Qigong therapy - some personal experiences
Qigong might be described as a art of "energy exercise" to build up a person's store, as well as to improve the circulation, of qi or "life energy". Such exercise could involve (slow and gentle) movement, special breathing techniques as well as visualisation and meditation.
Qigong is also sometimes used as a form of healing, where a person who is skilled in the art uses his / her own qi to influence the qi of the patient. It could be to remove "bad qi" that causes illness, to improve the flow of qi or even to enhance the existing qi. Such treatments are generally called qigong therapy or qigong healing.
Introduction to qigong
I was first introduced to qigong therapy by my Chinese sinseh (physician) in the mid-1980s.
I became the Chinese sinseh's regular patient and friend. And when he returned from studying qigong therapy in China, he invited my wife and I to join him in qigong exercises early in the morning. Another regular patient of his, a man who had many health problems and was rather weak, also joined the group.
One thing my Chinese sinseh said when he returned from China struck me: “Now I believe all the stories about Jesus Christ (performing miracles). I used to think, how can a person do such things? Now I know it is possible.” Apparently, he witnessed some miraculous acts performed by qigong masters in China.
The exercises that my sinseh taught consisted of slow, initially gentle, movements that start at the base of the spine. We would imagine "drawing small cicles" at the base of the spine on the front/back plane, so that the pelvis rocks gently in a circulation motion, back and forth.
As we moved up the spine, the circles got bigger and the movements became more vigorous, until the entire body was moving in an "S" mannner. Then we would slowly reduce the movements until, once again, we were "drawing small circles" at the base of the spine.
Later, we learned some visualisation, sending our qi deep into the centre of the earth, as well as high up into the heavens and finally, of course, keeping it at its source, at the base of the spine.
This was where I once had a scary experience. It was on the morning before my mother passed away. I had been to the hospital till late at night and, when I got home early in the morning, I decided to do my qigong exercises. I was in my garden and had sent my qi up "into the heavens" when suddenly, my neighbour's dog barked.
That shocked me and, for a while, I felt "empty" as if my spirit was not with my body. The experience told me that exercises like qigong should always be done under guidance - and away from possible shocks or other disturbances.
Qigong therapy from the master
Some months later, my sinseh's qigong master - a lady - from China visited. That was when I had my first experience of qigong therapy. What I am about to relate might sound scary to you but I was not at all scared when it happened. It seemed totally natural - and peaceful.
The session of qigong therapy basically involved me lying on a bed and the qigong master waving her hands over my body. At one stage, I felt my entire body cool down, gently but quite rapidly. I felt as if my qi was leaving me, through the feet.
And the thought that crossed my mind was that if I were to die, this would be how it feels. Of course, I cannot verify if death really feels this way. But that was the thought that crossed my mind. And rather than being frightening, the experience was totally pleasant and peaceful.
Subsequently during the qigong therapy session, the master "charged" me with new energy. My body warmed up and I felt alive again. I felt better but also began to burp a lot, as my body expelled gas.
This seemed to be my main problem. Often, whenever I tried some new form of therapy, be it qigong therapy or something else, I would end up burping! I remember also burping a great deal after a treatment by a traditional Balinese healer.
It was an experience that I will never forget.
Equally unforgetable was a session of qigong meditation - which might be considered a form of group qigong therapy - that my wife and I attended with this same master.
There were maybe 50 or 60 of us in a large room. At the start of the session, we were told that the session would last an hour and that we should sit quietly and close our eyes! Under no condition should we open our eyes, we were reminded. OK. Simple enough.
What came on next was most unexpected. They played some music which might be best described as music from a horror movie. Or music from hell! It sounded really scary. It also sounded very old, like music from hundreds or thousands of years ago.
My wife whispered, "Richard, let's get out of here!" But me being hard of hearing, I did not hear her and continued to sit with my eyes closed. Every now and then, we heard popping noises, like mini explosions, coming from within the room. Were these noises coming from some of the people in the room? We wondered.
After about half an hour, though it seemed like eternity, the music stopped. Then new music came on and it was just the opposite. This time, it sounded like music from heaven, very soothing, peaceful and uplifting. Phew!
Whilst I remember feeling better after the personal qigong therapy treatment, I cannot remember how I felt after the meditation. Perhaps my wife and I were just relieved that the session ended.
After a while, we moved house and reduced (but still maintained) our contact with the Chinese sinseh, and our qigong sessions stopped. But once, we did meet the other man who used to join us for the early morning qigong exercises. He was transformed. From looking weak and sickly, he now appeared full of vitality! He clearly experienced the benefits of qigong.
Was this qigong therapy?
Another experience that I wish to share involve a form of Chinese massage, called jua ken or "pulling the veins". This is a special massage to improve sexual performance. There are different variations of it, some concentrating on the sex organs (usually not in a sexually arousing way) but this version that I experienced focused on the lower abdomen below the navel.
This is the dan tian. I just found out that the term means "elixir field". In qigong therapy, this is believed to be the reservoir or store house of energy. It is the seat of qi.
The massage was, at times, quite painful. The therapist, a lady in her late 40s, explained that she was breaking up fat deposits so as to improve blood circulation in the area. When she finished, I thought she was pouring talcum powder over my abdomen, lots and lots of it. I felt as if there was a constant rain of talcum powder on me.
I hate talcum powder. So I opened my eyes to tell her to stop. I was amazed. She was NOT pouring any talcum powder, or anything else, onto my body. She was merely holding her hand a few inches above my abdomen, obviously sending me some qi.
She did not call her treatment qigong therapy, but I believe it is. She boasted that she had ever revived the sexual potency of men in their 70s and I believe her too. For me, I did not have enough sessions to experience the fulll benefits, just a slight improvement.
Qigong therapy for chronic fatigue
Despite my various encounters, I never really felt a need to seek qigong therapy - until my recent experience with chronic fatigue. You can read more about it by clicking on the link, but basically, what happened was that I had been feeling extremely tired and by coincidence I met a qigong therapist who diagnosed me as having a constricted neck that prevented qi from reaching my brain.
It made sense. The day after my first treatment, I no longer had to take a long nap whereas I was previously taking one to three long naps - plus five to 10 short naps - every day!
I have had two treatments so far and I think I need at least a few more. I still feel unnaturally and unreasonably tired at times. But I was going out the other day and I noticed there was more spring, more energy in my steps. I was also walking straighter. This is, in fact, the first thing I felt after the treatment. I stood up and felt myself standing straighter.
And that was why I decided to write this sharing about the benefits of qigong therapy...