Qigong is a large system of health promoting and self-development exercises that is considered one of the high arts of Chinese culture. There are many specialized fields of applied Qigong such as Medical Qigong therapy. Many students of Traditional Chinese Medicine train in this field to practice as holistic health care practitioners who specialize in Qigong therapy.
Qigong is a term which includes all kinds of Qi training techniques that endeavor to: open the body’s channels; balance Yin and Yang energy; improve the permeability, structure, and function of both the physical body and its energy field; and develop wisdom, awareness and special abilities.
In Western medical terms, this amounts to: achieving a state of homeostasis; improving circulation and metabolism; optimising and regulating the body’s electro-magnetic spectrum: and, when peak health is achieved, developing each person’s latent talents and abilities.
Qigong has a history of several thousand years in China. Today there are over 1000 individual Qigong techniques. All of the individual techniques come from the 5 schools of Qigong: the Taoist, Martial Arts, Buddhist, Medical, and Confucian schools.
The main methods of practicing Qigong are:
- Active Qigong
- Standing Qigong Postures
- Walking Qigong
- Passive Qigong (Meditation)
- Spontaneous Qigong
Techniques such as those practiced in Yoga, Reiki, and different forms of meditation are all included in Qigong. For example Qigong includes posture, flexibility and balance training as practiced in Yoga. It also includes methods of energy healing that resemble some Reiki methods. The different Qigong techniques are systemized into different levels and integrated to form a diverse Qi training system.
Qigong exercises combine simple movements and postures with the regulation of breathing, visualization and the guidance of thought. They benefit internal health and are also excellent for strengthening muscles and tendons, which increases endurance and reduces recovery time, thereby making Qigong of great benefit to athletes and martial artists.
Qigong training clears and quickens the mind and improves vitality and spirit. Qigong benefits any endeavor in life from artistic creativity through to business and relationships. Qigong attunes one to, and expands awareness of nature, the universe and ultimately the Tao.
The word “Qi” can be translated to encompass several meanings. These include “matter”, “vital energy” and “life-force”. All of these terms capture aspects of the function and nature of Qi.
Qi has many different characteristics – it is as small as the human body or as large as the universe. Qi is the energy that forms the basis for all the functional activities of human beings, such as gross body movement, vitality, healthy organ function, metabolism, blood circulation and the ability for the human body to resist disease.
Qigong theory also understands Qi to be a complex kind of energy that forms a matrix. Qi contains a signal or complex message that serves to imbue the energy with a potential to function and assemble in an infinite number of ways. Taoist philosopher Zhang Zhai stated “The great void consists of Qi. Qi condenses to become the myriad of things.”
Qigong can provide many different benefits for students and practitioners. Generally, when the focus is placed on the benefits of the techniques being practiced, specific techniques are allocated into two major categories called Xing and Ming. Xing and Ming techniques are practiced for different benefits, purposes and results.
Usually any techniques of Qi energy practice which have the aim and benefits of strengthening the body, improving health, preventing disease and promoting longevity are known as Ming Qigong training. Ming Qigong is also for self-healing, strengthening the constitution, improving vitality and developing a strong foundation for further training.
Any Qi training techniques that have the purpose and benefit of developing wisdom, awareness and special ability are called Xing techniques. Xing Qigong techniques also develop a profound awareness of and attunement to the relationship between the universe and the self.
Master Liu developed the Xing Ming system of Qigong from almost 30 years of dedicated training and research experience. Master Liu studied and gained a foundation in the five principal schools of Qigong, whose collective knowledge forms a complementary and integrated system of Qigong training. The Xing Ming system exemplifies this methodology.
According to the Taoist theory of Qigong training it is generally advised to practice Qigong for developing the Ming, that is, a good internal condition of vitality, organ health and Qi power – a healthy strong foundation. Xing Qigong exercises are then practiced, followed by a balance of both Xing and Ming techniques. There are some exceptions but this method is considered the safest way to train in order to gain maximum benefits with no negative results or side effects.
The process follows three levels of development:
- Level 1 – Jing training
- Level 2 – Qi training
- Level 3 – Shen / spirit training
Master Liu has carefully selected Qigong techniques that are complementary and balanced, with the aim of improving both one’s Qi energy level and it’s function. He has the important ability to determine which methods (and their variations) are most suitable for each individual. The first level of Qigong training includes four major forms.
Qigong Dai is an Active Yang technique for strengthening Qi and developing power and a strong foundation. The Microcosmic Orbit is a passive Yin method that works deeply on healing the body and strengthening the Yin energy.
The other two [ Level 1 ] Qigong techniques are also foundation techniques with a deep, broad effect on healing through purifying the physical body and improving the quantity, solidity and activity of its energy field (which can include what is known as the “aura”).
Taoist Self-Healing Meditation is a passive Yin method that uses focused meditation to stimulate the finer details of the body’s Qi and its energy field, and to promote healing. The Self-Healing Qigong Exercise is an active Yang technique that stimulates the individual’s energy field function and encourages dynamic active power and improved physical function. This method also stimulates the Qi energy that has been developed and gained through practice of Qigong Dai and Microcosmic Orbit methods.
All four forms work as a complimentary whole that conditions the body to an optimal state – balanced, strong, vital and healthy. They combine to cover more depth and detail than any other beginner forms and are thus very beneficial to health, energy levels and general well-being.
Level 2 (Advanced) and Level 3 (Master) are suitable for people who are interested in becoming a Qigong healer or instructor, and / or in higher levels of self-development. The Advanced techniques are effective in increasing Qi energy power, opening the flow of energy and the final / extra meridians, activating energy centers, preventing disease, and strengthening the power to work for and help others.
Advanced Qigong also recognizes the existence of an energy field that is part of our form as humans, totally functional and essential, to be understood and perceived in its relationship to health and to human beings’ totality, function, and potential. Improving the permeability and function of this energy field is another goal in advanced training.
At Master level, the training focuses more on Shen, or spirit, with the aim of developing and improving wisdom, awareness, and special abilities, so that thoughts and behaviour begin to follow true human nature. A multi-faceted approach is taken to help the individual understand themselves, the universe, and the Tao, and thus the true meanings of human existence.
The levels involved in the Xing Ming system do not necessarily mean that everyone must start with beginner techniques, but at the same time, previous Qigong experience does not mean automatic advancement to the higher levels. It is necessary to look at Qigong not as a linear path, but as a system or complete picture from which the teacher chooses the appropriate forms for the students’ individual needs.
Different Qigong techniques produce specific benefits and results. High-level Qigong techniques are mainly focused on developing Xing benefits and specialized skills. High-level Qigong training techniques can also belong to Ming practice but are not usually suitable for most practitioners unless they are training for a specialized purpose.
Usually the high level techniques require as a pre-requisite the development of a good foundation; a strong body, good health, vitality, self-control and discipline and a well formed and optimally functioning energy field. In general, Xing (high level) training techniques are not directly beneficial for self-healing and foundation conditioning.
Additionally, these techniques require an experienced Qigong master who is adept in teaching Qigong and possesses an ability to accurately identify the appropriate technique for the individual to practice, and to predict the progression, changes, and symptoms that may arise, and the benefits gained as a result of the prescribed technique being practiced.
Unfortunately not all Qigong instructors or even Masters are fully experienced in this area and consequently some beginner students are taught high level techniques and develop negative and unnecessary side effects and fail to progress in the correct and desired way, wasting time and effort.
Beginner students are advised to start with Ming techniques of Qigong practice – training for self-healing, strength, and vitality that forms the basis of a foundation. Ming training should start with active Qigong techniques, walking Qigong, and active standing posture Qigong. These techniques are easy to learn and easy to gain benefits from.
The primary forms of Qigong used for cancer patients are Guo Lin (“Walking Qigong”), Peng Qi Guan Ding (“Self-Healing Qigong”) and some forms of meditation. For more in-depth information on the ACTCMQ approach to cancer, please visit the Cancer Support section of this website.