Qi Gong Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic Qigong (pronounced "chee gong") is a system of subtle exercises that stimulate and balance the flow of Qi, life force, or vital life energy, along acupuncture meridians (energy pathways). Qigong combines movement, meditation, and breath regulation to enhance all aspects of health and immune function. Qigong can be used by the healthy as well as the severely ill. It is one of the most broadly applicable systems of self-care in the world. In China, it is estimated that 200 million people practice Qigong everyday. Today, Qigong is becoming more and more popular in America. Therapeutic Qigong is not a religion. While some schools and types of Qigong do work on spiritual cultivation, this class will not. Dr. Hightower teaches therapeutic Qigong; we concern ourselves in this class with the systematic study of health and vital energy for the purpose of learning to regulate our own wellness. It is time that our technologically advanced medical system begins to recognize that awareness and self-empowerment are fundamental to human wellness. This is the core belief behind therapeutic Qigong as it is taught by Dr. Hightower in this class.

What is Qi?
"Qi" is the transcription of a Chinese ideogram which, like most Chinese ideograms, has several meanings. Qi means "gas", "air", "breath", "odor", and much more. It is a key concept of Chinese medicine and designates a subtle and important substance. In therapeutic Qigong, "Qi" stands for physiological activity and the functional vitality of the organism; therefore, it stands for life force or vital energy. Even without knowing the concept of Qi, it is likely you have already experienced it. For example, when you yawn, you may notice a kind of warmth or coolness flowing over the back to your head; sometimes you may get Goosebumps or tears in the eyes. A touch to the sole of the foot can have an effect on the whole body. You may have felt the presence of someone standing behind you before seeing them. All these are experiences of Qi. Acupuncture works by influencing the Qi at certain points on the body with a needle and subtle manual techniques. Other practices that have an effect on the flow and distribution of Qi include the use of herbs and other medicinal plants, spinal adjusting therapy which we call Chiropractic and the Chinese call Tui Na, meditative techniques and Qigong exercises.

What is Qi Gong?
"Gong" from the word "Qigong" has various meanings such as gain, achievement, performance, success, and efficiency. In an extended sense it means "ability" or "dexterity" acquired through time and effort-in a word, "practice." Gong designates abilities which are learned by bodily exercises, not only by intelligence and study. Many kinds of control of the body, such as dance, acrobatics and the skill of self-defense are cultivated through "Gong". We will concern ourselves here with the practice and regulation of our heath. So, Therapeutic Qigong can be understood as a set of exercises in Qi that combine movement, meditation and breath regulation to enhance the flow of Qi in the body with the goal of becoming healthier, more vital, more disease resistant. By practicing Qigong, we will learn to regulate the level of Qi in our body by ourselves. This will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of our health and, with practice, we can learn to prolong and improve the quality of our lives.

Does Qi exist?
Western science increasingly recognizes the electrical or energetic aspect of the human body. One definition of Qi is bioelectricity; the absence of bioelectricity is defined as clinical death. That bioelectricity exists is indisputable: energy, carried over the nervous system, moves our muscles and regulates the function of our

In addition. at which Qi "enters and leaves" the body. Thus the goal of Therapeutic Qigong is to heal the preliminary stage of an illness. It is a field where Qi is collected. Therapeutic Qigong recognizes the unity of body and mind. From the beginning to the end of your Qigong exercise. When mental or emotional burdens such as sadness.organs. feverish activity. Thus Qi is in constant movement in our bodies. as much water must flow in as flows out. and it is where you concentrate your attention when you are practicing Qigong. This can be illustrated as Body + QI + Mind/Psyche = Whole Person. Other channels connect meridians with one another and do not necessarily lead to organs. In order to remain well. Qi influences the body and mind and in turn is influenced by them. This is how illness arise. It is true mind/body medicine. dilates the blood capillaries. the Qi is harmed. you may experience a warm feeling in the Qi center and sometimes you can feel energy moving slowly in that area.e. Because of the stress from daily life (i. Qi. stress. you are healthy. mostly on meridians. if the basin is full you are healthy. and optimizes the delivery of oxygen to the tissues. or anxiety appear the Qi harmony is disturbed. and other psychic manifestations of illness. poor diet. irritability. Through practice you will learn to recognize Qi disturbances and how to bring a disturbed Qi condition back into harmony. Not only do tiredness and physical complaints arise.) or due to inherited weakness. etc. heartmeridian. Qi Center (Dan Tian) The center of our physical and energetic body is called Dan Tian in Chinese. but so do mental and spiritual impairments such as nervousness. there are many places. and Therapeutic Qigong exercises. Generally it is a field located about 3 centimeters below the navel.. Qi channels. The meridians are named after the respective organs. The unimpeded flow of electrical energy over the spinal column is of critical importance to health and is maintained through chiropractic adjustments. health deteriorates and you become susceptible to illness. Physiological Mechanisms of Qigong Practice Therapeutic Qigong initiates the "relaxation response" which decreases the sympathetic function of the autonomic nervous system (triggered by any form of mental focus that frees the mind from its many distractions). we have located many Qi centers and Qi channels in the human body. as in the liver-meridian. tension. connect specific places of the body and lead to internal organs. There is a continual energy exchange between our body (the microcosm) and nature (the macrocosm). and where the Qi can be influenced by external and internal forces. A balanced proportion must always remain. lack of rest. Qi can fall into disorder. Qi is like water in a basin. The consumption of energy through physical or mental burdens is like water flowing out of the basin. or peptic ulcers appear in the body. If the body is burdened by physical work. A bad Qi condition ultimately leads to visceral or organic changes. both in the microcosm and the macrocosm. poor nutrition and posture or even injuries. Health and illness When the Qi is in harmony. When the Qi is no longer sufficiently present. You can replenish the Qi with a healthy diet. annoyance. This decreases heart rate and blood pressure. physical activities. and so on. Therapeutic Qigong takes bioelectricity a step farther by recognizing another non-spinal path of electrical conductivity in the body. Body. As a result. generally known as meridians. . Mind. psychosomatic symptoms such as pain. Through the practice of Qigong exercises.

and glands through the lymphatic system. Two sets if possible. coronary heart disease. Endeavor to make time in your day for some for of quiet. Therapeutic Qi gong coordinates right/left brain hemisphere balance promotions of deeper sleep. which mediates pain and mood and potentates immune functions. as well as helping cancer. It allows us to hear more clearly the still. also called information molecules. "enzyme". and pineal glands. meditative introspection. and other cells to excite or inhibit their function) moderating pain. stretching like a cat. 2) Roll to the floor on hands and knees. This optimizes the body's selfregulative mechanisms by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. small voice of God that dwells at the center of our being. Both sick people and healthy people can get benefits by Qi Gong exercises.Therapeutic Qigong alters the neurochemistry profile (neurotransmitters. organs. bind with receptor sites on tissue.) and cases HIV/AIDS. This period allows our central nervous system time to relax and rest. Therapeutic Qigong enhances the efficiency of the immune system through increased rate and flow of the lymphatic fluid. Begin to breathe deeply. Therapeutic Qigong moderates the function of the hypothalamus. . Level I Daily Practice: 1) Begin by stretching in the bed. immune. this period allows us to develop a mechanism for listening to our bodies and for correcting pathology earlier in the process. depression. There are many schools and many forms for these exercises. Therapeutic Qi gong increases the efficiency of cell metabolism and tissue regeneration through increased circulation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain. Qi Gong Self Healing The following is a good set of introductory exercises to help you begin to learn the art of Qi Gong. asthma. facilitating relaxation. etc. As you inhale drop the belly and raise the chin. as well as optimizing immune capability. and greater mental clarity. and anxiety. as well as enhancing the cerebrospinal system of the brain and spinal cord. All great spiritual traditions place importance on a daily period of inner stillness. 4) Back to hands and knee position. reduced anxiety. and other addictive cravings. theta brain waves which reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Raise the opposite arm and leg stretching them as far as you can. The importance of meditative practice of some type can not be overstated. Alternate position. and tissues. chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (emphysema. arthritis. as that you practice. to rock back until the rump meets the heels. hypertension. Therapeutic Qigong induces alpha and. 3) Continuing this pattern of timed respiration begin on the exhale. pituitary. pain. organs. in my opinion. The exact specifics of how you practice and when you practice are not nearly as important. Therapeutic Qigong improves resistance to disease and infection by accelerating the elimination of toxic metabolites (metabolic by-products) from the interstitial spaces in the tissues. usually before symptoms develop. In my opinion. depression. insomnia. mental focus and even cognitive function. Conditions benefited by Qigong Qigong has been shown to be effective in helping resolve digestive problems. in some cases. 5) Do 10 to 20 push-ups. As you exhale drop the chin and raise the spine. On the inhale sweep the nose along the floor and finish with the chin raised like above.

Repeat 10 to 20 respirations. On the inhale the hands move up to the level of the solar plexus.e. body odor. Roll the shoulders at completion of the 6 breaths. at the end of the inhale. rotate again and push down to the tan tien as you squeeze the muscles of the urogenital diaphragm. On the inhale raise the arms out to the sides. Rotate the hands and on the exhale. This exercise. Be careful to transition slowly to a standing position. 16) End with a brief chi massage. as if opening the chest cavity. Rub the hands together vigorously until warm. 10) Begin ball rolling. 11) Assume horse stance. Do this 3 times. which sounds like "hey you". breathe in the nose and out of the mouth. 9) Assume horse stance. Take a moment to listen to you body in this position. Time for 3 cleansing breaths and remember to roll your shoulders. pull your hands back to the chest and spread them apart. can be repeated as many times as needed to help heal the organ. 17) Think of your goals for the day. Have a great day! Qi Gong Healing Sounds Begin with 6 cleansing breaths. reflect on the fact that they are coming to fruition with perfect intention. 2) heart/small intestine: color is red and the sound is "heu". Stand in horse stance arms down to the side palms flat to the floor as if you are standing in waist deep water. Prayer posture. Hold thoughts of gratitude and love. 14) Bird Flying. Begin to make the healing sound as you stand up you start saying "hey you" and extend the sound and exhale as you straighten the hands above the head. 13) Assume a standing posture. Knees bent. Feel grounded in this pose and notice the stillness as it stands in sharp contrast to the previous movement. tongue touches the palate at the back of the teeth. hands at the heart. feet shoulder width ~. Inhale and raise the hands in a "stick 'em up" position at 90 degrees. say "shu" and push both elbows into the liver area squeezing old stagnant chi from the liver so new fresh chi can enter. 8) Rise to standing. 15) Standing meditation. Feel the chi energy in your core rising and falling with your breath. or skin eruptions. the hands roll up to the level of the eyes. push back down towards the navel. Bend forward as you let out the breath and extend the closed hands out. bad breath. shoulders down and back away from the ears. As your breathe in. all you do is bend both elbows at the waist and as you bend over. Take 6 to 12 deep diaphragmatic breaths focusing on maximal distention of the diaphragm. Squeeze the muscles of the urogenital diaphragm as you exhale. Repeat 10 to 20 respirations. i. 7) Stretch flat on your back in the corpse pose. release them and stand in the silence. up to shoulder height and back down on exhale. The liver is our most important organ of detoxification so repeat it 9 . On the inhale. This one is easy. 12) Ball rolling overhead. like all of them. Two sets if possible. This relaxes the neck and back muscles. squat down with. 2-3 inches away from the body over any areas that are constricted.12 times if you have problems associated with toxicity. elbows bent. smelly feet. When you feel them warm your heart. 1) liver/gall bladder: color is green and the sound is "shu". Take a moment to listen to you body in this position. hands closed and out to the side. roll and push up to overhead1 ending the inhale at the peak of your reach. Exhale bringing the chi energy back down to the eyes.. like the wings of a bird. the middle dan tien.6) Roll on the back and do 20 to 50 crunch sit-ups. Now you are ready to begin with the first organ exercise. Stroke lightly. more if cardiovascular .

such as those spent in front of a computer or a television set. and liver problems. Poor blood circulation. body temperature goes up. glaucoma. Roll the shoulders. Now you are ready for the next organ exercise. over your lower Dan Tian area as you say. which is to say that the color and puffiness of the eyes and the skin around the eyes are indicative of the health of the liver. . 3) triple warmer/pericardium: no color or all colors and the sound is "see". Roll the shoulders. palms closed and out to the side of the body. they can be said softly or can even just held as a thought and one will benefit from the exercises. you rub your lower back over the kidney area as you take a big breath. last time for 3 cleansing breaths. This happens when the body temperature rises above room temperature. Often the first signs of sluggish circulation are chilly sensations. are helpful in improving circulation and overall health. This one activates all of the organs and it is easy to do. Then massage the points for a count of 10. Posture erect. The eye exercises. By this way of thinking. time for 3 cleansing breaths again. Hands are at your sides. All you do is place (not touching) the palms of both hands. stop rubbing and stand up. people who use their eyes too much may become habitually angry. Repeat for a total of 3 times. Also. This is like the cleansing breath exercise except. Release. Notes: Try to feel the vibration in the organ being stimulated. Those points are designated by the letter A in figure 55a. Slow eye movement or a lack of eye movement indicates mental sluggishness. specifically the eye movements. opened and relaxed. Now you are ready for the next organ exercise. This is another easy one. Now you are ready for the next organ exercise. 5) lungs/large intestines: color is white and the sound is "see-ahh". do this about 3 times. There is a slight depression in the bone at the correct point. our bodies need cool liquids to circulate through them and remove heat. 6) kidney/bladder: color is navy blue-black and the sound is "cher-rou-eee". are indicative of an individual's intelligence. The eyes. Qi Gong Eye Exercise The eyes are the openings to the liver. The Internal Exercises for the eyes will strengthen both the eyes and the liver and may help disorders such as cataracts. Do this about 3 times. Press in deeply. People who are clever have large eye movements and are always exploring their environment. twist the upper body to the left. nearsightedness. 4) stomach/spleen/pancreas: color is yellow and the sound is "who". 1. If circulation is sluggish. start saying "cher-rou-eee" and extend this sound a long time. Feel it rattle in the lungs. astigmatism. time for 3 cleansing breaths again. anger is a symptom of liver dysfunction in Qi Gong theory. time for 3 cleansing breaths again. OK. can also be helped by doing the Eye Exercises. Relax and enjoy the sensation. Begin making the healing sound saying 11who" while your are turning back to the center. Place thumbs on rim of the eye sockets at the upper inside corner of the eyes. People who suffer from eye problems usually suffer from liver disorders and vice-versa. exhaling from the lower Dan Tien. causing the surroundings to be cooler than the body. "see" and hold this sound as you exhale. OK. as you stand up. indicated by dark circles under the eyes. as you breathe out you open the hands and bend at the waist as you say "see-ahh" forcefully. one over the other with palms facing the body. With both elbows bent and with hand raised to 90 degrees. more if lung health is a problem. Roll the shoulders. along with other Qi Gong exercises. Doing the Eye Exercise can also help bags or puffiness under the eyes which indicate water retention or bad metabolism. Poor blood circulation results from long periods of inactivity. In our group we practice the sounds loudly with gusto to enjoy the benefit of our group exercises. When alone or at work. Any pain indicated some blockage. Like car engines. OK. which may also be helped through stimulation of the eyes.health is a problem. hanging down. OK.

Massage for a count of 10. One may also practice additional exercises which will strengthen the eyes and the muscles surrounding them. Hold for a count of 10.) Press and massage for a count of 10. Always use a natural. healing cream as a lubricant. 1. Benefits will be derived from regular practice of the Eye Exercises. as they will completely revitalize your entire body in minutes. Then look up and down into the opposite corners of the eyes. Press and massage for a count of 10. When you are doing the Eye Exercises. Then repeat for a total of 3 times. Note B: For cataract or glaucoma. towards the temples. Rub up the bridge of the nose. down and back around the lower rims of the eye sockets to the nose again. (Look for letter D. Repeat for a total of 3 times. Place middle fingers on the temples by coming out from the end of the eyebrows and locating soft depressions on the sides of the head (point E). Rub hands together briskly until they are quite warm.Then rotate the eyes first in a clockwise direction. Press in deeply on the rims. right over left. Note A: Rubbing in the opposite direction will weaken the eye muscles and may cause wrinkles to appear. Then repeat for a total of 3 times. then in a counterclockwise direction. starting from the inside corner of each eye next to the nose. Then. Whenever your eyes are tired. place index fingers on lower eye socket 1/4 of the distance from the outside corners of the eyes. For maximum health improvement and maintenance a total approach to balancing the mind/body and spirit should be undertaken. Note C: Once you have located the painful points. Next. Release. 5. This will take about ten minutes to perform when done slowly. place index fingers in the small depressions at the middle of the lower eye sockets points designated by B. Pairing. 4. Qi Gong Nose Exercise . look to either side of the head. Remember: The Healing sound for the liver is "shu" and the color is bile green. but with the eyes first looking up toward the ceiling and then down at the floor. Repeat this motion several times. Repeat for a total of 3 times. 4. fingers slightly crossed. 3. (Look for letter C in figure 55d. Do not press the eyes. which is to restore normal vision. Release. The eyes should always move slowly and with deliberation 2. Repeat for a total of 3 cycles. It is good to do them in conjunction with exercises which strengthen the liver. 6. Then rub eyes lightly with three middle fingers Rub the bones around the eyes in a circular motion. not cheekbones. always feeling the warmth entering into the eyes from the hands. 3. 7.Begin by keeping the head straight. Release.) Press and massage for a count of 10. practice the first seven eye exercises up to 20 minutes daily. Next. 5. Cup the hands over both eyes. Always follow these eye movements with a rubbing of the hands and pressing of the palms onto the eyes to bring heat and energy into them. Release. it is not necessary to continue pressing hard on these points. across the eyebrows.2. Pause. do the Eye Exercises. even a very light touching of the points will accomplish the purpose of the exercise. Place middle fingers on top of eye sockets about 1/3 of the distance from the outside corners of the eyes. Bear in mind that these eye exercises are part of a complete system of self-healing Qi Gong. Do this 10 times. Repeat for a total of 3 times.

for about ten seconds. doing the exercise once. always beginning with the lower points and ending by pressing the point corresponding to the third eye. after the Eye Exercise.The nose is the opening to the lungs. 6. In this technique. press down with heavy pressure on the three points as described below. starting at the lowest point. by stimulating certain points around the nose. 1. But if time does not allow it. The best tool for nasal irrigation is the neti pot mixed with sea salt and pure. press the points midway up on either side of the nose for about ten seconds. runny nose. one should perform the Crane Exercise. Repeat this progression three times. as well as keep the sinuses healthy. Then rub briskly. we insure a continual flow of energy through the nasal and sinus passages. Repeat this movement three times. 3. 2. rub in a continual flowing motion. In the absence of a neti pot. Press the point midway between the eyebrows (the third eye) with both fingers. then continuing up through the middle of the forehead and ending near the hair line. Then rub briskly. at these same points. The exercise can be done several times throughout the day. and blocked sinuses are the manifestations of weakness within the lungs. These are spots which open up into the meridians that supply the nose and surrounding areas with energy. which directs the flow of energy that helps restore any degenerative conditions within the pulmonary system. 5. again for about ten seconds. We can also help keep the lungs strong. Next. Then rub the base of the nose. with the aid of a healing herbal cream will suffice. use sterile contact lens solution and widen the hole so it will not spray as forcefully. . Next. 4. as many times as necessary to help correct sinus or nasal problems. Using the tip of the index or the second fingers of each hand. By pressing these points. Symptoms such as allergies. sterile saline solution is poured into one nostril and out the other. Another highly recommended technique for correcting a history of sinus problems is nasal irrigation. The value of nasal irrigation as an alternative to sinus medication can not be overstated. distilled water. Begin at the base of the nose and press these points for about ten seconds. To strengthen the lungs. passing throughout the second and third points.

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