According to the ancient Chinese belief, Qi ( Invisible Life Force ) is thought to derive from one universal source, which is divided into two equal yet opposing forces - "Yin & Yang". "Yin and "Yang" create life by touching each other, they are the basis of all life. They are complementary and interdependent forces that act in the universe continuously. These forces are influenced by the five elements ( wood, fire, earth, metal and water ) that are related to the organs of the body. For complete health and well being, the two forces need to be in perfect balance in the body.
In the case of human beings, Qi falls into two major categories - 'Prenatal Qi and Postnatal Qi'. Prenatal Qi is what one receives from one's parents before being born. It is the basis and prime driving force of life, while postnatal Qi is what one acquires after birth, through breathing, dietary intake and body functions.
The Chinese concept of energy system perceives the body as a reflection of the universe, influenced by environmental, climatic, dietary, mental and spiritual factors.
Human beings are seen as an integral part of nature, affecting and affected by nature. If we live in harmony with nature, we will be healthier, calmer and have spiritual strength. On the other hand, going against the forces of nature is thought to lead to imbalance and disease.
Therefore, mental and physical exercises can be used to balance the elements in the mind and body, and to regulate the flow of Qi. Such exercises or art form are practised in the form of Qigong, which is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine.
Qigong consists of two chinese words, "Qi" and "Gong". "Qi" is the energy that circulates within the body connecting human beings to nature, and "Gong" means repeated time and work.
Qigong ( pronounced chee-gong ) means 'working with life energy', learning how to control the flow and distribution of Qi to improve the health and harmony of mind and body.
Qigong is one of the most ancient Chinese health exercises or artform, practiced for over 5,000 years and involves simple movements that are designed to enhance and balance Qi in the body, while meditation relaxes the body and tranquilizes the mind. It is certainly the most popular and widely practiced self-healing exercise or artform in the world today because the techniques allow us to deal effectively with different states of health or disease.
There are many reasons to practice Qigong, but most importantly, it is a way to prevent illness and improve health and well-being. It is easy to learn and can be practiced in any order, but mastering it requires patience, dedication and perseverance.
There are different styles, forms and schools of Qigong, but all have the same principles of good posture, balance, relaxation, breathing techniques, healing and meditation.
Health is more than an abundance of Qi. Health means that the Qi in our bodies is clear, rather than polluted and turbid, and flowing smoothly like a stream, not blocked or stagnant.
All drugs used to treat diseases and illness today are not without their side-effects. Many of these side-effects can be harmful, especially in long term treatment, and many times medication for one ailment can precipitate or worsen another for which more medication is prescribed, and so on. It can be a vicious circle.
Qigong, on the other hand, brings a completely "non-toxic" method of treatment, which means that it can be therapeutic for many internal disorders, without the potential drawbacks of other types of treatment. Qigong, if practiced correctly, has no side effects. Research has shown that patients who practice Qigong recover more quickly and gain the skills necessary to take charge of their own health, thus giving people even more good reason to consider Qigong as an alternative treatment.
Hopefully, through the popularity of Qigong in the 21st Century, all health authorities will have a greater understanding, recognition and appreciation of the benefits that Qigong therapy can offer as preventative medicine is concerned.
How can one understand "Qi" without practicing Qigong? Perhaps the knowledge and understanding about "Qi" and "Qigong" is the journey of ones own experience. There is a Chinese proverb - "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."
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