Medical qigong (“chee-kung”) is a foundational pillar of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with acupuncture, herbal treatment, and massage all deriving their deepest power from qigong. In simplest terms, medical qigong is Chinese energy healing, a method of
connecting the patient to the infinite, loving, creative source of the universe and
activating the innate capacity to heal.
Developed over thousands of years, medical qigong rests on the TCM principle that physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms alert us to disharmony in our relationship to universal chi, or life force. Medical qigong re-establishes our relationship to this universal life force by correcting problems at the meridian level. Meridians are energy channels running through the body–the route through which chi is distributed. Chi stagnation or blockages can appear as physical symptoms. Symptoms act as messages alerting us to the need to make changes to become better aligned to our life purpose.
Medical qigong can be applied by a practitioner or done as a self-help practice. In the first instance, the pracitioner directs energy to the client (usually via the practitioner’s hands) or activates the patient’s meridians through gentle touch, such as acupressure. As a self-help approach, the patient is taught qigong movements and postures specifically designed to help with the particular condition.
Practitioners undergo extensive energy training under the guidance of a qigong master to build the energy foundation needed to do this work and to open up their body to the universal life force.
Medical qigong differs from a conventional medical treatment in several ways. First, it is a hopeful and empowering approach. TCM does not view illness as a failure or as the inevitable breakdown of the body. Rather, illness is a sign that we have lost connection with our purpose. The blocked or stagnant chi that TCM treatment addresses reflects blockages on all levels, from the physical to the energetic.
Because medical qigong is a chi-level treatment, it can promote profound change in physical symptoms, emotions, thoughts, and spiritual awareness. It can be helpful for any condition. The principle requirement is that the patient be open to receiving the treatment.
A typical medical qigong session takes about an hour. During the session, the practitioner and patient discuss the patient’s problem and work toward a TCM understanding of the underlying reason for it. Patients can also be shown a basic energy self-care routine. During the session, patients lie down or sit in a recliner or chair. Some patients notice significant changes from a single treatment, but more commonly a series of treatments is needed to achieve maximum benefit.
Following a medical qigong treatment, patients report a range of reactions–from not being immediately aware of the treatment’s effects to noticing tingling, pain, numbness, increased warmth, and other sensations moving through the body. Occasionally, new symptoms appear. These are viewed as indicators that following the infusion of chi deeper level issues are being healed. Sometimes patients notice surprisingly positive effects that are not directly linked to the presenting symptom. Because treatment is
individualized each patient has a unique response.
Larry Stoler, MSSA, Ph.D
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