The Qigong Corner - 2: Qigong Walking

By John Voigt


Boston Common 2011. Source: author.

Introduction.

It is common knowledge in the west that walking is an excellent
exercise that promotes general fitness. When walking is practiced as a qigong it
becomes even more effective. For Chinese people throughout the world it is the
most commonly practiced qigong used to promote health and well-being.
Walking becomes a qigong when: The person is fully aware of 1. The gravity of the
earth grounding and supporting them. 2. The air they are breathing deeply and fully
into their lower abdomen (the simplest definition of qigong is “breath work”). 3.
The beauty of nature around them—the trees, flowers, sunrise, other walkers, etc.,
as well as the universal nature above them (sky, clouds, sun, the stars, planets,
galaxies, heaven)—and that they are an integral and living moving part of all of this.
Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.
Thich Nhat Hanh.

Qigong Gymnastic Walking.

There are many styles of walking qigong. What follows was synthesized
from various instructions from my teachers, observations
in parks in Chinatowns in the United States and Canada, and from the
sources listed below. A bibliography is attached for further study.

The Simple Walk. Stand straight. Relax your body and mind. Have your shoulders
loose, and your chin slightly tucked it. Breathe comfortably, slowly, and fully
through the nose into the lower abdomen. Now begin walking calmly, and allow
your arms to loosely and gently sway from side to side. When the left foot moves
forward the right arm sways forward and slightly to the left; when the right foot
moves forward the left arm sways forward and slightly to the right. Increase your
awareness of your surroundings, your gentle but full breathing, and the way the qi-
life energy is feeling inside your body. Walking in this way moves health bringing
energy (qi) throughout the vessels and channels (meridians) and organs of the body.
Increasing The Amount of Qi-Vital Energy. Mind thinking nothing. Body relaxed
and tranquil. Inhaling more oxygen than exhaling. (Sheng Keng Yun).

Now intensify your walking this way: have your right hand make a waving motion
up as you quickly breathe in twice. Then as you exhale once the left foot steps out.
Immediately reverse this with the left hand making a waving motion up as you
breathe in twice. Then as you exhale once the right foot steps out. Do this
approximately for five to fifteen minutes. If it feels really good and natural you may
do it for a longer period of time. If something feels wrong or not right then stop
doing it and consult a qigong teacher well versed in such things, or if necessary a
doctor or physical therapist.

Video of Qigong Gymnastic Walking

Click Here to watch a video of Reiki master, spiritualist medium, tai chi and qigong practitioner
(and my wife) Carolyn Wilkins doing it.


Carolyn Wilkins - Reiki master, spiritualist medium, tai chi and qigong practitioner demonstrating
Qigong walking gymnastics.

Walking Meditation.

Walk very slowly, and optionally and if safe to do, with bare feet on clean
naked earth. When stepping out lift the heel first. When stepping down
the toes touch the earth first. Clear the mind of all verbal thinking about what
happened in the past and may happen in the future and be totally mindful in the
present. For a beginner, walk in this manner for ten minutes up to a half an hour at a
time.

If you can’t keep your mind quiet as you walk, then count numbers related to the
rhythm of your breathing patterns, or repeat a single word (e.g., “Peace”).
The walking becomes more spiritual or religious when you add a silently said
spiritual affirmation such as, I feel more youthful, healthy, and beautiful [or
handsome] with each step I take. Or a short religious prayer; e.g., Heal me, O Lord,
and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are my praise. – [Jeremiah
17:14]. For believing Christians, silently chanting the name Jesus contains enormous
power. From a Daoist perspective, by observing your oneness with the movements
of interacting yin and yang energetic elements around you as you walk, you may be
brought to a place that offers the quietude of a deep seated mediation. This qi-
energy harmonizing is said to extend all the way to the stars, planets, and galaxies of
the universe to the divine forces in heaven.

A more simple practice as you walk is to repeat to yourself the word Dao; which may
be understood as “The Way” – (as in the path, the proper direction, for spiritual
progress).


Buddha’s Footprint. A symbolic representation of the presence of Gautama Buddha.

Practical advice.

  • When you step don't mindlessly drop the foot down, instead feel as if you are
    gliding above the earth. One of my qigong masters over the years never needed to
    have his leather shoes resoled.
  • Use a walking cane if needed. Excessive pressure should never be placed on any of
    the body’s joints or bones in walking qigong. Correctly done walking is one of the
    few exercises that will strengthen the joints and aid in preventing arthritis.
  • Most qigong exercises are best done at the break of dawn, in good weather among
    the civilized nature of a large well cared for and secure park.
  • Qigong walking is best done in groups. But within such groups the Chinese people
    seldom talk to each other in order to maintain a concentrated focus on what they
    are doing. It is after the walking that they usually gather in a tea house and socialize
    with lots of talk, and laughter. Opposite the Boston Common I would gather with
    one such group at a McDonald’s. They didn’t speak that much English and my
    Cantonese was worse, but there was plenty of fun and good feelings and smuggled
    home baked Chinese cookies hidden in purses to go along with the plastic cups of
    coffee and hot water for tea.
  • Knowledgeable Chinese do the walking in circles, usually—but not always—in
    some sort of counter-clockwise way (the left side pointed in to the center of the
    circle). In Chinese communities in the morning you will see this done around small
    ponds, large fountains, or even a tree. From a Southern Daoist lineage that I was
    taught in, this is best done with the people singularly filing after each other in a line
    that curves around in a circle. This is intended to bring peace to the walkers and to
    the world at large.

Disclaimer.

This article is not presented not as a cure for any illness but as a
possible way to help to gain well-being. If any this or any other qigong, or exercise
or activity, hurts or causes discomfort stop doing it and see a medical professional.

Author’s Note.

In this short article I wanted to introduce Guo Lin’s Anti-Cancer
Walking Qigong, but time and space ran out on me. So I plan to write that for next
month’s issue of Chinese Medicine Living. But for now the interested reader could
reference these sites:

Walking Exercise - Persatuan GuoLin QiGong Malaysia
and Guo Lin’s Anti-Cancer Fixed Foot Walking Qigong, by Jim Russo.


Boston Common 2011. Source: author.

Sources & Further Resources.


The Qigong Corner - 1: The Basics

By John Voigt

Qi.

A general meaning of this word is “life energy,” and the meaning of Gong relates
to “work,” “cultivation,” and “accomplishment.” Qi is pronounced chee with a fast
descending soft (close to she ) sound. In Cantonese, a language often spoken by
more older people from southern China, it sounds like “hay,” so we have hay gong.
The older English spelling is “chi kung.”

Feel the Qi.

Qi manifests in many ways, one is the flow of bio-electricity in our body.
It is relatively easy to physically experience this by doing the following exercise: Rub
your hands together, then stretch and wiggle your fingers. Tap your fingertips
together, and tap them on each palm. Wiggle your fingers again. Now pretend you
are holding a ball approximately a foot and a half in circumference. Inhale and feel
this imaginary ball expand. As you exhale squeeze it back to its original size.  Do this
for a few minutes or until you feel your palms and fingertips grow warm—or even
better hot—with the energy of life. You are experiencing a manifestation of the
reality of qi, of life force, of bio-energy.

Qigong.

Its origins are Chinese and many millions of Chinese people practice it daily
throughout the world in any number of ways; most often with gentle physical
movements, stretches, meditations, and mentally focused visualizations. The term
actually relates to the harmonious interplay of yin and yang energies in the body:
specifically in the way we hold our bodies and move, the way we breathe which
effects internal energy, and what we have in our minds. Its repeated practice helps
bring about mental, physical, and spiritual well-being and healing.
Stretching is a good example of body work, and you don’t need a park in Beijing to
see thousands of people doing it, just go to a baseball park during a game and take
part in the seventh inning stretch. If there is space for it after the stretching walk
about some. It all helps get the qi moving.

Or do as so many people do, upon awakening in the morning get out of bed and take
several deep breaths—(one definition of qigong is “breath work”)—as you stretch
your hands and arms upwards and pay attention to the way it feels. As with most
qigong this is best done in the morning in a park with people all about doing various
qigong or tai chi (actually the word is taijiquan) or other forms of physical health
regimes.

It is a simple step to see the resemblance of this kind of stretching to a qigong
master doing the first movement of the most popular worldwide qigong form, the
Standing Eight Pieces of Brocade” (Baduanjin). The stretch is called “Holding Up
The Heavens” and it is said to regulate the passage of qi in the body and mind, and
tone and promote healing in the functions of the body’s inner organs.

Take a look at a grandmaster doing it on YouTube:
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. Standing Eight Pieces of Brocade. [it runs from 0:17 to 3:26].
More about Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming here

I suggest after you see Dr. Yang in action, you do some similar stretches
immediately. Five of them is enough. And take it easy: as you can see from the video,
qigong does not subscribe to the “No Pain No Gain” school of thought. If fact if there
is any pain stop doing it immediately and go see a health professional.
You now have an idea, and more importantly a physical experience, of what qi and
qigong are. Practice these or any gentle stretches in the morning as you breathe
calmly, smoothly, fully and gently into the lower abdomen.

Don’t do any qigong as if were a forced prison exercise drill, but rather as if you are
a young child having fun playing. And very important: keep noticing how the energy
feels inside of you. That way you become cognizant of the movement of the qi. And
don’t forget to smile. Smiling always helps increase the flow of this vital qi.

For the next issue of Chinese Medical Living we will go to a park near Boston’s
Chinatown and join the elders in the great healing exercise of social walking, and
learn about a simple walking regime that helps in the healing of cancer. If you wish
to learn something about that right now, on your browser explore this name, Guo
Lin and her walking qigong.

Qi has many appearances and definitions. One is “universal
consciousness.” Here is a painting by visionary artist and distance viewer
Ingo Swann titled “Cosmic Intelligence” which is an artistic depiction of such Qi.

Author with painting at the American Visionary Art Museum,
http://www.avam.org/ Baltimore, June 2018

Note: For more about Qi and Qigong go to qi-encyclopedia.com

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

John Voigt is a regular contributor to Chinese Medicine Living - you may read his bio here.


The Most Important Qigong – III (Standing Post Zhan Zhuang)

By John Voigt

This is the third and concluding article about Standing Post, a qigong pose of stillness, complete relaxation, and no observable movement. It features two versions of Standing Post, the latter version attributed to the legendary qigong master, Dr. Yan Xin http://www.yanxinqigong.net/aboutdryan/index.htm .

A list of books, online articles, and videos about Standing Post – Zhan Zhuang will be given at the end at the end of this article.

Many masters of Chinese health, martial arts, and spiritual practices say this type standing meditation is the most important of all exercises to do. The previous two articles about Standing Post appeared in the January and February 2018 issues of Chinese Medical Living. The Most Important Qigong - Standing Post Zhan Zhuang & The Most Important Qigong - Standing Post Zhan Zhuang II

Standing Post With Seven Imaginary Beach Balls, complied by
John Voigt

This image from https://sciencekungfu.wordpress.com/tag/zhan-zhuang/

First and most important: Have the entire body and mind complexly relaxed ignoring any discomfort—but if there is any pain immediately stop doing this exercise.

The feet stand straight ahead at approximately a shoulder’s width. The knees are slightly bent and never protrude past the toes. The spine is straight. The chin is slightly tucked in. Imagine that the crown of the head is gently being pulled up by a thread to the heavens.

The tongue rests on the palate. The eyes are half closed (as the Chinese say, “Look but don’t look). Breathe softly, slowly, deeply through the nose in a natural rhythmic way down into the lower abdomen. Don’t think, but do be silently aware of what is happening internally in the body; in other words keep the mental focus on your posture and especially on how it feels.

Hold an imaginary beach ball. The picture shows a typical way, at the upper chest, but the ball can be held at a higher or lower position. The hands and wrists are relaxed with the fingers pointing at each other; the thumbs point to the upward. The shoulders and elbows are also relaxed.

Next imagine that your elbows are resting on smaller beach balls, and that you are holding a smaller ball in each of your underarms, and one between your upper thighs.

Now imagine a super-sized beach ball and sit back on it (like sitting on the edge of a bar stool). Be careful—seriously, don’t fall over, this is imaginary after all. We want the weight of the trunk, head and upper limbs to rest on the thighs; and the weight of the body to be evenly distributed on both feet.

At the end of doing the Standing Post pose do some mild stretches, and it’s also good to take a walk.

Dr. Yan Xin on Zhan Zhuang

Image from www.china.com

The legendary Qigong master Dr. Yan Xin (born 1950 - ) http://www.yanxinqigong.net/aboutdryan/index.htm (pronounced “Yan Shen”) wrote the following: Now we talk about Standing Post (Zhan Zhuang). You always need to stand in the correct and relaxed way, then the movement is very easily learned; with just one "stand" you'll get it. But if you stand in your old incorrect way, that will easily produce or make you feel irritable and bored. Then you will loose any interest in learning it or doing Standing Post. It will be difficult to get started and gain any significant progress or results that way. Therefore, for those who say that they want to do this practice, we must nurture and cultivate their interest, and their desire to learn. How is this done? By having them recognize the importance of qigong and become aware of its many benefits. [From Eighty Characters: The Essentials of Qigong Practice. http://www.yanxinqigong.cn/fali/temp_lifa_yaoling_80zi_01.htm ].

[John Voigt speaking:] In the early 1990s my Chinese language tutor, Ms. Sheng Xue, learned Standing Post in Beijing from Dr. Yan Xin, or at times from his teaching assistants. (Dr. Yan moved to California in 1990, but made many trips back to China to do healings sessions with the then Premier.) She kindly gave me the following description of what he taught :

Preparation: “In the morning face east; during the night face north. Relax and the energy comes. [Note: In the profound words of Ms. Sheng, “You don't ‘have it,’ (if you think that) the qi-energy (will) go away.”] Have fingers not too tight—just a little bit open. Arms go up horizontally at sides to palms over the head to guide qi into the crown of the head (baihui). Then have palms gently and slowly come down in front of you which by itself—and without any word directions or mental will power—will cause the qi to flow inside through the face, eyes, lungs, into the dantian. Don't direct qi after its entrance in the baihui; just mentally focus on being aware of your dantian[the life energy storage center in the lower abdomen] and allow the qi to flow naturally down into the dantian. End by placing the hands over the dantian; then palms face the ground; drop hands slowly—that way the qi that has been built up is not lost.” [Note: this preparation is an example of the widely practiced Daoist qigong form, “Drawing (or “Pulling”) Down the Heavens.”]

Ball Holding Stance: More from Ms. Sheng: “Next slowly go into ‘Ball Holding Stance.’ Take three deep breaths, then [sit] down on the horse. Just standing you feel qi in the arms and hands—then it going into the bones. Then into shoulders; then upper legs, lower legs and feet; then shoulders and neck. Feet [pointed slightly in] helps keep knees from overlapping the toes. Think happy thoughts like family, [or being in beautiful] nature. Slowly go into ‘Ball Holding Stance.’ Take three deep breaths, then [sit] down on the horse. Feel hot qi in the arms. Do not go to thighs parallel with ground [i.e., extreme deep knee bends] unless [under the direction of a experienced] teacher. Expect to get hot [because of qi buildup] as well as working up a good sweat—this is a muscle exercise after all. Stand Pole [sic] has large quantities of life energy—qi power arms, legs and body.” End the same as beginning [with Drawing Down the Heavens] . . . then slowly place hands above dantian; then hands slowly return to the sides.

Concluding Odds and Ends

Zhan Zhuang in Chinese characters is站 ,and pronounced Jan [sinking tone] Jwong [high tone].

About Dr. Yan Xin. See: Yan Xin Qigong at http://yanxinqigong.net/
Many believe him to be one of the most outstanding qigong masters of all times in both in scientific experimentation, teaching, healing, and exhibiting paranormal abilities.

Highlights as a Healer: After a three year exile to the United States, he returned to Beijing to help heal the Chinese premier Deng Zhou Ping, who was dying of advanced metastasized cancer. Both Eastern and Western medical doctors had given up on Deng's survival, and the enemies of Qigong brought Dr. Yan back to China in the hopes of discrediting him and Medical Qigong. Deng Zhou Ping did not practice the qigong that Yan Xin asked of him, but at least Yan Xin was able to keep the Premier alive for another year and a half, essentially by his living off of Dr. Yan's bioenergy (Qi). This precipitated the "legalization" of Qigong in China under the [auspices of the] government controlled Chinese "Sports Authority."
http://www.michaelshaman.com/dr-yan-xin.html

He also went to the U.S. White House eight times to give energy treatments to President Bush, Sr., which gives some explanation to Bush’s paratroop jump in his 80s!
https://www.mind-energy.net/archives/246-the-highest-technology-of-all-technologies-the-yan-xin-secret.html

Since the 1990s, Yan Xin's main activities of teaching, writing, and participating in scientific research on external qi used for healing have been in the United States, and Canada.

A short biography exists on the Encyclopedia of Chinese Culture. https://contemporary_chinese_culture.academic.ru/907/Yan_Xin

As an example of his qigong superstardom, including some improvisational spontaneous standing meditation go to严新气功功理功法精选 1 [Yan Xin Qigong power law selection 1] on YouTube - [only in Chinese].
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvdet8nmSOw

For Further Study: Books – Articles – Essays - Videos
Kenneth S. Cohen. The Way of Qigong; pp. 133-143. Ballantine Books, 1997.

Michael P. Garofalo. “Standing Meditation," research by Michael P. Garofalo [at]
http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/wuji.htm

Karel Koskuba. Zhan Zhuang. [at] http://www.yiquan.org.uk/art-zz.html

Master Lam Kam Chuen. The Way of Energy. Simon & Schuster, 1991.

John Voigt. “The Ultimate Energy Exercise: Zhan Zhuang – Standing (Like A) Post. Qi Journal, vol. 23/n.2; Summer 2013. https://www.qi-journal.com/store.asp?-token.S=qi&ID=3319

“Wang Xiangzhai.” [at] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Xiangzhai

Wang Xiangzhai: Entering the Quiet State; [at] http://mitqigong.blogspot.com/2011/03/wang-xiangzhai-entering-quiet-state.html

Wang Xiangzhai. “Seek Fullness of Spirit and Intention.” [at] http://mitqigong.blogspot.com/2011/04/wang-xiangzhai-seek-fullness-of-spirit.html .

Wang Xuanjie & John Moffett. Traditional Chinese Therapeutic Exercises: Standing Pole; [text in English]. Foreign Languages Press, 1994. [Has seven standing forms, five seated postures, four lying postures, and three moving postures. Master Wang said that Zhan Zhuang can even be adapted and used by people without arms or legs.]

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit. Stance Training and becoming a Scholar-Warrior
[at] http://shaolin.org/general-2/stance-training.html .

Yiquan: Collection of Essays 1996-2010, (e-book); published by Andrzej Kalisz. Yiquan Academy International Network. [at] http://www.scribd.com/doc/44719012/Yiquan-essays .

Yu Yong Nian. “Still Life,” Metro Beijing, March 23, 2011. https://www.scribd.com/doc/145816955/Still-Life-Yu-Yong-Nian-on-Zhan-Zhuang .

Videos on the Internet
Ken Gullette. Zhan Zhuang: Standing Stake Tai Chi Lesson. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnckgTx3-rE .

Standing Meditation Basics - Yiquan Masters Demonstrate. YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtUKTd2WKsc&feature=related .

Zhan Zhuang Lineage and Memorial. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OIcCTrLsCA

Sources of Pictures
Holding The Ball. https://sciencekungfu.wordpress.com/tag/zhan-zhuang/
Dr. Yan Xin. http://news.china.com/history/all/11025807/20161226/30114727_all.html


The Most Important Qigong II - (Standing Post - Zhan Zhuang)

by John Voigt

In silence there must be movement, and in motion, there must be silence.

A small movement is better than a large movement,

no movement is better than a small.

Silence is the mother of all movement..

In movement you should be like a dragon or a tiger.

In non-movement you should be like a Buddha.

--Wang Xiangzhai, the Father of Standing Post Qigong

This is a continuation of the article - The Most Important Qigong - that appeared in Chinese Medical Living, January 2018.

A Quick Summary.

Stand straight and relaxed with chin slightly tucked back. Raise your arms and pretend to hug an imaginary large tree (or large ball). Breathe slowly, deeply, and smoothly. Hold the pose as long as possible. Relax into any discomfort you experience. If you experience any pain then stop immediately. With an empty mind be aware (feel) your posture; and gently correct it if necessary.

How Long to Practice.

Even a few minutes of serious practice each day should bring about some positive results.  As long as there is no pain, slowly extend the length of the practice. With an accomplished teacher several hours—even more—are theoretically possible.  However, for those who need more specific instructions: “Start by doing the standing exercises  for five minutes a day.  After three weeks, increase this to ten minutes.  Three weeks later, aim for 15 minutes, and 20 minutes after a further three weeks.  You can stand longer if you wish, but 20 minutes will refresh your whole system.”  Master Lam Kam Chuen.  The Way of Energy, pg. 25.

The important thing is to practice as relaxed, as long, and as often as you can.

MANAGING THE DISCOMFORT:

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/519532506985622303/

Discomfort is to be expected and dealt with by relaxing and breathing into the strained area.

Ignore any itches, tingling, even minor quick flashing pains which often are signs that energy blockages are being opened.  If it gets to be too much just stop doing the standing posture for a few seconds, then return to it with the arms not held so high, or the knees not bent so much. To alleviate some discomfort in the arms, imagine they are suspended up by strings from the elbows and wrists.  Or lower the hands down to in front of the belly.  Or imagine the arms are made of cotton.

Other ways to reduce discomfort are more fanciful, but perhaps more effective:  imagine you are floating in a pool of warm water; or you are a feather floating in the air.  For those that are more spiritually aggressive, imagine you are an angelic being of light floating in the heavens.

The simplest remedy is paradoxical: with the hint of a smile on your lips, just disregard the discomfort and sink into it as if it weren’t there—something like getting a “second wind” for a long distance runner.

However if sharp or intense pain occurs anywhere, especially in the knees or other joints, STOP!   If pain continues to occur during future practice, discontinue all practice until you receive professional advice from someone experienced in these matters.   

TECHNIQUES TO BETTER THE PRACTICE:

A Straight Back.

Be aware of the alignment and symmetry of your pose, and gently adjust and correct it as needed.

Although they may think that they are standing straight, most people lean slightly backwards or forwards when doing Standing Post. To experience what a straight back really feels like, lie on the floor in a supine position, or stand against a wall.  Or do it with a full length mirror to check your stance; or have someone look at you and tell you when are not straight.  Or imagine you are hanging from the limb of a tree by the hair on the top of your head.

Do not “tuck the tailbone under.”  Do not put that kind of force on your spine.  If you “sit back” on an imaginary high stool, the coccyx will properly straighten by itself.

Note:

Many people need to feel that they are leaning forward to get a correct straight posture.

Look at Grand Master Yu Yong-Nian with his students in the next picture.  For most (and especially with Master Yu) a theoretical plumb line could be dropped from the crown of the head through the center of the abdomen down to the perineum area.  Not only that: the Kidney-1 points (behind the balls of the feet) also line up, and all this is done so effortlessly!

Grand Master Yu Yong Nian with his students, Beijing, circa 1985.
Image source: http://www.yiquan78.org/postures.htm

MIND:

This is a mental as well as physical exercise, overcoming random thoughts is an important aspect …. Only [by] being completely relaxed and natural, not trying to control, just letting thoughts come and go Without  Attachment, can one really stabilize and liberate the consciousness. Wang Xiangzhai: Entering the Quiet State.

Other methods to clear the mind to gain that needed “quiescence”:  listen to the breath - make it silent - listen to the silence of the breath.  If that is too difficult, count each inhalation up to ten, then go back to one and repeat the counting.

Superstar martial artist Bruce Lee may have said it best in the movie, Enter The Dragon” with his “Don’t think, feel” … [that way you won’t miss ] … “All that heavenly glory.”

EYES:

Gaze in an absent minded way at the hands. As the Chinese say, “Look but don’t look.” This helps to more deeply relax into the static standing posture.

SHOULDERS:

If you have trouble keeping the shoulders loose, inhale and squeeze the shoulders up; then quickly exhale and drop the shoulders.

FINGERS-HANDS-ARMS: 

The fingers are slightly spread apart, and the thumbs are slightly bent—(imagine each hand is catching a ball).  Or, sometimes I tell my students, “think tiger claws.”  And keep the wrists loose.

Hands and arms are normally just below shoulder level, but they may be at the level of the lower abdomen (dantian), or the forehead, or the palms may face the ground;  there are many possible options.


The Eight Zhan Zhuang Posts of Yiquan
Image source: http://mitqigong.blogspot.com/2011/06/eight-zhan-zhuang-posts-of-yiquan.html

KNEES:

The knees should never go past the toes; doing that can harm the knees.

About Knee Bends. 

Many martial arts teachers say that with the legs wider apart than shoulder width, you can gain a lower crouching stance which will enable more vital energy (qi) to be packed into your body.  This certainly has validity.  However in the standard practice of Zhan Zhuang, it is only an advanced option, and is best done only under the supervision of an experienced master teacher.

Normally the knees are bent about an inch—but it is standard to bend them as

much as you can without experiencing pain.

The knees should slightly push outward. To accomplish this, imagine a large ball expanding against, but simultaneously being held in place (isometric-like) by your knees. Guide your body weight to—and slightly lift up—the yongquan (Kidney-1) acupuncture points directly behind the balls of the feet.  This lifts the arches and distributes the weight between the heels, toes, and sides of the feet.  This will help you feel lighter and more agile.  It also keeps the knees from pointing inward.

Be a TREE. 

Zhan Zhuang sometimes is translated as “Standing Like a Tree.”  It may be helpful to bring the concept of  Tree into the practice.  For example, do the exercise outdoors among large healthy trees—You can imagine that you too are a tree standing straight and powerful; drawing up earth-yin energy and drawing down sun-yang energy.

Or visualize you are squeezing a tree and making it smaller; not only with your hands and arms, but also with your knees and legs.  Or imagine that you are pulling it out by its roots. All of these are done without any external movement.

To Prevent Energy Leakage.

Very gently tighten the muscles in the anal and perineum area.

What Not To Do. 

Master Wang Xiangzhai taught that Conscious Awareness and Physical Form working together is the basis of this work: In his words, “Mind activity is born from the posture; posture follows mind activity.”  What this means is that although he did teach using certain visualizations, he rejected thought controlled qigong practices such as orbiting qi in the meridians, working with specific acupuncture points, or Daoist or Buddhist breathing techniques.  I think he wanted us to be without any words in a place of Oneness (the “Flow” or  what athletes call, “In the Zone”).

BENEFITS FROM DOING THE PRACTICE:

“I do Zhan Zhuang and I’m happy! I do Zhan Zhuang and I’m healthy! I do Zhan Zhuang and I have a long life!”  - Grand Master Yu Yong-Nian https://munndialarts.com/english/master-yu-yong-nian/  (he lived 93 years).

Standing Post strengthens the muscles, and increases qi (life energy) in the body. It grants an awareness of the self—which may lead to profound psychological and spiritual experiences. Relaxing and being able to ignore discomfort is a skill that may be used in dealing with many of the difficult situations we may face in life.

Health: 

A basic premise of traditional Chinese health practices is that illness is caused when qi (vital life energy) is deficient, stagnant, excessive or blocked.  Properly done, Standing Post helps correct these problems.

Psychological:

Standing Post trains the mind to be still and concentrated, thereby gaining alertness, self discipline and will power.  The mind does not lose itself so easily in the daily stresses of modern life which often trigger a variety of psychological problems.

Spiritual Growth:

“In Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung one learns to return to the source of all power, to enter back into the very womb of universal energy and to experience the truth of the power of the void, the still point, the wuji" [i.e., the empty potential for infinite creation], (from Internal Arts Journal. http://www.qigonghealer.com/zhan_zhuang.html . Standing Post, occasionally called “Standing Meditation,” can bring the Body, Life Energy, and the Mind into an experienced state of Unity.  A place of Oneness: first with the self, then with nature, then the world, then the universe.  And finally perhaps with what some might call the “Dao.”

WARNINGS: 

If you have substantial [qi-energy] blockage in your body, the accumulated energy derived from Zhan Zhuang would cause internal injuries.” Wong Kiew Kit.  The Shaolin Arts. p. 150.   Do not practice when sick, instead go see a doctor!  Some sources say do not practice if you have high blood pressure, or excessive blood flow during menstruation or menopause, or if pregnant or right after childbirth.  As always, consult with professional health providers before doing any exercise or qigong; especially if you have any medical problems or health issues. As mentioned throughout this article: if there is pain stop. If the pain continues consult with a professional healer.

Notes

(Zhan Zhuang is translated many ways: “Standing Post” is accurate but without meaning for most English speakers.  Other terms are “Standing Stake,” “Standing Meditation,” “Standing Pole,” “Standing Like a Tree,” or “Stance Training.” Even its most important teacher in the 20th century, Master Wang Xiangzhai, near the end of his life called it Health Nourishing Postures,” and “Postures of Primeval Unity.”

This article is a summation of  “The Ultimate Energy Exercise: Zhan Zhuang – Standing (Like A) Post. Qi Journal, vol. 23/n.2; Summer 2013.  https://www.qi-journal.com/store.asp?-token.S=qi&ID=3319

The next issue of Chinese Medicine Living for March, 2018 will have the concluding The Most Important Qigong – III:  (Standing Post - Zhan Zhuang). It  features

Dr. Yan Xin’s http://www.yanxinqigong.net/aboutdryan/index.htm version of Standing Post, as well as a list of books, online articles, and videos for further study.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Featured image source: http://www.yiquan78.org/postures.htm


The Most Important Qigong

By John Voigt

The most important qigong gymnastic is standing and doing nothing. Many masters of traditional Chinese martial arts, spiritual sciences, and healing practices have stated that this is the basis, the foundation, of all Asian inner and outer life-energy work.

It is called Zhan Zhuang (站), and pronounced Jhan Jwong. It means “Standing [like a wooden] Post.

"If I had to choose one qigong technique to practice, it would undoubtedly be this one. Many Chinese call standing meditation "the million dollar secret of qigong." Whether you are practicing qigong for self healing, for building healing ch'i, for massage or healing work on others, standing is an essential practice ….  for ch'i  gathering and flow."  –  Kenneth S. Cohen.  The Way Of Qigong.

 “Zhan zhuang, or stance training, is the most important single category of exercise for developing internal force.  It can be safely said that all Taijiquan masters, all Xingyi masters, most Bagua masters, and many Shaolin masters obtained their internal force from zhan zhuang.”    –  Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.  Stance Training And Becoming A Scholar-Warrior.

Although this practice can over time potentially open to those who do it a path to liberation, it may be summarized in only a few words:

Stand straight and relaxed. Raise your arms and hug an imaginary large tree (or large ball). Breathe slowly, deeply, and smoothly. Relax into any discomfort you experience. Hold the pose as long as possible. If there is any pain, or even a hint of pain, stop immediately.

A Short History Of The Practice

Standing without moving is an ancient meditation practice. Shamans in ecstatic rituals enacted wild animals stalking their prey—the consciousness focused on the kill;  the body virtually motionless, waiting to spring. Certain Hindu yoga asanas employ slightly similar standing poses, especially Tadasana, the “Mountain Pose.”

Over two thousand years old (and discovered in 1973 at the Mawangdui archaeological site in Changsha, China) are 44 drawings on silk, called the Daoyin tu, literally meaning “Leading and Guiding [QiDiagrams.” Many of the figures appear to be doing stationary standing forms. Here is a section of one of the scrolls. (In Standing Post the arms and hands may be at low, middle, high, or even raised positions.)

Nevertheless these Shaman, Hindu, or ancient Chinese practices are only precursors to Zhan Zhuang as we know and do it today.

The Practice

If possible, pick a regular time and place. Early morning in a pleasant outdoor setting is best. Fresh air is important: if indoors, and the weather permitting, open a window. 

Warm Up

Feel free to use your own regime of loosening and gently stretching the muscles and joints. (But it is best not to do any strenuous physical exercises before doing Standing Post.)

Here are some suggested limbering up qigong forms:  Rub the hands together and massage the face and head. Massage (or gently slap or tap) the torso, arms and legs, neck and head areas. Stretch the arm and leg muscles.

With hands on knees, look down at a 45-degree angle, and gently rotate the knees clockwise, then counterclockwise. Rotate the arms in front of the body, circling in, then out. Rotate the hips (as if doing hula hoops) clockwise, then counterclockwise. Do each five or more times each way.

Preparation

Stand with the feet approximately a fist’s width apart. Raise the arms straight up, palms facing, above your head. This keeps the head from sagging forward and straightens the back. Next bring the arms down by the sides of the body in sweeping semicircles. At the same time extend one foot (usually the left foot) out to the side to about shoulder’s width.

Preliminary Posture

Called “Wuji”  - “Empty” - or  “Basic”  Stance.

Note

This posture, also called by other names, is used to begin many qigong and taijiquan (tai chi) exercises.

From the Preparation stance, continue standing straight (do not lean back). Keep the chin tucked slightly in. Imagine a string at the crown of the head gently but firmly pulling you up—and feel the spine actually lengthen. The arms and hands rest lightly at the sides. Turn the elbows slightly forward to ensure a hollow space in the armpits—enough to hold a "swallow’s egg."  The knees are soft, slightly bent and not locked. The feet are straight. Breathe slowly, smoothly, fully into the lower abdomen. Lower the eyelids  and look slightly down with a soft gaze, as if daydreaming. Rest the tip of tongue on the hard palette behind the front top teeth.

Stand in this manner for a few minutes or longer.

HOLDING and EMBRACING the POST

Continuing directly from the Preliminary Posture:  inhale and curve the arms and hands and lift them to the front of the chest. Palms face the chest. Fingers are separated. The elbows are slightly lowered. The distance between the hands and chest is approximately one foot. Exhale, and keeping the shoulders loose and the back straight, sink down and sit back on an imaginary tall stool. The knees should not extend past the tips of the toes. Imagine that you are squeezing a large inflated beach ball—or a tree. The important thing is to be completely relaxed in body and mind. When the position is comfortably locked in—(this may take days or months to achieve)— pleasurable, even ecstatic, experiences may occur.

Grand Master Yu Yong Nian teaching Standing Post in Beijing, circa 1985

Note

Mentally holding on to the continual stress and irritation of modern life may make even a few minutes of standing and seemingly doing nothing seem like an eternity. If that happens, it is most likely an indication that your mental and physical energy flow patterns are in disarray. The more mentally torturous just standing and doing “nothing” is for you, the more  you need to do it.

To End the Practice

After completing Standing Post, return to standing in the opening Basic - Empty - Wuji stance, but with your palms over each other on the lower abdomen. Stand like this for several minutes to store the energy. Then do the warm up as a cool down. Then take a walk.

WARNINGS

If you have substantial [qi-energy] blockage in your body, the accumulated energy derived from Zhan Zhuang would cause internal injuries.” Wong Kiew Kit. The Shaolin Arts. p. 150. Do not practice when sick, instead see a doctor.  Some sources say do not practice if you have high blood pressure, or excessive blood flow during menstruation or menopause, or if pregnant or right after childbirth. As always, consult with a professional health provider before doing any exercise or qigong; especially if you have any medical problems or health issues. And as mentioned throughout this article: if there is pain stop and consult with a professional healer, or an experienced teacher of Standing Post - Zhan Zhuang.

In the Next issue of Chinese Medical Living this article will continue with: 1. additional techniques on how to practice Standing Post;  2. how to deal with its discomfort; 3. its benefits; and 4. sources for more information. And how Dr. Yan Xin, a famous, outstanding, and charismatic qigong master, taught Standing Post in Beijing.

This article is a summation of  “The Ultimate Energy Exercise: Zhan Zhuang – Standing (Like A) Post. Qi Journal, vol. 23/n.2; Summer 2013. https://www.qi-journal.com/store.asp?-token.S=qi&ID=3319

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Featured image from TaiChiBasics.com


The Strangest Chinese Energy Healing Ever Reported - Part Two

By John Voigt

In Part One details were given about an extraterrestrial sending universal healing qi-energy into a thirty-eight year old man, “Cao Gong” (an alias) which he immediately used to heal a very sick thirteen year old girl. This took place aboard a UFO in Qinhuangdao, an area about sixty miles east of Beijing. Our brief analysis continues with Cao’s return to his family’s apartment in Beijing.

Right After the Abduction and Healing

The male and female extraterrestrials and Cao Gong entered as they had left two hours and twenty minutes before, by floating in through a wall, this time into his nine year old son’s bedroom. The boy, “Cao Xing” (also an alias) awoke. He said, “What happened to the  nerve [or “nerves” the Chinese is unclear] in my head that controls sleeping?” Cao Gong was amazed at such grownup words coming from his young son.  (Were the ETs controlling the boy’s mind somehow? Could they have been controlling Cao Gong’s mind as well?) After the ETs left, again by floating through a wall, the boy spoke, “How did these people enter my room? And how did they leave like that?”  (Later investigators saw this as circumstantial evidence that Cao Gong was not alone in actually witnessing the two extraterrestrials.)

It was now 2:20 AM. By 4:00 AM that same night Cao Gong was on the phone with a member of the Beijing UFO Research Association, a Miss Ma Linghuan, seeking an explanation for what had just happened to him.

The Investigation of the Abduction Begins  [靖平]

Zhang Jingping, Director of Investigations of the World Chinese UFO Federation, decided to take on the case, and by April of 2000 he began a through investigation.

After several hypnotic regression sessions, a lie detection session, physiological tests, and talks with Beijing police examiners, and other ufologists,  Cao Gong’s  story was found to be believable and truthful—at least he was honestly reporting what he had experienced. It seemed unlikely that he dreamt any of it: everything points to the probable fact that he was awake when his abduction took place. (His nine year old son also had seen the two aliens when his father was returned home.) On November, 2002, two years after the abduction took place, the girl, Xiao Xiaomei (an alias), now completely healthy, with a baby and a job with her a live-in lover cleaning other people’s homes, was found in Qinhuangdao, the city where the healing had taken place. The case is said to remain open, but no new information has been released as of September, 2017. Perhaps this analysis in Chinese Medicine Living will generate further information from our readers.

Cao Gong, and Xiao Xiaomei (an alias) two years after the abduction
Source: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4ca903250102e6h6.html

Cao Gong, UFO investigator Zhang Jingping, and Xiao Xiaomei
Source: http://news.qq.com/a/20080916/000852_8.htm

About Energy Healing

The use of external energy for healing is a worldwide technique from ancient times to today. The Christian Laying on of Hands, Reiki, and Healing Touch are all examples that have produced healings that western medicine can not properly explain or duplicate. The Chinese have been especially proficient and successful with this kind of healing―after all they have been doing it much longer and more extensively than any other people. For example, there is the legend―(I suggest that legends are somehow based on historical realities)―of the Yellow Emperor, (died 2598 BC), credited as being the founder of Chinese Medicine.

100-yuan banknote (1938) with a dragon and the Yellow Emperor who was said to have been taken up to heaven by a dragon.  In ancient China UFOs were called dragons.
Source: Wikipedia.

In his court there was a shaman priest named Zhu You who practiced healing by emitting qi combined with sacred prayers. In the “Bible” of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine it is written that, “In earlier times most illnesses were treated in the manner of Zhu You.” (Chapter 13). Today in China this healing modality is called “External Qi Therapy” - Wai qi liaofa - 外气法.

About Qi

Chinese Traditional Form
Source: Google

Chinese Simple (“Modern”) Form
Source: Chineseetamology.org

Qi (pronounced “chee” in a descending tone) is a highly complex term that gains its meaning from within the context in which it is placed.  Although impossible to get an exact translation of the word in English, it is often called  “vital life energy.” In traditional Chinese thought, Qi is usually thought to be the underlying force of all of life, matter and consciousness in the universe. Within humans Qi may be understood as a being a bio-electric interface between conscious awareness and the physical body. As such, qi is the energetic foundation and cause of life. [For more about Qi see: http://qi-encyclopedia.com/ .]

More commonly and less accurately, the term Qi is used to describe its sensuous manifestations. For example in the Cao Gong abduction case: the sensations Cao Gong felt in the qi transmissions from the extraterrestrial into his GV-14 acupuncture point, and then what he felt as he sent qi into the sick girl: “a burst of heat, rivers of radiating pins and needles, numbing electrical-like discharges.” Even the glow of health coming from the healed girl certain people might colloquially call “good qi.” But strictly speaking these are not proper definitions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), well-being is gained through the harmonious flow of qi. However, if qi is in excess or deficient in the organs and/or energy meridians of the human body, or if it is of the wrong kind, as with the foul gaseous energy removed from girl, Xiao Xiaomei, sickness and death is often the result.

Healing Qi-Energy from an Extraterrestrial’s Perspective

The male extraterrestrial told Cao Gong aboard the UFO: “Don’t be nervous. We are like you. Our universal life energies [yuzhou nengliang -宇宙能量are the same. You’re invited here to be in an experiment in which earth people heal other earth people by using the abilities and capacities of this energetic force [neng li 能力].”

After the girl was healed, Cao Gong asked, “What’s going on? How can this be?” Extraterrestrial male answered, “Because you are in physically good health, I could supply you with universal cosmic light (yuzhou guāng - 宇宙 ), electricity (dian - 电), and scientific magnetic energy (cineng - 磁能).  Since such magnetic energetic abilities are not mutually repulsive, you were able to  transmit it to her. Because she needed it, she absorbed it.  This is very normal.”

The last thing that the male ET said to Cao Gong was, “Thank you for your cooperation. With it our experiment has been very successful.  Because our superconducting magnetic healing energies are too intense for earth people to directly receive, we used a really healthy earthling like yourself to be the conduit to harmonize (tiao jie – to adjust, regulate, harmonize, reconcile) the qi and transmit it to the girl.

Those Chinese words, tiao jie qi, may be the best summary ever given of  what Traditional Chinese Medicine is all about: to adjust, regulate, and harmonize the qi in the patient.

Bad (pathogenic) Xie Qi

Qi can cause illness as well as heal it. This bad qi is called Xie Qi. It is pronounced “shay” in a rising tone, “chee” in a falling) tone. In the healing abduction it probably was cause of the girl’s black and grey complexion as well as the noxious stuff that oozed out of her. Cao Gong described it this way: The semi-transparent covering surrounding the girl began to fill with a foul (wu zhou - ) gaseous/energetic substance (qi ti -气体.). 

Various Meanings of Xie (邪):

Formal TCM translations offer: Pathogenic (disease causing) – Turbid – Toxic. Especially telling is what the word means in Chinese everyday colloquially speech: “Bad” – “Evil” - “Demonic” – “Devil” – “Killing.”

Xie Qi is caused by such factors as wind, cold, heat, wet,  dry hot (fire) , improper diet, phlegm, polluted atmosphere and improper life style behavior. Emotional unbalance can both be caused and/or create xie qi. The girl, Xiao Xiaomei , only thirteen years old, was mentally challenged and unmarried. She may  have been in the beginning stages of an unwanted pregnancy at that time. (Within the two years after the abduction she had given birth to her baby.)

For more about Xie (Turbid) Qi see http://qi-encyclopedia.com/index.asp?article=TurbidQi

Calling Out to the Reader For Answers

This is an invitation for you, the reader, to add your knowledge and experience to the Cao Gong-Extraterrestrial healing event. Email me at john.voigt@comcast.net. Selected replies will chosen for publication in Chinese Medicine Living. Your name and email address will not be given without your approval.

Suggested Possible Questions –
(but any comments about the healing are welcome)

1. Have you every used, experienced, or observed qi being externally sent for healing (i.e., External Qi Therapy)?

2. Why or how was the GV-14 point used?

3. Any comments about the semi-transparent membrane used to capture (or remove) the pathogenic xie-qi?

4. Have you ever removed xie-qi from a client? If so how did  you do it? Was it black and oozy, smelly?  How did you keep it from getting inside you?

5. The healing only took about five minutes. Can such a thing be possible?

6. Any educated guesses about what the thirteen year old girl was suffering from?

Remember that her fingers twisted about on the palms of her hands as if she were looking for something. Her skin looked leathery—like dark processed meat. Her forehead was ashen grey and black. Her body was wasted away, all skin and bones.  Also she was reported to be mentally challenged as in possibly having a low IQ, as in “slow witted.”

7. I was told by one of my teachers that she seemed to be suffering from a condition of Wind-Heat. What is your hypothetical diagnosis?

You are not restricted to these suggested questions; but only replies that are pertinent to the healing will be published in future issues of Chinese Medical Living. I am looking forward to continuing the investigation of the TCM aspects of this case with your help. Email me at: john.voigt@comcast.net.

SOURCES USED

MUFON UFO Journal, December 2005, Number 452. “Chinese Schoolmaster Reports Flying Abduction and Healing by Proxy.”

https://issuu.com/disclosureproject/docs/mufon_ufo_journal_-_2005_12._decemb

外星人劫持北京人!電視台首次震撼曝光    “China Central Television (CCTV) Reveals for the First Time the Abduction of a Beijing Resident”

https://read01.com/4GN0dQ.html#.WZWofyMrJL8

Zhang Jingping. 曹公对领导说见过外星人吗 -

“Cao Gong told the leaders about aliens?” http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4ca903250102e6h6.html

Note: Most Chinese language sites can be translated into English (albeit not easy to read or fully understand) on such sites as https://translate.google.com/  For  Chrome browser users see https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/173424?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en-GB

Further Information About External Qi Therapy

External Qi Healing - Part 1

External Qi Healing - Part 2

John Voigt. “External Qi for Healing.”  Qi Journal, Vol. 24, No. 1: Spring 2014. http://www.qi-journal.com/store.asp?-token.S=qi&ItemID=D241&-Token.X=X

Yongsheng, Bi. Chinese Qigong Outgoing-Qi Therapy. Shandong Science and Technology Press, 1997; [text in English].

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The Strangest Energy Healing Ever Reported - Part 2

The Strangest Energy Healing Ever Reported - Part 3


External Qi Healing - Part 3

By John Voigt

**Disclaimer. This article is written for educational purposes only.  It is not offered for the healing of any serious illnesses. If a person is sick he or she must see a proper professional, in either (or both) western or traditional Chinese medicine.**

E - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.

Is it necessary to ask permission before doing a Sending?

Absolutely yes.  The practitioner must ask permission from the receiver before emanating qi.  To send without gaining approval is insulting, offensive and invasive.

Is it “your” qi that you are sending? Or does it come from somewhere else?

Well, yes and no to both questions.  At one level qi is the energy you have brought into your body by breathing and eating; and have built up and preserved through qigong practices, as well as by reducing or eliminating physical and emotional problems.  Additionally it is important to reduce or stop the loss of Jing (often thought of as being sperm or ovum, which is only partially true.)  Jing is better understood as being a highly perfected subtle energetic potentiality: in other words the essence of life.  So from this perspective, you are not the one sending your qi, but rather only being a conduit for a universal force that is flowing its jing-essence-qi down and through you.

The Chinese character for "Qi"

Where does this essence come from? Many healers cannot, or refuse to, answer that question.  Others simply say it comes from nature, or the sun, or the direction of certain stars.  There isn’t enough space here, nor do I have the wisdom, to explore this much further, except to point out that throughout the ages mystics when in visionary states perceive all and everything as a unity in a universal consciousness.  So much so that each of our individual consciousnesses appear as being joined together within a larger and more profound reality.  Personally I call this reality the Dao (Tao), but here definitions are not that important; rather it is about experiencing, manifesting and using this Power.  A number of quantum scientists have reached a similar understanding in believing that such things are beyond rational verbal definitions, but nevertheless do offer entrances into practical applications in the use of energy.  Likewise EQH offers practical applications in the use of Life Energy (Qi).  Whatever your specific beliefs, this more speculative approach offers possibilities to help prevent a basic problem in sending healing qi: the depletion of the healer’s personal qi.  It no longer is just “your” qi.  It comes from the outside and through you.  However, there are different schools of though about whose qi is it anyway.

Can Healing Energy be Sent from a Distance? 

Yes.  But the sender and recipient should agree on a specific time; and make sure the client understands that at that chosen time he or she is not to be driving a car, or using anything (machinery, tools, etc.), or doing anything where an accident could take place.  Once on the telephone just before doing a distance external qi healing, I half-joked to a client “not to be on a roof repairing leaks” – which was just what she was about to do!

This lovely image from thoughtco.com

About the Sending: How Often and for How Long?

Paul Dong offers this advice: Depending on the severity of the condition, a send is required every day or every other day.  Concerning the health of the healer he writes, the more internal qi you give out the weaker you become, therefore: “One to three healings a day are about the right number…  A young healer with strong power can do as many as six healings in one day… One session usually takes 10 or 15 to 20 minutes, or up to 30 minutes in more serious cases.  The first healing session for a new client should be no longer than 10 minutes.” [Paul Dong, Healing Force, pp. 84; 90-91].

This beautiful image from deborahking.com

How Long Does EQH Take to Learn? 

Two of the preeminent masters of External Qi offer slightly deferring suggestions: “People should at least go on doing Qigong exercises for 2 – 3 years in order to be able to emit the “external Qi” without doing any harm to his own health.” [Lin Housheng, p. 332].  By practicing [‘healing chi kung’] an hour a day, one can master it in nine months to a year.” [Paul Dong, p. 24].  Slowly and steadily practice your sending qi skills.  First send to qi sensitive family members and friends.  Then begin the healing practice with those afflicted with minor conditions such as a sprained ankle, a cold, a sore muscle, then slowly go to more serious conditions.  And never approach this as a silly party game; it’s unlikely, but people could get hurt that way.

Sure it seems to work sometimes but isn’t it just psychosomatic or a placebo?

To do controlled scientific experiments on the “validity” of EQH there would have to be Healing Qi Emissions done without a qi-energy component.  But that by definition would not an External Qi Send:  you cannot have a healing life energy transmission of qi without the qi.  Even if possible, if the psychological suggestions of EQH were removed then the qi energy and the information it contains would be compromised or blocked.  Nevertheless, the energetic components of qi have often been measured.  If interested see the scientific study done by Kevin Chen Ph.D. MPH, An Analytic Review of Studies on Measuring Effects of External Qi in China.  An abstract is available on the internet.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15285273

A personal anecdote about someone being unable to accept the validity of EQH. I am sure the reader will draw his or her own conclusions.  I was offering a qigong class at a local senior center.  No one came and I was about to leave when a middle-aged man entered who had great difficulty walking. We spoke and he told me his story: he was a Vietnam veteran who had gone through several operations for a war injury in his right hip and there had possibly been some botched surgeries.  He was in continual pain, but because he was frightened about becoming addicted he took no prescribed painkillers.  I offered to send him healing qi and he agreed.  As the qi was pouring through me into him, we both could feel it.  After a send of ten minutes I stopped.  He looked stunned.  I asked what was happening and how did he feel?  He answered that the pain was gone.  He continued to silently mull over the experience.  Finally he said to me, ”But what happened, that is only psychosomatic.” I was taken aback but answered him, “But it seemed to have worked.” He shrugged, and seemingly continued to do his best to reject what just had taken place.  I told him when I would again be at the senior center and if he wanted another send I would do it.  And at no cost—perhaps that was my biggest mistake—but whatever the case I never saw him again.  I deeply hope he is better.

There is another thing that causes many people to disregard and discredit External Qi Healings: the phony internet healers and quacks.  As a rule of thumb stay away from anyone who claims he or she can heal terminal illnesses, and who charges exorbitant fees for their services.  If a so-called healer has many cancer clients and all except a few die, the charlatan can point to ones who are still alive as proof of their healing “powers and abilities.”  In all of this both seller and buyer beware!

Isn’t it the same as Reiki or Therapeutic Touch? 

There are obvious similarities, but EQH comes from and uses Traditional Chinese Medical concepts of the inter-relationships of Energy-Body-Mind-Breath to bring about well-being.  Generally speaking in Reiki and Therapeutic Touch the practitioner touches the client, but in EQH generally this does not happen. Also unlike Therapeutic Touch, and other so called “Energy Healing”—and even much of contemporary Medical Qi Gong—EQH does not deal with Western medical belief systems, although many today, especially in China, are trying to scientifically justify EQH. (This is not necessarily a bad thing for it may lead to a better understanding and more productive use of this exciting healing modality.)

Conclusion. 

Remember there is a difference between healing and being healthy: there are situations where even the most accomplished energy healer cannot “cure” their patient; but with energy healing there is an opportunity of bringing someone who is terminally ill to a place of mental and spiritual health which can make the process of dying be no more than a passing from one sphere of existence to another higher one.

This beautiful image from spiritualunite.com

The author may be contacted at john.voigt@comcast.net

------------------------

F - Bibliography.

Bi Yongsheng. Chinese Qigong Outgoing-Qi Therapy. Shandong Science and Technology Press, 1997. https://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Qigong-Outgoing-Qi-Therapy-Yongsheng/dp/7533110412

Kevin Chen, Ph.D. MPH.  “An Analytic Review of Studies on Measuring Effects of External Qi in China” [abstract]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15285273

ibid. “A Criticism of Qigong with Pseudoscience Method--Book Review of Qigong: Chinese Medicine or Pseudoscience?https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242424421_A_Review_of_Lin_Zixin's_Book_Qigong_Chinese_Medicine_or_Pseudoscience

Paul Dong & Thomas Raffill. Empty Force: The Power of Chi for Self-Defense and Energy Healing. Blue Snake Books, 2006. https://books.google.com/books/about/Empty_Force.html?id=zHwoS80noVoC

Roger Jahnke. The Healing Promise of Qi. Contemporary Books, 2002. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Healing_Promise_of_Qi_Creating_Extra.html?id=Y3FcaF4V6AIC&source=kp_cover

Professor Jerry Alan Johnson.  The Secret Teachings of Chinese Energetic Medicine [in five volumes]. http://qi-encyclopedia.com/index.asp?author=Professor-Jerry-Alan-Johnson

Lin Housheng. 300 Questions on Qigong Exercises. Guangdong Science and Technology Press, 1994. https://www.amazon.com/300-Questions-Qigong-Exercises-Housheng/dp/7535912699

Shou-Yu Liang & Wen-Ching Wu. Qigong Empowerment. Way of the Dragon, 1997. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1889659029/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

Tianjun Liu, and Xiao Mei Qiang, editors. Chinese Medical Qigong. Singing Dragon. 2013. https://books.google.com/books/about/Chinese_Medical_Qigong.html?id=anlyarISmyAC

Bryn Orr. Wai Qi Liao Fa – Healing By External Qi Projection. VitalityLink Finder. http://www.vitalitylink.com/article-qi-gong-1132-wai-liao-healing-external-projection-energy

John Voigt. External Qi for Healing. Qi Journal, vol. 24/no.1, Spring 2014.  http://www.qi-journal.com/store.asp?-token.S=qi&ID=3187

Ibid. Taiji Qigong … Lin Housheng. https://www.qi-journal.com/Qigong.asp?Name=Taiji%20Qigong%20%E2%80%93%20Shibashi%20and%20Lin%20Housheng&-token.D=Article

Yijin Jing [see:]  “Muscle/Tendon Change Classic.”

http://www.egreenway.com/qigong/yijinjing.htm#Biblio

Zhan Zhuang [see:]  “Zhang Zhuang: Standing (like a wooden) Post.” Qi Journal vol. 23, no. 2:  Summer 2013.  Also Mark Cohen. “Zhan Zhuang.” Qi Journal vol. 23, no. 4:  Winter 2013-2014.

LINKS - YouTube

“New John Chang video.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aos0hnwiHt8

Sifu Kelly Kwan. “Qi Energy Projection - Chi (Qi) Healing 布氣.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9fGiPSBUUA

“Qi Gong Powerful Qi Emission.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVNvzZ24JmE


5 Ways To Cleanse Your Energy Field

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Everything is the universe is made of energy; from the planets to rocks, to human beings. Energy affects all of us, which is why it is a good idea to keep your personal energy field clean and free of negative influences and vibrations. For a healer, this is extremely important, so many healers have rituals that they perform to ready their energy for the healing session as well as cleansing their energy afterward. I know that before I see a patient before I even enter the room with them I make sure that I take a moment to clear my head, ground myself and set an intention for the session. After the session, I make sure to cleanse my energy so that I am not carrying any remnants of the previous person's energy to the next patient, as well it is a sort of recalibration, or reboot of your energy field so that you are starting fresh with each patient. For me, what ritual, meditation, intention or objects you may use are not as important as doing it in the first place. There are many, many ways that you can cleanse and restore balance to your energy field, you just need to find the one that is right for you.

I like using crystals and stones in my treatment room and sometimes with patients for healing specific issues and attracting certain energies to the space. I burn a lot of incense and sage, especially after a particularly intense or emotional session. I always make sure to wash my hands constantly throughout the treatment and certainly after each patient. I use Qi Gong regularly with patients (with their permission). I have salt lamps in my treatment room for cleansing and purification of energies and I like to use colours for activating certain chakras and building certain energies that will help in my treatments. Below are just a few things you can use to cleanse your energy field. Try them out and see which ones resonate with you.

Sage & Smudging

this lovely image from heyfranhey.com

Burning sage is one of my favourite ways to cleanse energy. This practice goes back to Native American tribes who would use it in various rituals and healing practices. The practice of burning sage or "smudging" was often used to cleanse the energy of a person, group of people, animal, living or workspace. Native American tribes would often smudge people as they entered a sacred space before a ritual or healing took place to make sure everyone's energies were clean, and they weren't bringing anything with them that was not pure and might negatively influence the ritual that was about to take place. The Latin word for sage is Salvia from the word Salvus meaning "to heal". Burning sage keeps a person and their environment energetically balanced. Other benefits of burning sage are said to be a heightened sense of spiritual awareness and intuition, wisdom, cleansing of energy and clarity. Burning sage is also an excellent thing to do after you have been around people who are depressed, emotionally unbalanced, sad, ill, mentally ill, angry or emotionally toxic. Burning sage can also help you when you are feeling any of the above as it acts to clear those energies and restore balance. The idea of how this practice works is that the smoke attaches itself to the negative energy, and as the smoke clears away it takes the energy with it.

An example of the many herbs that can be used to burn for smudging : This lovely image from alchemy-arts.com

There are many cultures around the world that have adopted burning sage and countless other burning rituals. You may use burn many different herbs depending on your purposes. Traditionally, the Native American tradition of burning sage uses white sage or desert sage. To smudge yourself, another person or an environment like your home or workspace, do a small meditation to clear your thoughts and make your intentions clear. Sage burning is a wonderful way to regularly keep your home or workspace clear of negative energies, and you will find that you will feel a tangible, positive difference in how you and the space around you feel afterward.

Himalayan Salt - Salt Lamps & Salt Baths

Pink Himalayan salt is not only beautiful but has amazing cleansing properties as well, both for the body and the spirit. There are many ways that you can use Himalayan salt to cleanse your energy of negativity; you can carry a piece with you as a sort of protection from taking on negative energies from the world and other people in your day to day life, you can put Himalayan salt lamps in your home or workspace. Salt crystals absorb water from the air. The small light bulb in the salt lamp dries the crystal and causes it to release healthy negative ions - which are abundant in natural, healing places like oceans, waterfalls, and the beach - into the air. Negative ions in the air attract particles of pollution giving them a negative charge causing them to seek an electrical "ground" making them fall harmlessly to the ground. Nature is constantly producing negative ions to combat pollution in the air, this is why the air after a lightning storm always feels so invigorating - lightning produces a high concentration of negative ions. Because an energy source is needed to create negative ions - like the heat from the bulb in a salt lamp, lightning in a storm, rise and fall of tides at the beach and friction and evaporation in a waterfall - carrying salt does not have the same powerful effect. Think of salt lamps as protective as well as cleansing energy.

Carrying salt, as well as bathing in salt baths are a great way to cleanse energy. A salt bath cleanses both body and spirit. These can be used once a week to once a month to cleanse any negative energies that may have accumulated. It is a good idea to shower and wash first, then give yourself some uninterrupted time and the intention of cleansing so you can completely relax and be mindful of what you are trying to achieve. Burning incense or candles, having crystals or listening to relaxing music can also enhance the experience. Do whatever makes you feel good. All of these things contribute to the beneficial effects of the bath and open you up to the universal energies that rebalance and heal us.

A Cleansing Meditation

this calming image from buddhaweekly.com

Meditation is something I talk about a lot and I think is really vital to our health and wellbeing. That said, I know it can be a bit intimidating for anyone who has never done it and feels that they might not know "how". My thought is that the "how" isn't as important as doing it in the first place. Just starting by clearing your mind (which is no easy task, I know), and in the case of cleansing, setting an intention or having an image in your mind is what you need. You can think about whatever represents cleansing or purifying to you... it could be a white light, fire, creating a barrier around yourself, whatever you feel is cleansing, you can do a little meditation where you visualize the process of this cleansing of your energies, and it should do the trick. When I am energetically cleansing a patient, I see myself pulling negative, sticky energy off of them, balling it up and tossing it away. In many cases, they can feel me pulling it off and feel much better and lighter afterward. After a treatment, I have many different techniques that I use to cleanse, but a short meditation before and after each patient to recalibrate myself and cleanse any energy that isn't my own is vital to being an effective practitioner and a healthy, happy person. Find something that feels right for you and experiment. You will eventually hone it to what is exactly what you need.

Grounding, Drawing Energy from Nature

this beautiful image from magazine.gow.asia

Another favourite of mine is to leave it to the power of mother nature to remove negative energy and revitalize your body, mind, and spirit. You can draw energy from the earth, the sun and all the flowers, plants and trees that have been soaking up and are now radiating that wonderful energy right into your person. A great way to absorb good energy from nature is to take off your shoes and just stand with your feet on the ground, in the grass or in the sand and soak up the earth's energy directly into your feet. You can reach up into the sky and absorb the sun's energy at the same time and complete the circuit, becoming a conduit for the power of the sun and the earth at the same time.

Because so many of us now are living in big cities and live in apartments or houses and work in buildings all day long, we get less and less time to be in nature which is the ultimate healer. There is nothing better to cleanse negative energy and boost positive feelings and thoughts than simply going for a walk in a forest, on a beach or along a path outside, breathing deeply and taking it in through all your senses. To some, this may sound a bit silly, but this connection to nature's healing power is something we have largely lost and I think is a huge contributor to our decreased health, happiness, and well-being as a species. Chinese medicine believes that a close relationship with nature is an integral part of health, and is a huge part of its system of preventative medicine. So, if you want to clear negative energy, rebalance, recharge and reconnect, go outside. Breathe deep. Take off your shoes. Lie in the grass. Climb a tree. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.

Move Your Body

this happy image from startupdope.com

One of the major causes of both pain and disease in Chinese medicine is energy that gets stuck, or stagnant. This can start energetically and eventually can manifest physically as well. A large part of these "stagnations" in the body are due to the fact that we have become so sedentary. Exercise is good for your body for many reasons, not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well. A great way to also get rid of negative or old and stuck energy is to simply move your body. You can do this any way you like. Go for a run. Do some yoga. Practice Qi Gong or Tai Chi. Go out dancing. Anything that moves you will increase circulation, and move energy inside your body as well as move old energy out to make room for new, good energy.


External Qi Healing - Part 2

By John Voigt

**Disclaimer. This article is written for educational purposes only.  It is not offered for the healing of any serious illnesses. If a person is sick he or she must see a proper professional, in either (or both) western or traditional Chinese medicine.**

C - The Sending. 

It is important to be relaxed, both physically, mentally and emotionally.  Never send healing qi if you are fatigued, sick, or mentally distressed; your client could become sicker, and possibly you could more easily infected with their illness.  Proceed in the following manner:

1)  Ground yourself, center, and connect to your sources of spiritual energy.  Breathe fully, softly, deeply.  Have a hint of a smile at the corners of the mouth.  Gently tighten the muscles in the perineum area.

2)  With your creative imagination, build an Energy Shield all around yourself to prevent the entry of any pathogenic qi.  Rub your hands together.  Stretch open your palms and wiggle your fingers.   

3)  Bend your knees and crouch down a little to better ground yourself and to increase, solidify and intensify the qi in your body.  Look directly at the area or areas on the client that you are about to send to (qi follows sight)  and form a “Tiger’s Claw” with your right hand.  The left hand is held by the left side.  [see picture].

4)  Send qi to the acupuncture points related to the condition.  Use your eyes as well as your hands to direct sharp pointed beams of radiant qi-energy.  As with acupuncture treatments, simultaneously send to as many points and places as the condition requires.  The healer’s “sent qi” will become the client’s “internal qi” and dissolve and drain out pathogenic elements.

5)  When engaged in a send it is proper to feel heat, especially in the hands, and even to heavily sweat.  But if you feel cold then stop.  Do a qigong closing form and try again at some future time.

Although there are many accepted places from which to emanate healing qi, the author prefers the acupuncture points Large Intestine-1 (Shangyang), Pericardium-8 (Laogong) and Pericardium-9 (Zhongchong).  The locations are LI-1 on the outer side of the index fingers just below the corner of the nail.  Pc-8 is on the palm approximately where the tip of the middle finger would touch when making a fist.  Pc-9 is at the center of the tip of the middle finger.  Generally the sending comes from the right hand, with the left hand functioning to release and drain noxious energy, but both hands can be used to send.  The hands could be stationary, but it is best to lead and guide the “good qi”  forward and move the bad qi out of the troubled areas.  This is done in pushing-pulling manipulations; or by waving, rotating, or quivering  motions. Good qi can be “screwed in” and bad qi can be “unscrewed” by moving the right hand in a clockwise motion, and the left hand counter-clockwise.  These are only suggestions: there are many other different well established methods to perform external energy healings.

Large Intestine 1 Acupuncture Point from A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman

The Pericardium Acupuncture Points Running Along The Inner Arm : Image from ITMonline.org

Scan-Snatch-Throw method to remove harmful qi. 

If the practitioner is skilled enough he or she may be able imaginatively to bring their hands into the client’s body and, as it were, scoop and pull out the polluted illness causing qi.  One of my teachers succinctly described this method as, “Scan-Snatch-Throw.”

Correcting Yin-Yang Imbalances. 

Health problems are often caused by imbalances of yang-heat and yin-cold.  This EQH treatment comes from VitalityLink Finder:  If a patient shows signs of excess heat or cold we are able to rebalance these energies through emitting wai qi [external energy] of the opposite quality.  This conforms to the TCM treatment principle of using cooling techniques on heat conditions and warming techniques on cold conditions.

To create warming energy, the therapist imagines drawing down the energy of the sun into the Dan Tien, a major energy centre below and behind the navel.  The energy then collects in the Dan Tien in the form of light and heat.  The therapist then draws the qi from the Dan Tien to the Laogong point (Pc 8) in the centre of the palms.  This qi is then emitted to the client.

To create cooling energy, the therapist imagines drawing cool earth energy up into the Yongquan (Ki 1) points on the soles of the feet.  The qi should then be mentally drawn up from the feet to the Laogong points in the palms.  Imagine cool wai qi forming on the palms only, and emit this qi to the client.  It is important not to imagine this cool energy anywhere else in your body as cold has a tendency to slow qi and blood flow. [ Wai Qi Liao Fa – Healing by External Qi Projection. http://www.vitalitylink.com/article-qi-gong-1132-wai-liao-healing-external-projection-energy

this image from lexicolatry.com

Sensations Experienced During Healing. 

When doing External Qi Healing both the sender and the client may feel tingling, itching, hot or cold or electrical pin-prick sensations. For the sender especially in the hands and in particular the palms and fingers.  The client may experience quivering in the problem areas.  Any of these sensations may also travel in the meridians, especially in the arms and legs—but more often this feels like numbing electrical currents.  These all are signs suggesting a healing may be taking place.

When the energy is being guided and moved by your mental intention to leave your fingers, palms, eyes—even from other parts of your body—you might actually see the qi.  From what teachers have told me, and including my own experiences, this often appears as a phosphorescent mist (interestingly the original meaning of qi was something like a “vaporous foggy mist”).  Or the qi may appear like a luminescent white cloud clustered around the hands, fingers, and especially the palms (laogong points).  This light may increase as your practice deepens and become something like a bright moon shining on a clear dark night.  During distance healings at night I twice saw rays of this phosphorescent qi substance running from my hands to the targeted subject.  At another sending, this time in the same room, the client saw it as resembling heat waves rising from a summer sunbaked highway.

D - After the Send. 

The healer might offer suggestions and instructions to the client in such things as meditation, qigong or tai chi exercises, or appropriate dietary changes and other lifestyle modifications.

After the client has left...

It is important to remove any unwanted qi you may have picked up during the send:

1.  Shake your hands as if you were shaking off dirty water; kick your feet front and back as it you had stepped in dog feces and you were cleaning it off your shoes.  It will be absorbed into the ground and function as compost.

2. Rub down the outsides and insides of your arms and again flick the “evil qi” from your hands.  If practical, jump up and down to further rid yourself of anything noxious.  This is all best done outdoors and in sunlight.    

3.  If the transmission took place at night (understanding sending during the day is best) stand and raise your arms up in front on the inhalation and back down on the exhalation.  When inhaling lift your heels. When exhaling lower your heels back to the ground.  The goal is to have the pathogenic elements flush out the soles of the feet and the tips of fingers.

4.  After washing and changing clothes, use inner (nèi dān) qigong-like meditations or visualizations:  From outside sources, which may range from flowers and trees to the sun,  gather external qi into yourself.  And if acceptable to the belief systems of you the healer,  gather in the energies of divine spiritual entities.  This is the time to do whatever is necessary to clean and recover your life force.

Sage Smudging : Image from  nari-gordon.livejournal.com


Cancer and Chinese Medicine - Part 2

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Nutrition - The Biggest Weapon Against Cancer

It is always amazing to me that patients receiving conventional treatments for cancer (chemotherapy and radiation) are given little to no information about what to eat. I know because I always ask if there was any nutritional counseling that went with the other therapies and more often than not, the answer is no. This shows an alarming lack of understanding about how important what we eat is to our health, and especially in the case of cancer.

I think that the correlation between what we eat and our overall health is understood by many industries, and certainly by many informed people, but the cancer industry (and I say that because it has turned into an industry), seems to be decades behind. Now, without getting into why that might be (which would be a whole other article), let's just say that there is a tonne of evidence to suggest that our food can both give us cancer and help keep us healthy so that we never get cancer. Food is also a powerful weapon in detoxing the body and healing from a cancer that already exists.

Foods to Avoid

Sugar

In my opinion, the number one thing to know concerning diet and cancer is to stop eating sugar. Completely. It is literally the food that cancer eats. The tests that Western medicine uses to find and diagnose cancer in the body, called PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans, actually inject glucose - a type of sugar - and watch the cancer gravitate to it because sugar is what cancer eats. Eliminating sugar from your diet is the most important thing to do if you are either struggling with cancer, or having health issues in general. Sugar is a poison to the body, and most people in the developed world eat far too much of it. Now, let me be clear, I am talking about refined sugar which is in a huge amount of our foods, especially processed foods. There are naturally occurring sugars in things like fruits, and although we need some of these, it is a good idea to cut back when you are trying to heal from cancer. Refined foods of all types should be avoided whenever possible, and refined sugar is the worst of all.

Chemicals

We also have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of chemicals used in our foods, many of which are untested on human beings and cause harm to not only us, but pollute the earth we live on, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Our food becomes more and more processed all the time with the addition of these dangerous chemicals, and our bodies are not designed to deal with them. There are also the dizzying amounts of chemicals in other products that we use in our homes, like makeup and personal care products, soaps and detergents, cleaning products, gardening products, etc.. not to mention toxic chemicals that are the byproducts of industries which are released into our soil, water and air.

It is a good idea BEFORE you get sick to have a look at how many of these chemicals you have in your home and are coming into contact with on a daily basis so that you can eliminate any that are not absolutely necessary. I would always recommend eating fresh, local, organic food (more about that below), using completely natural beauty and personal care products free of toxic ingredients, make sure the water you are drinking is as clean as possible and limit any environmental toxins that you can. All these toxins combine to place a huge burden on our immune systems which we need to be at full strength to keep us disease free.

Eat Real Food

Because of the philosophy of living as harmoniously with nature as possible, this obviously bleeds into the foods we consume as well. I believe that many of our current health problems as a society are due to the UN-natural nature of the foods that we eat. Small farms are disappearing and being replaced by large-scale factory farms, our soil is depleted of essential vitamins and nutrients, and men in hazmat suits spray toxic herbicides and fungicides on the foods we are supposed to confidently feed our families. It is becoming increasingly difficult to even understand food labels, and corporations spend billions of dollars to keep what is actually IN our foods off the labels, which is certainly a worrying trend and not designed to make us feel confident about what is being put into our food.

My solution is to keep it simple. Eat as few processed foods as possible (this means anything in a box or can that has been altered from its natural state), eat as many fresh, local and organic foods as possible. Keep your diet mostly plant-based, especially if you have cancer. If possible, grow as much of your food as you can in a backyard or front yard garden. Vertical gardens are awesome for this! If you have limited space or live in an apartment, make friends with a local farmer, or frequent a farmers market. Also, take time to lovingly prepare meals for you and your family. Energetically, this is important too. Be mindful and thankful to the food you are eating for sharing its life force with you. Being grateful is also a powerful tool and beneficial to your health and the way you feel.

Acid & Alkaline Foods

Disease thrives in an acidic environment and cancer is no exception. As a culture, we eat a disproportionate amount of acidic foods (as you will probably see the list below) and precious few alkaline ones. Use the information below as a guide and a good way to begin is to slowly start replacing acidic foods with alkaline ones. It may seem hard at first (because who doesn't love a burger every once in a while?), but you will soon notice how much better you will feel, as that you will no longer have the cravings for the fatty, sugary foods that are so acid forming once they have been out of your system for a while. I promise you will definitely feel a difference!

Acidic Foods

**Note - there are different ways to measure the acidity and alkalinity of foods, but this one - from Energise for Life - makes the distinction of measuring a foods acidity and alkalinity AFTER it has been ingested - therefore, how it is affecting your body. If you would like to have a copy of a good few charts detailing acid and alkaline foods, you can find them here - Energise For Life.

Below is a list of acidic foods. If dealing with cancer, cut out as many of these as possible (I would recommend ALL) and introduce alkaline foods as an alternative. Remember, cancer thrives in an acidic environment.

Acidic Foods

Look yummy? *sigh*, I know. But these foods are highly acidic. Try eating some cucumber instead!

MEAT

  • Bacon
  • Beef
  • Clams
  • Corned Beef
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Lobster
  • Mussels
  • Organ Meats
  • Venison
  • Fish
  • Oyster
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Sausage
  • Scallops
  • Shellfish
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Veal

DAIRY & EGGS

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Whey
  • Yogurt
  • Nuts & Seeds!
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Oils!
  • Cooked Oil
  • Solid Oil (Margarine)
  • Oil Exposed to Heat,
  • Light or Air
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Ice Cream
  • Sour Cream
  • Soy Cheese
  • Eggs

FRUIT

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tropical Fruits
  • Berries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Orange
  • Pineapple
  • Plum

NUTS & SEEDS

  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts

DRINKS

  • Alcohol
  • Black Tea
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated Water
  • Pasteurized Juice
  • Cocoa
  • Energy Drinks
  • Sports Drinks
  • Colas
  • Tap Water
  • Milk
  • Green Tea
  • Decaffeinated Drinks
  • Flavoured Water

SWEETENERS

  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Carob
  • Corn Syrup
  • Fructose
  • Processed Sugar
  • Saccharine
  • Sucrose
  • Sucralose
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup

OILS

  • Cooked Oil
  • Solid Oil (Margarine)
  • Oil Exposed to Heat,
  • Light or Air

SAUCES

  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Soy Sauce
  • Pickles
  • Vinegar
  • Tabasco
  • Tamari
  • Wasabi

OTHER

  • Mushrooms
  • Miso
  • White Breads, Pastas,
  • Rice & Noodles
  • Chocolate
  • Chips
  • Pizza
  • Biscuits
  • Cigarettes
  • Drugs
  • Candy

Alkaline Foods

Some super yummy alkaline foods. They look fresh, cleansing and delicious, don't they? ;)

VEGETABLES

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Chilli
  • Capsicum/Pepper
  • Courgette/Zucchini
  • Dandelion
  • Snow Peas
  • Green Beans
  • String Beans
  • Runner Beans
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Wakame
  • Kelp
  • Collards
  • Chives
  • Endive
  • Chard
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Potato
  • Coriander
  • Basil
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot
  • Beetroot
  • Eggplant/Aubergine
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Watercress
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Broad Beans
  • New Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish

FRUIT

  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Fresh Coconut

GRAINS & BEANS

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Brown Rice
  • Chia/Salba
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Nuts & Seeds!
  • Almonds
  • Coconut
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Oils!
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Flax Oil
  • Udo’s Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Red Beans
  • Soy Beans
  • White Beans

GRASSES

  • Wheatgrass
  • Barley Grass
  • Kamut Grass
  • Dog Grass
  • Shave Grass
  • Oat Grass

NUTS & SEEDS

  • Almonds
  • Coconut
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds

OILS

  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Flax Oil
  • Udo’s Oil
  • Olive Oil

BREADS

  • Sprouted Bread
  • Sprouted Wraps
  • Gluten/Yeast Free
  • Breads & Wraps

SPROUTS

  • Soy Sprouts
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Amaranth Sprouts
  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Fenugreek Sprouts
  • Kamut Sprouts
  • Mung Bean Sprouts
  • Qionoa Sprouts
  • Radish Sprouts
  • Spelt Sprouts

This comprehensive list of acid and alkaline foods came from a great chart I found from energiseforlife.com There is an 8 page PDF that you may download with more information which can be found here - Acid & Alkaline Food Information.

Water

Water is also something that I don't think people think about enough in terms of health. I think there is a misconception that if we are drinking bottled water and not water out of the tap that we are somehow safe from many pollutants that may be in our waterways and make their way into water processing plants. Unfortunately, this has been shown not to be true, and many bottled waters' are just as unhealthy as drinking straight out of the tap. If you must drink tap water, find out from your local city or town, what they are adding to it. Is there flouride in it? What levels of certain contaminants are acceptable as far as they are concerned? Do some research. If you have a water filtration system, again, do your research and get one that filters out as many undesirable chemicals as possible. Water is incredibly important for our health and it is worth the effort to be drinking the healthiest and cleanest water possible. The good news is, that there are many good water filtration systems out there that will allow you to enjoy clean, healthy water which is essential for a strong, healthy body.

Emotions

Expressing emotions freely is just as important to our health as a strong, flexible body.

I really feel that the emotions do not get enough attention or recognition for the role they play in our health. This is another area that seems often entirely left out of the diagnostic as well as the healing process in Western medicine. In Chinese medicine, the emotions are just as important as what is physically happening in our bodies. The two are inseparable and when someone is going through the intake process with a doctor of Chinese medicine, there are a lot of questions inquiring about a person's emotional life. You may be wondering how much of a role the emotions can play in a disease as devastating as cancer. My answer is - a HUGE one.

In my experience with my own cancer patients, the emotions are often where it starts. Complex and serious diseases often begin with extremely stressful, difficult, and emotionally devastating events that the body is simply not able to cope with. Preceding almost every case of serious disease I have treated, there was either one or a series of extremely stressful/emotional or difficult events that the patient had to contend with. I have made this observation over and over again. The body can handle a lot, but it has its limits, and the way we live along with the pressures and stresses we are under often are too much for our bodies and psyches to bear which can result in disease and illness.

In terms of how this relates to the emotions I want to be clear, it is not HAVING emotions that can make us sick, in Chinese medicine, it is how we deal with our emotions that is the key. In modern culture, at least in North America, we are not taught what I like to call "emotional intelligence". We spend decades in school learning how to live in this world, but I find that so many of the most important things that we need to be healthy and happy in our lives are missing. How to express our emotions in a healthy way is one of them. This expression is important not only to our health but to our happiness and well-being as well. So often our emotions can come out in hurtful or destructive ways to ourselves or the people around us, or worse, they are held in where they fester and eventually turn into disease. So, find healthy ways to express the emotions you are having. Write, talk to a friend, acknowledge them, process them in a healthy way and let them go. They are taking up precious space, that, once they are dealt with and let go, can be replaced with lovely things like love and light, happiness and feelings of joy and gratitude.

Managing Stress

Stress is something we hear about a lot and I believe is also a huge factor is our health and well-being. Stress is something I ask every single patient about both in our initial consultation, and at almost every visit. I give it a one to ten scale and ask patients to rate where their stress is in relation to that scale. Most people are at the top end, and many have become resigned to living there. Stress is difficult to avoid, but what we do have control over is how we deal with it. Managing the stress we are feeling is the key, not eliminating it altogether. I am not even sure if that is possible considering the world we live in. I have seen patients doing everything right - eating the right foods, exercising, sleeping enough, really taking care of themselves and still they get sick. Those cases very often lead back to stress. You can't work hard to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle but be in an unhealthy relationship that is driving you crazy or going to a job that you hate every day and still expect to be the picture of health. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work like that. In Chinese medicine, as in life, it is all about balance.

One of my keys to managing stress is meditating. Now the thought of meditating can be intimidating for some people and I understand that. This doesn't mean having to give up all your worldly possessions, shaving your head and going to live in a cave in the Himalayas. That is totally cool if that is how you want to do it, but what I am talking about for the rest of us is just taking some time for yourself every day to sit quietly and try to empty your thoughts. In our hectic, modern lives, we hardly ever get a chance to do this. Stop. Listen. Relax. Breathe deeply. Meditating is like a gift you give yourself. It benefits your brain, your nervous system, your heart and your psyche. Think of it as preventative medicine. I think we all need to start thinking about medicine and health differently and Chinese medicine can teach us how to do it. Do small things every day. Tend your garden (the body and spirit), and disease will never develop. Disease cannot thrive in a healthy garden.

If you would like to read about a bit of a hardcore immersion into meditation (and the amazing benefits that it yielded) you can read about my two intense Vipassana meditation retreat experiences. They are not quite the shaving your head and disappearing into the Himalayas, but they were definitely the most intense meditation experiences I have ever had. They were also the most edifying and positively life-changing experiences of my life.