Wei Qi (Defense Qi). See Chinese Tonic Herbs to Cultivate Shen, Qi & Jing

What seemed to be a chaos of ideas in the first place changed into a truly fine logical sequence of events when I had a better insight into the relationship of the various differentiation of syndromes. I decided to call it (probably in a moment of arrogance) the "key to the solution." We know that as long as the Yin and Yang are in equilibrium there is no disease. Every disease begins with an imbalance of Yin and Yang caused by the Seven emotions, the Six Excesses, food intake (irregular, too cold, too raw, too much, etc) and long term illness. (Read pp. 59-62)

This initial disease attack will decrease the Qi in general, and a certain part of the total body Qi will be consumed. The Qi showing signs of deficiency will manifest a weakening of its holding, transforming and moving functions. Since the Lung is the master of the Qi, many symptoms of Empty Qi in this early stage relate to the Lung.

If the attack progresses unchecked, the most mobile, and hence most vulnerable, part will decrease and stagnate: the Yang Qi. The situation then becomes more severe. A decrease of the Yang Qi is generally considered more severe than a decrease of the Qi. apart from the above symptoms, Yang Qi deficiency will cause a weakening of the warming energy and therefore, Cold symptoms (mainly involved are K and Sp Yang) will appear. The Su Wen says: "Decrease in Qi (Yang) will lead to decrease in Xue (Yin), and the stagnation of one will lead to stagnation of the other." Inevitably, the decrease and stagnation of Yang Qi will lead to a decrease and stagnation of Yin Qi. Another way of stating this is that stagnation of Fire (yang) leads to stagnation of Water (YIN). Stagnation of water is nothing more than a formation of Phlegm, a process in which the spleen plays a very important role. The Phlegm itself will obstruct the Primary Channels, injure and obstruct the organs and ultimately the Heart. (Please read pp. 12-14 about CFS showing his protocol)

The pathway below described the consequences of the stagnation of the Yin. Alternatively, stagnation of Yang Qi will develop into Endogenous Heat (too much Yang concentrated in one place gives the extreme Yang excess, Fire). Endogenous Heat will always stir up the Wind (formation of Interior wind), which will ascend to the head to give symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, hypertension, etc. The extreme Heat will injure the Yin and exhaust the fluids, leading to the formation of Phlegm. In this way the vicious circle is closed. 1

6 Excesses
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V
7 Emotions
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V
Long-term Illness
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V
Food intake (source of Yong & Wei Qi)
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V
Decrease and Stagnation of Qi
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V
Decrease and Stagnation of Yang Qi
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V
Endogenous Heat & Phlegm or Decrease & Stagnation of Yin (water)
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V
Formation of Phlegm
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V
Obstruction of the channels
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V
Injury of the Organs & Ultimately the Heart

Pan Gu Shengong by Ricardo B. SerranoFrom the above articles written by three Qigong masters and a classical acupuncturist, there is a common theme with a common message for the practitioners of truncated Traditional Chinese medicine and that is the significance of integrating Qi-healing with Qigong and Chinese tonic herbs into their practice not only because it allows for deeper and faster healing of their clients and themselves through restoring the Yin and Yang imbalance and supplementing their Three Treasures (Jing, Qi and Shen) but most importantly also is that classical Qigong, as the grandparent of holistic Classical Chinese medicine, fulfills its spiritual goal which is the actualization of his/her individual path by working to become a self-realized being (zhenren).

The other main reason why the Qi-healers Without Borders (QWB) (QiWithoutBorders.org) was founded is to revolutionize the prospect of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the 21st century by training its practitioners to become self-realized Qi-healers thereby returning to the spiritually Qi-based holistic practice of Classical Acupuncture or Classical Chinese Medicine which includes Qi-healing and Qigong with Chinese tonic herbs as it was originally practiced 3500 years ago without the borders, restriction, westernization, and truncation of Traditional Chinese medicine which makes its practitioners only technicians with no Qi mastery and without the wisdom and the medical and spiritual values of the classics.

As an old Chinese saying goes, "When seeking the longevity of a tree one must safeguard its roots - this 'root,' that is the theoretical foundation of our field. A 'flourishing' without root...is like an empty shell without hun or po."

For more information on Chinese medicine, please read Chinese Medicine in Crisis: Science, Politics and the Making of TCM

For more information on the two types of Chinese medicine, please read Classical Chinese Medicine vs Traditional Chinese Medicine

 

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