Papayapple

How does Qigong actually work?

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Well anyone who has practiced qigong regularly for some time can say that it does indeed 'improve' you in one way or another.


For the longest time, I have been wondering: Is there a way to accurately, scientifically describe how qigong exercises work on a physical level?
I'm just simply not satisfied at all with explanations such as "it promotes chi flow", "it removes blockages", and even all the talk about meridians and channels. The Root of Chinese Chi-Kung has failed me.

Yes, I guess I have to admit I'm asking for a western scientific explanation of things, so any studies would be welcome, as well as just your common sense understanding.
 

In other words:

1. What makes movements of Ba Duan Jin(as an example) so special and different than, I don't know, aerobics for seniors? Why those particular movements?

2. Since there are thousands of qigong forms, and even Ba Duan Jin has so many variations and styles, wouldn't it be possible to easily come up with your own, spontaneous forms, for all these systems probably utilize virtually every imaginable motion of the human body? Also what's the point of stressing details so much if the variation next to previous one looks different anyway?

3. What exactly happens to your muscles, tendons and organs, apart form better blood circulation?

I'd appreciate serious answers, thank you :-)

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The gross physical is a bio electric mass.

 

It is generally quite weak compared to what it can be with development. The overall field is in considerable flux and this is at the whim of the proclivities of the individual, diet and emotional strength and weaknesses. It is also cultural, weather related and certainly structured in many many ways by DNA.

 

Yoga and Qi Gong are both paths that take into account the gross physical proactively with regard to a path of unfoldment of the highest forms of energetic Man.

 

The following is with reference to a dedicated student of the Path of either form - with some mention of the different aspects to those who practice here and there primarily for health and longevity.

 

the general energy level of a typical human is in great flux - and it is also cemented oddly by proclivities and habituations.

Incorrect thinking and habituations in both emotional and lower mind positioned mind constrain the optimal natural energies for unfolding. The happenings of life also indent here and there constraints and often humans become very habituated to the indents and hold them over - bringing with them the shutting down of considerable other possibility.

 

This is the general state of the human bio electric mass - primarily food related and a DNA propensity toward engagement with its perception of the happening.

 

Qi Gong and Yoga work to both clear away energetically held structures from habituations of energetic avenues of energy movement within the system and to enhance or stimulate the natural essence or deep unencumbered agilities that would naturally bound forth from an unencumbered system. In very different words - most human systems typically do not utilize and enhance the great freeways within - they gravitate to the positioned ravines and small roads that their incorrect thinking and habituations of position hold them to and they cultivate these "channels".

 

Meditation is the foundation of each of these paths. Again - i am only talking to those practitioners of the Path and not the health and longevity group of light practice.

 

Meditation is the foundation for very good reason = the bio electric mass is in diss array in the holdings and position of habituation and incorrect thinking and emotional investments. It is easily seen and proven - if you hold your attention of a recent injury you will feel the pain more intensely than if someone has just told you a great joke and you have forgotten about your injury for the moment. 

 

Incorrect thinking and emotional holding/bending, focuses the bio electric mass upon that pattern. Constant habituations etch these pattens of energy constraints upon the bio electric mass. The bio electric mass is at the whim of frequencies that will elicit various habituated patterns like a tuning fork to sympathetic vibration. 

 

the typical human is a mass of sleeping reactions.

 

Meditation at once begins to soften the overall habituations and give practice to non-reaction.

Since the OP asked for this to be with regard to the gross physical I wont go into the higher natures and what is taking place.

in the gross bio electric mass, meditation will appear as a very definite change in the overalll magnetic image of the subject. 

The edges will become more stable, all movements more rounded and well streamed and the energy will have a brighter clearish coloring with much less muddied areas or areas that are cold somewhat deadened zones.

 

This happens as energies are allowed by practicing non-reaction non-held positioned attention to move from held distortion to natural unencumbered resonance and flow.

 

Without this practice and to a fair extent its mastery Qi Gong and Yoga cannot proceed to accomplish the unfolding that is possible. The increase in energies would simply vent in distortions (again i am talking about high practice and not gym class)

 

As the energies of the general bio mass increase and become whole again the postures in both Yoga and Qi Gong stretch these energies deeply within the mass and greatly increase the electrical associations within the entire mass. The movements very specificallly break up and brush aside the false held contractions of the reactionary positioned attentions that have congealed within it from unhealthy and incorrect habituations.

 

Qi Gong also adds a dimension to this not seen in general Yoga though this is not entirely true:

 

Beyond Qi Gong mediation, the movements/postures are not only deliberate meaning that they are not done in a flowing dance like way or done in trance, but they incorporate breathing techniques that contain and pressurize energies pushing them deeply within the framework of the bio mass.

 

One breathes in and holds the breath in many twisting and held positions - as the twisting occurs the breath is held - not released. This moves localized energies to move from the more easily conducted liquid areas into the bones and marrow.

The entire bio mass is bathed in more oxygen and other energies of light And it is held in compression in deliberate consciousness even if the practionioner is relatively unconscious.

 

As the entire mass is electrified all of the positions/forms brush the various systems within against one another with the benifit of equilibriums of energetic resonance finding their highest natural essence while in closer natural association with all other systems. 

 

As these systems gain integrations and consistent charge the natural energies also pool and are able to germinate certain centers that cannot form/fruit until such time. 

 

If meditation and the overal tendency to incorrect thinking and emotive discord have been sufficiently dissolved the levels to which the energetic system can continue to germinate and establish new and incredible eneretic synthesis is completely beyond scientific consideration and far beyond words. 

 

At some point magnetic centers arise to the full consciousness of the human. Until such time the magnetic mass is roaming in a sense. As the great magnetic forms arise they will change and meld and become far more concrete and "physical" than the gross physical. 

 

(Gotta go)

Edited by Spotless
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14 hours ago, Papayapple said:

1. What makes movements of Ba Duan Jin(as an example) so special and different than, I don't know, aerobics for seniors? Why those particular movements?

2. Since there are thousands of qigong forms, and even Ba Duan Jin has so many variations and styles, wouldn't it be possible to easily come up with your own, spontaneous forms, for all these systems probably utilize virtually every imaginable motion of the human body? Also what's the point of stressing details so much if the variation next to previous one looks different anyway?

3. What exactly happens to your muscles, tendons and organs, apart form better blood circulation?

I'd appreciate serious answers, thank you :-)

 

1) Aerobics is designed to train heart and muscles. Sets like Ba Duan Jin are designed to train connective tissue (fascia, tendons, ligaments) and connect the tissue through the whole body.

2) It does not matter much what specific set you do. What matters is HOW you do it. Many people do Ba Duan Jin in the same fashion as simple physical exercise and fail to achieve its goals. You can do whatever spontaneous movements you want as long as they achieve your goal which differ from person to person; but if you want to train connective tissue and connect it, verified sets like BaDuanJin are better than the others.

3) Your connective tissue changes and transforms to the better when you do any Dao Yin. Not so much muscles. If you want to train muscles, do weight lifting, not qigong.

 

As for blockages, they can be different: physical and mental. For physical blockages, think of it as tensed and/or frozen muscle groups and undeveloped/shrinked  tendons/ligaments/fascia. TO get back to normal, you have to unfreeze all that stuff. In my experience, qigong is too soft for this. This unfreezing is better achieved by dao yin sets or yoga. But this is personal of course.

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As we advance in the practice basic energy channels increase in their scope, these in turn create effective pressures along natural lines and certain low pressure areas as well. New channels develop both from energis pressured into new or weak channels and they also develop by pulling energies into their flow from dormant channels or weak flowing channels.

 

The general energies lighten up and hopefully the student truly understands intuitively the importance of simply getting out of ones own way. Unfortunately such things as testosterone and the tendency to have ones head up ones ass can be real areas of dissipation and obstruction. So also can the trappings of the strong instinctive drives of estrogen. Beliefs are the chief obstruction - and they come in many forms such as the belief in ones shortcomings, or the belief in ones mental prowess.

 

Enough said on that for now - the energy channels continue to expand, the nadis are continually stretched and cleaned and renewed to the present. In meditation the acclimation to a still space begins to become prominent, gaps within  the trance sleep of daily life - the intuitive unborn self is finding safe haven - the clueless crass held positions are giving way to the maturity of allowing the ancient to work the wonderous magic that our bodies are. 

 

The movements are very specific - no directing is necessary- no engineering- no recipe.

Contiually self made blocking patterns are set and broken set and broken - and slowly we begiin naturally falling away from the habituation to held and grasp position and opinion and instinctive grappling.

 

At a certain point the channels become very large - and extend well beyond the body cavity. The major channels become some 4 - 6 inches in diameter or more - just walking is a bouncy floating feeling though one is utterly grounded and the head space is not floaty at all - (though in Yoga this may not be the case - some Yoga goes to Trance)

 

Later these channels will meld and become one cohesive body while other channels may emerge as well. 

 

At these stages the levels of purification, the general maturity of the life lessons, DNA and former experience will have a great deal to do with the progress. Some will come suddenly and will be life changing and may become sustained. Some will take many years - even to know what has arrived.

 

 

 

 

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The original question left much to be desired and the questioners use of the term "Qigong" simply beggared further questions.

 

"Qigong" is a relatively modern term not, so far as I am aware, used before the Communist takeover in 1949, after which, as is the nature of socialists everywhere, they decided to formalise all facets of a nations life.

 

The term "Qigong" simply translates as Energy Exercise.

 

Under the umbrella term of "Qigong" we have all manner of exercises which effect the energy body - perhaps only remotely.

 

We may go from the extremes of Wai Gong the more external side of things to Nei Gong with its emphasis on the internal.

 

Though the original question had inherent difficulties I still feel that it is worthy of answer and so I will give my take on Internal Work.

 

When working on Dao Yin, Kai Men, Wai Gong and or Nei Gong we use the physical body to effect the metaphysical body. Or if you prefer we use the physical to effect and develop the energetic which is itself simply a more refined element of the same thing.

 

This is generally done in an expansive manner by the opening of the joints and loosening of the muscles but can also involve compressive elements such as seen in bone breathing and various iron shirt practices. It may be argued that the "mind" and "intent" may be used to promote the movement of energy and this is true. But still without the expansive element of the practice the results will not be optimum.

 

The various schools and styles of Internal Work are legion and I have no intention of describing my own practice or lauding it above others. I will however carve in stone the statements highlighted above and state that this is the Holy Grail to be searched for in any prospective system of Internal developement.

 

 

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13 hours ago, idquest said:

 

1) Aerobics is designed to train heart and muscles. Sets like Ba Duan Jin are designed to train connective tissue (fascia, tendons, ligaments) and connect the tissue through the whole body.

2) It does not matter much what specific set you do. What matters is HOW you do it. Many people do Ba Duan Jin in the same fashion as simple physical exercise and fail to achieve its goals. You can do whatever spontaneous movements you want as long as they achieve your goal which differ from person to person; but if you want to train connective tissue and connect it, verified sets like BaDuanJin are better than the others.

3) Your connective tissue changes and transforms to the better when you do any Dao Yin. Not so much muscles. If you want to train muscles, do weight lifting, not qigong.

 

As for blockages, they can be different: physical and mental. For physical blockages, think of it as tensed and/or frozen muscle groups and undeveloped/shrinked  tendons/ligaments/fascia. TO get back to normal, you have to unfreeze all that stuff. In my experience, qigong is too soft for this. This unfreezing is better achieved by dao yin sets or yoga. But this is personal of course.

 

I'd love to know more!

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Spotless is spot on as always!  What a brilliant answer to such basic questions.  Truly he has not lost "beginner's mind."  Hats off sir and thank you!

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18 hours ago, idquest said:

 

1) Aerobics is designed to train heart and muscles. Sets like Ba Duan Jin are designed to train connective tissue (fascia, tendons, ligaments) and connect the tissue through the whole body.

2) It does not matter much what specific set you do. What matters is HOW you do it. Many people do Ba Duan Jin in the same fashion as simple physical exercise and fail to achieve its goals. You can do whatever spontaneous movements you want as long as they achieve your goal which differ from person to person; but if you want to train connective tissue and connect it, verified sets like BaDuanJin are better than the others.

3) Your connective tissue changes and transforms to the better when you do any Dao Yin. Not so much muscles. If you want to train muscles, do weight lifting, not qigong.

 

As for blockages, they can be different: physical and mental. For physical blockages, think of it as tensed and/or frozen muscle groups and undeveloped/shrinked  tendons/ligaments/fascia. TO get back to normal, you have to unfreeze all that stuff. In my experience, qigong is too soft for this. This unfreezing is better achieved by dao yin sets or yoga. But this is personal of course.

Thank you idquest, and everybody.
Ok so I was aware BDJ works with fascia and so on... I just still don't know what does it exactly change inside of the tissues. And why for example it is said that Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Eagle is good for spleen and kidneys, and why you have to point your index finger up for it to work. Kinda like a switch? ;)

The same with other movements, why Sway the Head and Shake the Tail is good for the heart? And how was it discovered? How was it designed?

By Dao Yin you mean the Yi Jin Jing exercises? or something else?

Speaking of yoga, how many incorporate it in their routines? How many of you do both qigong and yoga?

Edited by Papayapple

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I practice yoga. I've learned it within the chakra system, but I would love to learn more how it applies to blockages, fascia, etc.

 

I only have very little experience with Qigong but I feel like paired with yoga it can be very powerfully healing. The thing with Qigong is, I've been looking for different teachers that teach it as a whole system but none of them seem to. For example. I looked up Damo Mitchell and Lee Holden, but both of them reserve practices and teachings for students who practice with them... I  don't like this kind of secrecy, I want the whole thing...

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5 hours ago, Papayapple said:

...
Ok so I was aware BDJ works with fascia and so on... I just still don't know what does it exactly change inside of the tissues. And why for example it is said that Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Eagle is good for spleen and kidneys, and why you have to point your index finger up for it to work. Kinda like a switch? ;)

The same with other movements, why Sway the Head and Shake the Tail is good for the heart? And how was it discovered? How was it designed?

By Dao Yin you mean the Yi Jin Jing exercises? or something else?

Speaking of yoga, how many incorporate it in their routines? How many of you do both qigong and yoga?

 

In my experience, any practice is a moving target. What I mean is that when I train I first I feel some tissues in the body, with practice that feeling goes to deeper levels in different parts of the body, and this is endless process with new and new tissues involved and opening, down to the bones and perhaps to bone marrow. In my view, saying that a specific movement is designated for a specific organ - this is a restricted and limiting approach. Because when somebody says this movement is for organ A, you start listening to your organ A when in fact you could be miles away from that level of practice. Damo Mitchell says that neigong is a process. I interpret his words as 'moving target' - if you train on a consistent basis, every week you will have a new opening in your body, a new targeted piece of tissue - it's a process rather than a static state.

 

The other point I keep reminding to myself is that there is a theory and there is practice. In theory, a specific movement could be designated to a specific organ. And who exactly knows whether it is true or not? Even when people can feel how a movement affects a specific organ, it does not necessarily mean this will be good for that organ. Because we have 5 element theory with feeding organs and destruction cycle - if your organ A is out of balance it does not necessarily mean you have to train this specific organ. It could be that the feeding organ requires support. Or it could mean that arresting organ requires calming down. So I personally find it misleading and potentially dangerous focusing personal practice on specific organs with reason being that vast majority including myself have no idea how it all works.

 

As for yoga and its place in overall practice - my experience is that yoga is a great tool for stirring and building fundamentals, for basic training. But then I have to conceptualise newly achieved skills, new openings in the body; and with this come sitting meditation and movement practices. I must say that sitting meditation, to my great surprise, contributed more to the internal work on tissues that any movement practice I had been doing before I started to sit for 60-90 minutes. How much of yoga to do? For somebody younger it could be less, I need more yoga as I'm older. Damo Mitchell's guideline is 30% of training time should be yoga and I think it is a good starting point before you personalise your own practice.

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References in Qi Gong to specific organs are not references to specific organs:

Liver - Lung - Heart - Kidney - Spleen are all references to very large systems. 

 

http://www.itmonline.org/5organs/intro.htm

 

"Unfortunately, the traditional view of the organs is made difficult to understand by the fact that organs known to modern medicine have been directly linked, by naming, to those of traditional medicine, as follows:

Element Zang Western name Fu Western name
Wood gan liver dan gallbladder
Metal fei lung dachang large intestine
Earth pi spleen wei stomach
Fire xin heart xiaochang small intestine
Water shen kidney pangguang bladder

As a result of this linkage, the gan "rectifying system," traditionally defined by its function of regulating the upward and outward expansion of qi and blood, is now labeled with the same term, liver, as the anatomical organ that is known, almost exclusively, for its metabolism of biochemicals. In Chinese, both the traditional organ network and the anatomical organ are called "gan," and in English, both are called "liver."

 

For conversation in English to a general audience such as this it might be best to say:

A certain Qi Gong movement is for a particular system 

vs

A certain Qi Gong movement is for a particular organ

Or

A certain Qi Gong movement is for a particular Chinese Organ Network

Edited by Spotless
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18 minutes ago, Spotless said:

In Chinese, both the traditional organ network and the anatomical organ are called "gan," and in English, both are called "liver."

 

That article may be a bit misleading...the anatomical organ was always referred to, way back to the oldest texts. It's not a modern invention to link the anatomical organ with it. When the "organ network" or channel is named, it adds the word jing (channel) and will say "foot jueyin's jing" or jingluo or something...the Liver channel was never called "gan".

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As an acupuncturist in the west I am often asked by patients to explain to me how acupuncture works in a modern scientific point of view without the explanation of qi or meridians. I have tried my best to come up with good answers but in the end I find that it is pretty much impossible to thoroughly explain systems that are designed to move qi without explaining the qi. In the end its the qi that differentiates qigong from calisthenics or exercise. I teach qigong to patients and what I always tell them is if you do not incorporate the breath into the movements, and do the movements with intention then we are not doing qigong but simply exercise. It's the qi and meridian aspect that makes arm movements build up and transport qi into the core of the body to heal and strengthen the inner organs. This is why yoga is so effective as well, its the same concept for in yoga the breath leads the movements as well. So though I'd like to be able to totally explain how qigong or yoga work from a purely western scientific point of view (and I have tried) I have found that ultimately it can not be satisfactorily.   

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I have some booklets now out of print that may help or provide a viewpoint from which one can draw from.

 

see next post...

 

. 

 

 

Edited by windwalker
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If one of the  mods wants to check them out, I  have all the mag up until 91

If some one wanted to put them in some place on this site. 

I could up load them...

 

As I mentioned as far as I know they'er out of print but may help some here...

 

Which I would enjoy sharing them with provided there's no copyright or other issues involved. 

 

kind regards 

 

Sorry to remove the files dont want to cause the site any issues 

 

kind regards

 

 

 

 

I might see about contacting him, as I noted the mag is  out of print ...others google fu may be better then mine any help would be appreciated. Lots of good info that I feel should be shared while still respecting the law, and wishes of the editor.  

Edited by windwalker
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13 minutes ago, Papayapple said:

Oh my God this is sick!
I'll be digging this.
Any specific issue that you had in mind?
Thank you windwalker! I really appreciate it.

 

 

The first issue talks about qi gong then and now with an overview of different practices and outlines basic qi gong  theories.

At one time I downloaded all of them,,,good reference material with lots of historical practices and information.  happy to hear that you've found them interesting. .    OZdeJbHmKlcBB576RAvrZShDOD6f5z9RYBUe-czOz0o8Wgodc-fBjl5T5cBV04UKM6afpaJQljXTzEJKpbwIKn9XowUq9ZVlItIh1GD8YVNSVxRT8HWMTBTupk34OJBv2NBtYamxmuHU0lbIOErtxba6NuQUXLlsRcSHpp7neuKP_9WUYIBG3dY8svNxGXkTe_Aw-Z5Su5nFd41z5mkQFq-yaL-nMryypvvJgayY9aCXYmbHzyxmcpNzzOlLtXrchXDmTrfqsqT_lk29y5OiKekP3GEDPJyCA33IeonGtUBxF09_ToTLXxgHQFzauuTLPYT0tGXUzXpIiwDyipmtmWggU1hqIIFNLZeLGtD0Gg5wNpIpY3rjQWzo7NOBfqFnOz2VPbiI1LcNXnSaQfaAI6now-zQAa82xB2gMsWkfiiHCir1iBDi54B5wuWttCtqBQamlzoO-r8ShYaj-YDqXJVCUpMT9saVN6I4UYVsH3Y5PwPATVBaBbnEjLsk9K7WPOv-GJQaIL6_TLMc48kZ347dviXHtGGDh-mVOY91PV98BYybVR9GejDz0E50dj7d0A9-4uApm2uTq2y-QpTa1UBbjVwItKlRfxX0dCU=w675-h899-no

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Dr. Wang's many books explain it, I would likely recommend, The Root of Chinese Qigong.

 

As an educated engineer and practitioner for too many years... and books galore....  he simply says it is, bio-electromagnetism within the body... I think Spotless has talked to it.

 

I was once on a plane with a lady next to me... I saw she was reading a book on energy... I asked her about it... then I asked her if she wanted to test feeling energy... and she agree.

 

I first moved my finger in a circle around her open palm... and she felt energy moving in a circle... then I removed my hand and said I would do it with my mind.... and she felt it... and looked at me with some shock.

 

there is something more than just bio-electromagnetism going on here... I like Dr. Wang's books but he never progressed to the stage where you don't need movement anymore to produce a Qi movement.  

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Awesome story!  I bet she still remembers you.

 

Though I thought  The Root of Chinese Qi Gong was written by Dr Yang Jwing-Ming?

 

Edit to fix giant thumbs typing bad letters on very wee letters.

Edited by silent thunder

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