Chinese Qi Gong
The traditional Chinese medical treatment is composed of four pillars: Acupuncture, Masage, Herbal Medicines and Qi Gong.
Qi Gong, literally ¡°breath exercise¡±, has its origin in ancient times of the Chinese history. Earliest estimates suggest that self-healing or enhancement or empowerment practice date back to the Chinese shamanism. The ancient Shang Dynasty saw the evidence and the exercise to help the Qi, the human body's vital energy, circulating through the human body system to nourish the internal organs and to help resolve disturbances of the Qi. And the Zhou Dynasty and the Warring States Period witnessed the records on bamboo and on Bronze that refer to breath practice related to Qi. A number of the verses by Lao Zi suggest breath practice and the benefits of merging with the forces and elements of nature. Zhouang Zi, another Taoist philosopher, state that the ancients had breathed down to their heels, which suggests that the breath, in the form of Qi, is projected and circulated throughout the human body. Again, 1973 saw an archeological excavation of a Han Dynasty tomb in Hunan Province , revealing a silk scroll with a series of over 40 figures painted on it, doing various Qi Gong movements.
Being an invaluable component of traditional Chinese medical treatment, Qi Gong is composed of Qi and Gong. The former is defined as vitality energy, or life force, and the latter as practice, cultivation, or refinement, and Qi Gong means to cultivate and refine through practice one's vitality or life force. Qi Gong is to search for health, longevity with the ultimate aim of immortality, which has entered the Chinese mind from ancient times. The Chinese believe that the primary mechanism that is triggered by the practice of Qi Gong is a spontaneous balancing and enhancing effect of the natural healing resources in the human system. Since the actual practice of Qi Gong began early in the Chinese history, the search by physician and patient for better health, both mentally and physically, and the martial artist's quest for better training methods, all contributed greatly to its development and enrichment over the following centuries.
Qi Gong has few forms of practice. One of them is Tuna (tu exhaling and na inhaling), or known as Tiaoxi (regulating breath), that is, working on Qi. The idea is that one should expel the stale and stagnated air and inhale fresh air, thus improving the functioning of the internal organs to resist senility and prolong life. Tuna skills can be divided into three basic categories: Koubi Huxi (breathing through the mouth or nose), Fushi Huxi (abdominal breathing) other methods of breathing and regulation in conjunction with mental activity such as Chong Qi (filling the body with Qi), Dantian Huxi (directing Qi to Dantian, a region two or three centimeters below the navel), Zhongxi (directing Qi to the heel ), and Guixi (breathing like a tortoise).
Another form of practice is Daoyin, with dao referring to the effect that the strength of the mind guides the physical movements, thus stimulating the internal flow of Qi within the body, and with yin referring to the idea that the physical movements help Qi reach the bodily extremities. It is the very source from which practically the modern Qi Gong exercises originated. It may well be said, therefore, that ancient Daoyin is the mother of modern Qi Gong. The ancient people interpreted Daoyin as physical movements executed in coordination with controlled breathing.
According to historical records, Daoyin methods began to appear in prehistoric times prior to the Shang Dynasty. By the time of the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods, some alchemists in pursuit of immortality devised various methods of spiritual cultivation which they believed would turn them into celestial beings. One of these methods was called Tugu Naxin---Tugu means ¡°getting rid of the stale¡±, an d Naxin, ¡°taking in the fresh¡±. The inscription on a jade article of this period now preserved at the Museum of Tianjin , an ancient-style prose composed of 45 Chinese characters, which was translated by the late poet and historian Guo Moruo as follows: ¡°Draw a deep breath, direct it downward and let it stay there. Then exhale and direct the breath upward like a growing sprout, in a direction just opposite to the inhaling route and up to its dead end. The heavenly essence thus goes up and the earthly essence comes down. One who follows this law will live, otherwise one will die¡±. This is a description of the whole process of breathing in Daoyin practice.
The early unconscious and unrealized stress management of Qi Gong is obvious today, which may relieve the stress by the peace of mind. Its exercises require that one be relaxed, calm, natural and free from distractions, so that is can remove ¡°stress¡±, and dispel tension and improve coordination of the nervous system, and enhance one's mental self-control. The health applications of Qi Gong is also obvious, with its exercise helping to keep the balance between Yin and Yang, to keep the main and collateral channels in good shape to establish harmony between vital energy and blood. Qi Gong exercises help to reduce fundamental metabolism, increase the capacity of storing energy, apply massage to the abdomen and improve appetite and bring good digestion. Qi Gong exercise is also help to tap the body potentialities, stimulate positive factors. Therefore, it becomes an effective measure to attain health and longevity. Qi Gong exercises can produce a myriad of beneficial effects, of which the most common are preventing and curing diseases, strengthening the constitution, avoiding premature aging, and prolonging life.
Qigong is the grand overriding structure of the martial arts and is the central practice of the ¡°internal arts¡±, and the Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, Medical and Martial school of practice developed. But unique to China only, Qi Gong has become an integral part of the Chinese culture. Over thousands of years, millions of people have practiced Qi Gong, having benefited their spiritual and physical health. Qi Gong masters and medical practitioners have developed theories from a wealth of experience and practice of Qi Gong over centuries. The modern scientific research and evaluation of Qi Gong exercise has attracted increasing attention and captured imagination from academic or intellectual circles around the world.