Meditation for Health, Happiness & Wellbeing

By Emma Suttie D.Ac, AP

For thousands of years cultures around the world have known about the benefits of meditation and have woven the practice into their daily lives. Meditation is not just a way to relax or clear your mind, it has been used for millennia to raise consciousness and connect us with the divine.

Meditation for many of us has become a sort of buzz word. Meditation is touted as a way to help you relax, get better sleep, lower stress and improve mental functions. And while meditation does all of those things, they are just a few of its wonderful byproducts. If you look at the complete picture of what meditation is and what it was originally intended for, the benefits of meditation go much deeper. A devoted practice can help not only feed the physical as well as the psychological aspects of ourselves, but can also connect you to your spirit, fostering self awareness, and filling you with feelings of compassion and loving kindness. When some are in a deep state of meditation, they are able to activate the pineal gland (also known as the third eye) - a small pine cone shaped gland that sits in the centre of the brain - and is thought by many cultures to be the doorway that leads from the physical to the spiritual worlds. The pineal gland is extremely sensitive to light, and this is why in many ancient cultures, serious meditators have always engaged in long periods of meditation in complete darkness. This darkness activates the pineal gland and allows humans to traverse from the physical to the spiritual worlds and gain insights into the nature of life and the cosmos as well as connect with the universal energy (of which we are all a part). These experiences remove the body and the ego completely and allow a person to shed their worldly trappings and feel what it is like to be in complete oneness. This has been described by some as what it is like when we "die", leaving our bodies and returning to source energy.

Science & Spirituality

It is only in our recent history that science and spirituality have been broken into two separate entities. They used to be considered part of the whole of things - the macrocosm, neither being able to exist without the other. But things started to change - subjects were broken apart and people began to specialize, meaning it became more difficult for anyone to see the whole picture. With the world as it is now, with its focus on science, it is difficult to accept that science and spirituality were at one time inseparable. Many ancient cultures had a holistic view of life and the cosmos, and their lives were part of a vast web that included all of nature and indeed, everything in existence. As a species we have become so identified with our minds and especially our thoughts, that this connection to the whole, of all there is, has largely been lost. We have slowly separated ourselves from the world that we came out of and have become more and more identified with our thoughts - one tiny aspect of who we are.

Impermanence - Anicca

Ancient cultures around the world realized what to us living in the modern world seem to have forgotten - that life is a microcosm of the universe itself, and is in a constant state of change. The only constant is change itself. This is what the Buddhists call "anicca" which literally means impermanence. This knowledge did not cause worry or fear as it might today, but a sense of calm and peace, the acceptance of the way things are, and that everything rises and passes away in an unending cycle. As a culture, we are taught to yearn for things or experiences that are desirable or cause us to feel pleasure, and to avoid painful or negative experiences. The acceptance of anicca in ones life is actually quite liberating. Instead of spending energy craving or avoiding things, you just accept everything as it comes, not judging it to be good or bad but simply allowing it to happen and then, inevitably, to pass away into the ether.

The Benefits of Meditation in Modern Life

The benefits of meditation are particularly compelling and needed at this time in our history. Many people live more unnaturally than they ever have, working long hours in offices in front of computers, living in huge buildings alone in tiny apartments, eating at their desks, consuming foods that are processed and made in factories, not getting enough sleep, spending little to no time outside and always in a hurry. Does this sound familiar? If this is not you, then you are fortunate, but it is the life that many of us have - often out of necessity. We also have problems like violence, addictive behaviours, mental illnesses and suicide in unprecedented numbers. Our modern lives, and the fast pace at which we live them, have caused us to lose the connection to ourselves and to others. So many of us are sick, sad and lonely and struggling to live lives with the most basic of necessities. Also, for the first time in a long time, life is not getting better for each subsequent generation, it is getting harder. The political, and economic landscape has become divisive, corrupt and many people are losing faith in their ability to live a happy, fulfilling life.

The gift that meditation can give you is a chance to slow down. It is amazing all the sounds you can hear in the silence. It is amazing what happens when you slow down and LISTEN. Going outside and sitting in the grass quietly, you will begin to hear that nature has a hum that you have never heard before. It is communicating with you, it has always been communicating with you, but you have never been able to hear it. The natural world speaks a language that we have all known since the dawn of time, but our lives - the way we are living our lives - are drowning it out and we have slowly forgotten it.

Our fast paced, hectic lives take a toll on us on many levels. Physically they exhaust our adrenal glands (the glands that sit on top of our kidneys and manage our fight or flight responses to perceived threats or danger). Due to the high levels of stimulus constantly coming at us, our nervous systems are overworked and easily become exhausted leaving us feeling frazzled and anxious. Many of us are overworked and under-slept not giving our bodies time to heal, relax and play that they desperately need. Some may need to work more to pay off debts, school loans or support families, parents or grandparents. It has become increasingly difficult to live a balanced life in an unbalanced world. With the widening gap between rich and poor, life for many is getting harder and not easier putting even more stress on us individually and as a species.

With this constant focus on the external world, which is where we must focus at least some of our energies if we are to survive, there is little time to look inward and cultivate our inner worlds. This includes the cultivation of our spirit which contributes to our health and wellbeing. It also allows us to remove ourselves from the world of the physical, detach from our ego's and reconnect with the one universal energy.

Meditation & Health

Meditation is something I recommend to all my patients. In my opinion, there is not a single person that would not benefit from meditating regularly. It does not require any expensive equipment, any in depth knowledge or adherence to a specific set of beliefs or a level of physical fitness. All you need is the desire and a little time.

I usually recommend starting slowly to help get your body and mind into the habit. It can be overwhelming at first and many experience what can be quite an intense "monkey mind". That is the mind racing from one thought to another and never seeming to quiet down. This is normal. If you think about it, we rarely simply allow our minds to wander - letting them move from one thought to another without pulling them in one particular direction. We are constantly tasking them with specific things, forcing them to focus and never really allowing them to relax and for our thoughts to meander as they like. So, when you begin, your mind tends to sort of freak out, having never been allowed to run free before, it runs wild and in all directions at once. I find that starting slowly helps, and after a few days or sometimes weeks, your mind starts to quiet down. There are many, many meditation techniques out there, and if you like, you can find one that resonates with you, but for the beginning I simply tell patients to get to a point where your mind is quiet. Once there, focus on your breathing and the physical sensations on the body. Just observing them. The wind hitting a spot on your arm. The breath as it enters your nose. The smell of a flower growing just outside an open window. The mind will inevitably wander, but you must not get frustrated, you simply kindly and gently bring yourself back to the breath. Twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening is ideal and you will find that just this small thing will have a positive effect that will ripple through your entire life.

Meditation Benefits

There are numerous benefits to maintaining an ongoing meditation practice for body, mind and spirit. They are:

  • Improves memory, concentration and clear thinking
  • Improves quality and quantity of sleep
  • Decreases anxiety and stress
  • Builds a sense of wellbeing
  • Deepens our sense of compassion and insight
  • Nurtures a sense of joy, peace and love
  • Helps to build connections within ourselves and with others
  • Helps us to process and manage our emotions
  • Cultivates personal growth and self discovery
  • Helps to connect us to our inner selves
  • Separates us from the ego and helps us to connect to source or universal energy

Beginners Meditation Tips

  • Start Slowly - Just 10 Minutes at a Time is Great
  • Find Time Everyday - Preferably Morning, Evening or Both
  • Find a Comfortable Seated Position
  • Be in a Room with No distractions - Clean & Quiet with Good Energy
  • Expect Your Thoughts to Run Wild at First - They Will Calm Down with Time
  • Focus on Your Breath - Whatever Thoughts Enter Your Head, Just Gently Return to the Breath
  • Be Kind to Yourself - It Takes Time!

A Guided Meditation for Beginners (4 Videos)

There are almost limitless meditations and techniques, and I encourage any of you that are new to meditation to try things out and find something that resonates with you. Here is a nice guided meditation with some information and good instruction that you can check out on our YouTube channel, I will embed them below. Feel free in the comments to let me know what you think. :)

Samadhi - Guided Meditation - Chinese Medicine Living YouTube Channel

Meditation Gear

The great thing about meditation is you really don't need any "gear" at all. All you really need is a quiet place and, if possible, something soft to sit on so your bum and legs don't hurt. But, if you want to get more serious, then creating a lovely, peaceful space where you can meditate and having a few things can help get you into the right head and body space to do some serious meditating. I would say that having a dedicated space for meditating is wonderful if you can do it. The thinking is that every time you meditate in that space, you are building up the good energy there and it will help you slip into your meditations more easily. If you don't believe me, try it. Once you have been meditating in a space for a while you will literally be able to feel how powerful the energy is there. And it doesn't have to be big, all you really need is enough room to sit down and cross your legs.

Seated on my SPOKO meditation bench.
There are many ways to sit in meditation, you just have to find the one that is comfortable for you. 

Another thing that is nice to have is a meditation cushion, or bench to sit on for your meditation practice. There are a wide variety of both, and which kind you choose is really about your own personal preference. I have a few cushions of different styles that I love as well as this beautiful meditation bench which I have featured in this article. Now, I have used a few types of meditation benches which are originally what the Japanese use to meditate, and all of them were pretty uncomfortable, especially for long meditations. But, this particular bench was ergonomically designed and is actually incredibly comfortable - and beautiful to boot. It is called the Spoko meditation bench made by a lovely company in Canada. I love this bench as it is comfortable, beautiful and very portable for impromptu outside meditations. The legs come off so it is very easy to throw into a backpack if you are doing something like hiking up to a waterfall or walking in a forest and find a place you would like to stop and meditate to soak up the nature vibes.

If you would like to read my review of this sassy bench you can here - Spoko Meditation Bench Review.

Meditation for Everyone

In conclusion, I think it is exciting that meditation is getting so much positive attention these days. Scientists are now beginning to be able to prove its positive effects on the brain and body, and many cultures have known its benefits on all aspects of our beings for centuries. Even though I am a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I always stay open to all possibilities that can bring healing to us on any and all levels. Meditation, for me, has been one of the best healing tools that I have discovered. Like anything, there are layers to it and it depends on what you goal is when you begin, but I have found that one of the best things about meditation is that when you spend time in the silence, there is a unique opportunity to delve deeply into yourself, and that if you are willing to listen, this is where the answers to all the questions that you have ever asked lie. It has been a reminder that inside us is everything that we have ever needed to be healthy, happy and divine beings.

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End Notes

Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana meditation is approximately 2500 years old and is thought to be the meditation taught by the Buddha himself. If you would like to learn more about Vipassana meditation, you can read about the two 10 day silent Vipassana retreats that I have done here - My 10 Day Vipassana Meditation and Vipassana 2.0. There is also an excellent documentary about Vipassana meditation that I would highly recommend called The Dhamma Brothers.

In this article, I have featured the SPOKO meditation bench. If you would like to read the review, you may do so here - Spoko Meditation Bench Review. If you would like to have one of your very own, you may purchase it here - SPOKO.ca

The wonderful guided meditation is from The Samadhi Center via the AwakenTheWorldFilm YouTube Channel. Thank you for your awesomeness!

There is an excellent series of four videos called Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds. They cover a huge range of topics, but are a must see for everyone! There is quite a bit on meditation as well so check them out, I highly recommend them. :)

You can watch all four parts on the Chinese Medicine Living YouTube Channel.

Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds

Part One - Akasha
Part Two - The Spiral
Part Three - The Serpent And The Lotus
Part Four -  Beyond Thinking

The beautiful featured image Photo by Sarah Ball on Unsplash. Thank you!


Quote of the Month

Maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has appeared is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty or forging weapons after the war has already begun.

~ Huang Di Nei Jing

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This breathtaking photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash


The Strangest Energy Healing Ever Reported - Part Three

By John Voigt

In Parts One and Two the curious and apparently true story of a healing aboard a UFO sixty miles from Beijing was summarized. Extraterrestrials showed a school principle how to send superconducting healing qi-energy into a sick girl; in minutes she was healed. In Part Three our analysis continues.

Note: Given the negative excesses of skeptics who would attack their professional careers, the names of the people who personally helped the author, or sent him their insights into this case, are not given. Many skeptics claiming that science is on their side, most curiously reject the reality of all things paranormal without giving any serious investigations of the known facts; they “just know” that such things are too weird to be.  This of course is the height of unscientific ignorance. We also see this in the way the establishment often rejects aspects of TCM that have proven themselves for thousands of years. Check out Wikipedia, the mega-encyclopedia of our times. In their “Traditional Chinese Medicine” entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Chinese_medicine the term “pseudoscience” is found thirteen times. In the beginning of their “Acupuncture” entry we read,  “TCM theory and practice are not based upon scientific knowledge, and acupuncture is a pseudoscience.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture

Girl’s Symptoms - Possible illness caused by Wind-Heat.

According to the Yellow Emperor’s Suwen, Kidney Wind manifests as excess sweating and aversion to Wind. When diagnosing, one should look for a dark black color and hue in the flesh. There is also a dull gray cast to the face and swelling of the eyes; and the face may even have a charcoal hue color. This is exactly how the young girl first looked.

Note: For further information see: “The Concept of Wind in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The Big Hammer

A key operation in the healing was the Extraterrestrial striking Cao Gong’s “Big Hammer” acupuncture point [the Governing Vessel-14, the  Dachui xue, 大椎穴] and sending into him what the ET called, “cosmic light, electricity and magnetic energy.” Cao Gong (an alias) struck the girl, Xiao Xiaomei (also an alias) on her GV-14 point for about five minutes to effect the healing.

From The Acupuncture Point Book, by Colleen DeLaney, L.Ac.  David Bruce Leonard, L.Ac.  Lancelot Kitsch, Esq.  Roast Duck Publications, 1989.

DU 14 "Big Vertebra" 大椎 Dàzhuī

Intersection of all Yang meridians.
LOCATION: Below the spinous process of C7, approximately at the level of the shoulders. "Zhui" is also a term for hammer. The vertebrae are said to resemble hammers.

FUNCTIONS

  • Relieves Exterior Conditions
  • Opens the Yang
  • Clears the Brain & Calms the Spirit
  • Causes Sweat, Clears Heat, Fire, & Summer Heat, Dispels Wind & Cold, Moves Qi & Yang,
  • Reduces Fever, Regulates Qi, Relaxes Tendons, Restores Collapsed Yin, Tonifies Wei Qi

INDICATIONS

  • asthma
  • blood diseases
  • bronchitis
  • Cold-induced diseases
  • congested throat
  • constricted feeling in chest & soreness in ribs
  • cough
  • eczema
  • emphysema
  • fever
  • fever & chills
  • heatstroke
  • hemiplegia
  • hepatitis
  • hot sensation in bones with recurrent fever (associated with deficient Yin conditions)
  • malaria
  • pain in the back of the shoulder
  • psychosis (good point)
  • pulmonary tuberculosis
  • seizures (good point)
  • tidal fevers

NEEDLING: Obliquely upward 0.5 - 1.0 cun.
PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL USES: neurasthenia.
POINT COMBINATIONS:
ANCIENT USES:
OTHER: All the Yang Channels cross this point. Main point for high fever. Main point for malaria. fainting/ heat stroke; helps relieve toxicity—hot blood diseases, skin problems.

From a reader: Although the Big Hammer is the major collection point in the back for the gathering of Yang Qi (opposite from the Heaven’s Chimney located at the base of the throat for the gathering of Yin Qi), this area is also the center axes point for the "Back Bridge Bar" (the area located in-between the shoulders that energetically connects both arms together).  This area is an extremely important place for transferring Qi.

I suspect that when the ET slapped Cao Gong’s Big Hammer that he simultaneously activated Cao Gong’s arms via the Back Bridge Bar, and also increased his capacity to store and maintain additional healing light within his body.

From a reader: If a Qigong Master was emitting strong Qi into the patient's GV-14 (i.e., the "Big Hammer,” where all of the Yang Channels converge), that specific point is often used to remove Wind Heat (and Wind Cold), which can sometimes cause tremors and even epilepsy, depending on the patient’s excess or deficient constitution.

TALISMANS

Remember that as part of the  healing treatment the female extraterrestrial had the young girl stand on a diagram on the floor.  I suggest that this was a talisman, or at least functioned as one.

The Chinese word for talisman is  Fu - . Originally it meant “correspondence” [between the forces of the Heavens and Nature and the creator and owner of the drawn symbol.] Now the word means amulet, protective written charm, symbolic sign.

In modern times you don’t see much about talismans in TCM books or teaching syllabuses. Nevertheless many Daoist priests, and other spiritual healers,  then and now did use and still use these ritualistic symbols to communicate  with the heavenly spirit world and with the energetic forces of nature to cure illness. Starting an hour's drive out from any metropolis in Mainland China, and everywhere in Taiwan, you  see them everywhere—but it should be clearly understood that unless created by one who is fully schooled in their meanings and in how to draw them, they are no more than art objects. I admonish any reader who without the needed extensive training not attempt to create a power talisman—for that you need a very wise, experienced and proficient person. Inadvertently an ignorant person (and most of us are certainly that in this area) may call down upon themselves and their clients  the exact opposite of what they are seeking to accomplish. Talismans can mysteriously bring evil and sickness as well as good and wellbeing.

In lieu of that I was able to gain the following from a Chinese Daoist master knowledgeable in the use of healing talismans. This master asked that their name be withheld.

I am assuming that the patient [is] the young Chinese girl in the picture. In her particular condition - after the treatment (having successfully purged the Wind-Heat, and Tonified all of her internal organ deficiencies), I would then provide her with the following Talisman used to strengthen her Five Yin Organs, and rebuild her constitution: 

Draw the following Healing Talisman on yellow paper with black ink, add the patient’s name and Four Pillars to the talisman (her birth year, month, day, and hour) at the center of the bottom hill, then at the bottom that - dedicate the talisman to the healing power of Taishang Laojun.

Daode Tianzun (道德天尊) is the official title of Taiqing (太清): the Grand Pure One.
Commonly known as Taishang Laojun (太上老君) "The Grand Supreme Elderly Lord." Source: Wikipedia.

While doing this [dedication] draw a Talisman Gall Bladder; i.e., a black ball and fill it with clockwise circling ink while speaking a healing incantation dedicated to quickly bringing healing Qi into the patient’s three San Bao bodies: physical-jing, energetic-qi, mental-shen.

Next “ Activate" the Talisman: First place a Three-Star Seal at the top of the talisman, representing the Celestial Power  and Divine Authority of the Three Pure Ones (this top image looks like the out-stretched wings of 3 seagulls : side-by-side). 

Second exhale your Daoist Priest Lineage Name into the talisman paper, and then place the official Daoist monastery chop seal in red ink in the center of the talisman. 

Third place the talisman inside the Altar Incense, and swirl it clockwise nine times while repeating the talisman’s specific energetic function. 

Right after that, light the talisman in the left red candle of the altar table, 

then place the ashes into a small cup.

Add some water and stir it with a wooden chop stick while again repeating a healing talisman. 

After that - give the talisman water to the patient to drink.

As the patient drinks the talisman water, 

repeat the following Incantation “An - Lam” “An - Lam” “An - Lam” while she swallows it.

This is done in order to purify the way and to quickly release the imprinted energy currently inserted inside the talisman water.

ENDNOTES

About Cao Gong: “his great-grand father was a wizard, who healed people, and refused payments. The Emperor gave the wizard a wood plaque that thanked and honored him.” [Cao Gong is] skilled in Bone Massage inherited from his Buddhist family. Soon after the abduction he practiced such healing practices on several of China’s leading political figures. Certain sources say that he was a member of a  governmental advisory group, the CPPCC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_People%27s_Political_Consultative_Conference

Cao Gong strapped to a lie detector

Professor Sun Shili, the renowned  director of the Beijing UFO Research  Association, made the following comments:   “As for Cao Gong, the figure at the  center of this incident, we first checked  his personality traits and discovered that  he is a man dedicated to public welfare.   “Those that know him all admit that  he is a respectable man of upright behavior, thus ruling out personality traits  where he would willfully fabricate lies.”   MUFON https://issuu.com/disclosureproject/docs/mufon_ufo_journal_-_2005_12._decemb

For more information about him see: http://it.sohu.com/20070129/n247899406.shtml .

Talismans

Sun Simiao (C.E. 581-682) was called China's “King of Medicine.”  He wrote that the treatment of disease must include chanting the names of a particular Healing Spirit while tracing its esoteric Seal and Magic Talisman on yellow paper. The paper was then burnt and its ashes mixed with the appropriate herbs and swallowed by the patient, or applied topically to heal a wound.

Sun Simiao China's King of Medicine. Source - By Unknown - 清宫殿藏画本. 北京: 故宫博物馆出版社. 1994., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57203315

Stunning modern art Talismans (and a short essay) may be found at http://marlowbrooks.com/chinese-healing-talismans/#

Japanese UFO story.

Hidden within medieval Japanese mythology there is a story that synchronistically relates to our case, and strangely enough perhaps might even help us better to understand it.  Many of the same images appear in it that we find in the Beijing Abduction: a UFO looking craft  with a thirteen-year old Chinese girl aboard, a strange box (containing Ban Jiang Can, a medicine for Wind-Heat conditions), a Talisman looking diagram, an undefinable cup (remember the metal bottles at Xiao Xiaomei’s feet). But I admit this is more the stuff of fantasy stories than medical research.

Utsuro-bune ("Hollow-craft") painted in the mid-1800s.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utsuro-bune\

Last ET Comment: Thank you for your cooperation. 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 the qi and transmit it to the girl.

Here we have something I wish all TCM healers could experience and enjoy: Being a conduit to harmonize and transmit energies to successfully aid in the healing of our clients, (minus of course the “healing energies…too intense”).

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


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


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.

 


Happy Fun Qi Gong - Part 1

**This article originally appeared as "Happy Fun Qigong."Qi JournalVol. 25, No 3, Autumn 2015.**

By John Voigt

The Body Heals With Play. The Mind Heals With Laughter. The Spirit Heals With Joy.

— Chinese Proverb

Qi Gong for Health : Chinese Medicine Livingthis adorable image from fanpop.com

Introduction

The goal of my qigong teachings is to have people experience and enjoy the benefits of qi-energy. Depending on the group’s potential for playfulness, I usually interject various Happy Fun Qigong gymnastics and visualizations to liven up the sessions. Several of these are described below.

Preparation

GROUND – CENTER – RISE UP – SMILE

Grounding. I tell the group to feel the gravity of Mother Earth grounding and supporting us, connecting us to her. Together we visualize roots growing down from our feet deeply into the earth and drawing up its nourishing yin energy.

Centering. We breathe down into our lower belly, the body’s center of gravity. We do this nice and easy, slowly, deeply, silently.

Rising up. Keeping our heads straight, and chins slightly tucked in, we straighten our backs and remaining rooted to the earth and breathing calmly and deeply, we feel our head, neck, and upper shoulders rise up toward the heavens. I say things like, “Feel the strength filled yang energy of the sun and stars enter you and protect you.”

Smile enigmatically like the Mona Lisa.

Qi Gong for Health : Chinese Medicine Livingthis image of the Mona Lisa from the Wikipedia commons

Doing this secures and increases all we have just experienced from Grounding-Centering-Rising up.

This entire procedure only takes a few minutes to do. It cleans and increases the amount of qi throughout the body and brings about the sensations of our being interconnected with the entire universe.

Experiencing (Self) Love.

You can not fully love others until you have first learned to love yourself. I tell the group. “Close your eyes and look inside yourself at your heart. Have it be in the center of your upper chest, in about the location the heart chakra of the yogis. Have it be a happy smiling heart. Silently tell it, I love you.

Have it look back at you and imagine hearing it say, I love you too.” Repeat this several times.

Doing this visualization usually produces a flood of warm loving qi that flows out from the Heart and fills the entire body. I call it “Qi with a Love Spin.” This experience is absolutely wonderful. You can see the love-qi radiating from the faces of those experiencing it.

If the group is advanced, I might ask them fill the space around all of us with this radiating love energy. The participants can now freely move around in it, improvising their own spontaneous qigong forms by themselves, or with other members of the group.

Let’s Wake Up (or) Slapping the Sleepy Walrus.

Qi Gong for Health : Chinese Medicine LivingThis lovely photo from Pixdaus, photo by Fredrik Odman

Many people come to qigong sessions wanting to gain a quick energetic wake me up, or pick me up. Raising my left eyebrow, and putting on a trickster expression I ask, Who wants a jolt of wake up super qi? And is it okay if I touch you? (with such intimate work the director should always ask permission to touch, or to send qi to anyone.) It won’t hurt much, just a little bit — (that captures their attention every time). I go to the ones who bravely volunteered and ask if they have any health issues, especially in their upper body and or heart. If they are physically fit, I quickly and sharply slap the sides of their shoulders once — not too hard, but hard enough for them to feel it.

This immediately gets the qi flowing and wakes them up. Then I offer the same to anyone who wants it. Usually, I have some takers. I might explain that most problems happen because qi (or life energy) is blocked and qigong can open up these blockages. I ask the slapped ones if they feel the qi moving in them now? They usually do. Or at least they feel something that could be called qi, or at least a manifestation of qi.

Lubricating the Joints.

I begin this gymnastic by asking the group to, “Wiggle your fingers, then squeeze them hard around an imaginary tennis ball. Now wiggle them again.” After they have done this several times I tell them, “Now have your wiggling fingers turn into the hands of a concert piano virtuoso, with fingers, hands, arms and hair wildly swinging all over the place — like Franz Liszt the 19th-century romantic era genius superstar composer and concert pianist. Then comes, “Now turn your piano fingers into spider fingers; then into two crazy racing centipedes.”

This practice opens the six energy meridians (which begin or end in each of the fingertips), the Lung, Large Intestine, Pericardium, Triple Burner, Heart, and Small Intestine. Five more meridians begin or end in the toes and one more on the bottoms of the feet. So in addition to the hands, possibly wiggle, squeeze and shake the feet and toes.

Another Happy Fun joint lubrication is Hip Rotations—I also call them Hula Hoops. It is a version of a Hawaiian religious dance that smooths out and increases what the Kahunas, or priests, called mana—a combination of qi energy mixed with muscular strength.

Doing the Hula Hoops releases our hidden inner child as it tones the abdominal muscles and lubricates the joints in the hips and upper thigh bones. We don’t actually use physical hula hoops, although I have seen qigong done that way. We Hula Hoopers by the White just rotate our hips in circles, first one way then the other. Keep the back straight, but not stiff, with the hands on the hips or wherever else they feel good to be. And remember the basic rule of Happy Fun Qigong: if it feels good to do then do it. If it does not feel good, STOP!

More Happy Fun Gymnastics.

Qi Gong for Health & Happiness : Chinese Medicine LivingThis joyful image from vineyardchurch.com

These gymnastics are not necessarily meant to be done all in one session. Instead, they are like possible selections on a menu from which a qigong presenter may pick and choose. For maximum benefits, movements should be performed slowly with deep, silent and consciously aware breathing.

These gymnastics are not necessarily meant to be done all in one session. Instead, they are like possible selections on a menu from which a qigong presenter may pick and choose. For maximum benefits, movements should be performed slowly with deep, silent and consciously aware breathing.

Going in the opposite direction qigong, or Freeing Our Inner Grumpy-Grouch.

I tell the group something like this, “Let’s do qigong the Wrong Way! That way we’ll all see how this qigong stuff works."

Anyone with health, breathing or heart issues should just watch this from the sidelines. Now get the meanest frown that you can get and stick it on your face. Crunch over so you can hardly breathe. Now complain about anything, everything. ‘The world is going to hell in a hand basket. I’ve never seen it so bad. Everything is so yucky.’ If you people don’t know what words to say try making noises and sounds of an old grump: uggg, yuk, phooey! Make some disgusted gestures with your hands. You know the one when you raise your limp hand and drop it at someone like you’re saying, ‘Get that out of my face.’ Continue complaining, ‘I can’t breathe, I’m dying. I’ve never seen it so bad, I’ve never felt so bad. I feel like a rotten piece of meat being overcooked in a dirty frying pan.’ ”

Of course, many of our “complainers” will be breaking out in laughter as we reveal our cantankerous, crotchety, cranky, grumpy selves. But that offers you, the director, a way to increase the silliness by going up to the laughing per- son and frowning and shaking a finger of guilt in their direction, telling them something like, “Stop laughing, there’s nothing to laugh about, we’re all grumpy grouches here!”

We don’t want to do this for too long, just a few minutes is enough to make the point. Then you the director loudly clap your hands and shout “Stop! Now check out how you feel. Notice that the energy in your body and brain seems stuck. Well it is stuck. We’ve just been doing a pretend “bad” qigong. Now let’s do it the good way. Let’s take some really deep breaths and exhale with a nice full “ahh.” Now Close your eyes. Picture this: the weather couldn’t be better. A peaceful sunrise in early spring and the overnight clouds are breaking. It is a perfect Feng Shui setting: You are standing on a mountain and a beautiful lake is right before you. All is silent except for the peaceful sounds of singing birds. Inhale fully, slowly, deeply, smoothly, silently as you lift your arms up, and as if you were a swan flying in slow motion, bring your arms out horizontally to your sides. Exhale and bring your arms and hands back into your upper chest. Let your hands sink grace- fully down. Pause for a moment then again inhale and raise your hands back up to the upper chest and once again unfurl your “wings.” Do this routine for several minutes.

I finish by telling them to open their eyes. Then I ask, Was there any difference in the way the Grumpy-Grump and the Feng Shui visualizations felt for you? It’s obvious what their answers will be.

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**Beautiful featured image from combinedarts.org


The Ethics of Healing – The “Hippocratic” Oath of China’s King of Medicine, Sun Simiao

Compiled by John Voigt

Sun Simiao (581-682) was an outstanding Chinese physician, scholar and author who lived during the Tang Dynasty. Called the “King of Medicine” (Yaowang) Sun Simiao is said to have founded Chinese gynecology, pediatrics and geriatrics as individual healing modalities. [FN-1]

 The “Hippocratic” Oath of China’s King of Medicine, Sun Simiao : Chinese Medicine LivingThis image By 猫猫的日记本 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia

Sun Simiao wrote the earliest medical encyclopedia in China, the Essential Formulas for Emergencies [Worth] a Thousand Pieces of Gold (Beiji Qian Jin Yao Fang), and the Supplement to the Formulas of a Thousand Gold Worth (Qian Jin Yi Fang). The first book lists about 5,300 prescriptions for medicines, the second book 2,000. Each book is composed of thirty volumes.

He is also known for his essay "On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians," which has been called "the Chinese Hippocratic Oath." It is found in the opening chapter of the first of the above mentioned books. This portion of the book is still required reading for Chinese physicians. [FN-2]

Sun Simiao - China's God of Medicine : Chinese Medicine Living

Sun Simiao is also portrayed as a god of medicine, here seated on a tiger and holding a dragon above his head.
This image from itmonline.org

On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians: The Healer’s Oath of Sun Simiao [FN-3]

  • When I go to treat an illness I first must calm my mind and make steadfast my intentions.
  • I shall not give way to idle wishes and desires but should first develop an attitude of compassion.
  • I vow to rescue all living beings from their sufferings.
  • If anyone comes to me because of an illness or any other difficulty I will not concern myself with whether they are powerful or humble, rich or poor, old or young, beautiful or ugly.
  • Enemies, relatives, good friends, Chinese or barbarians, foolish and wise, they all are the same to me. I will think of each of them of them as a close and loved relative - or indeed as if it was I who had been struck down by an illness.
  • I shall not worry about my own life or my fortunes or misfortunes. My purpose is to preserve the life of others.
  • I shall not hide away in the mountains. Day and night, in cold and heat, in hunger, thirst and fatigue, I will single-mindedly go to the rescue.  If I am able to act in this manner I may approach being a great doctor for those who are sick. If I act contrary to these precepts I am no more than a great thief to those who are alive.
  • People all too often look with contempt on those who suffer from abominable things, such as ulcers or diarrhea, however I shall maintain an attitude of compassion, sympathy and care. Never in a great physician should there arise an attitude of rejection.
  • I will not glory in my reputation. I will not discredit other physicians while I praise my own virtues.
  • Thus I shall fulfill my responsibilities and my destiny as a physician until I am no longer capable of fulfilling my obligations, or until the end of my lifetime.

China’s King of Medicine, Sun Simiao : Chinese Medicine Living

Sun Simiao.
This image from chinaexpat.com

In many ways Sun Simiao was a product of Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian thought.

For example, Sun Simiao’s thoughts about showing complete compassion to all living things is distinctly Buddhist. In Essential Formulas for Emergencies [Worth] a Thousand Pieces of Gold he wrote: When love of life is concerned, man and animal are equal [therefore] I do not suggest the use of any living creature as a medicine or healing agent. This does not concern the gadflies and the leeches. They have already perished when they reach the market, and it is therefore permissible to use them. As to the hen's eggs, we have to say the following: before their content has been hatched out, they can be used in very urgent cases. Otherwise, one should not burden oneself with this. To avoid their use is a sign of great wisdom, but this will never be attained.

He also shows Daoist beliefs in rejecting the praise of others. He wrote: Lao-tzu has said, When the conduct of men visibly reveals virtue, the humans themselves will reward it. If, however, men commit virtues secretly, the spirits will reward them. When the conduct of men visibly reveals misdeeds, the humans themselves will take retribution. If, however, men commit their misdeeds secretly, the spirits will take retribution. When comparing these alternatives and the respective rewards that will be given in the time after this life and still during this life, how could one ever make a wrong decision?

Confucian ideology shows itself in various admonitions about the virtuous characteristics required of a physician: “In the homes of patients a physician must speak politely, and not indulge in fine food and drink.” “Wherever someone's life is at stake, one should neither act hastily, nor rely on one's own superiority and ability, and least of all keep one's own reputation in mind. This would not correspond to the demands of humaneness.”

Sun Simiao is not devoid of a sense of personal irony when he writes about physicians conceited about their own skills.  “Someone who has accidently healed a disease, walks about with head raised, shows conceit and proclaims that no one in the entire world can measure up to him.” … “In this respect all physicians are evidently incurable.”  When he write “all physicians” might he also be pointing a finger at himself?

In summary,  Sun Simiao placed the cause and treatment of illness within a social and spiritual context. He articulated the need for a physician to understand the relationship between the art of healing and their own inner state of being and enlightenment, and the society within which they and the patient lived. He believed such understanding would help the overall effectiveness of the provided treatment, as the healer recognized and gained a deeper connection to their role in restoring the patient to health. This is the basis of his code of ethics for physicians.

Further Comments

There is another classic Oath for Chinese Physicians which was written by Hua Tuo (c.140-208) [ https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hua-Tuo]. Sun Simiao may have used it as a starting point for his code.

The Vow of Hua Tuo

Treat people equally irrespective of their high or low status, of their poverty or wealth, of their distinction or obscurity.

Do not run after riches, fear no hardships and toils, and take it as your first duty to take pity on the old and help the young. [source: Bob Flaws. Master Hua’s Classic of the Central Viscera.]

Hua Tuo - Chinese Master Physician : Chinese Medicine LivingThis lovely image from alchetron.com

Footnotes

[FN-1] Newland magazine. [ http://www.newlandmagazine.com.au/vision/article/429]

[FN-2] [Wikipedia, “Sun Simiao.”] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Simiao

[FN-3] The translation used in this article was compiled from the following sources:

Gregory M. Casey. “Mystic Dao.” http://www.mysticdao.com/#!The-Healers-Oath/cfkc/2ECEF164-1D5B-4F27-94EE-F8600BA10F38

“Code of Ethics.” http://www.heartofhealingacupuncture.com/code_of_ethics

Albert R. Jonsen. A Short History of Medical Ethics. pp. 36-37.

“King of Medicine: Sun Simiao.” http://www.newlandmagazine.com.au/vision/article/429

“The Oath of Sun Si Miao for Physicians of Traditional Chinese Medicine.” http://www.heartofhealingacupuncture.com/code_of_ethics

“On the Sublime Sincerity of the Eminent Physician.” http://www.happygoatproductions.com/qianjinfang-ethics

Subhuti Dharmananda. Sun Simiao: Author of the Earliest Chinese Encyclopedia for Clinical Practice. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/sunsimiao.htm

Daniel Fu-Chang Tsai. “Ancient Chinese medical ethics and the four principles of biomedical ethics” [in] Journal of Medical Ethics 1999;25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC479240/pdf/jmedeth00005-0025.pdf

Paul U. Unschuld. Medical Ethics in Imperial China, A Study in Historical Anthropology. https://books.google.com/books?id=T8mB9rfZCBMC&pg=PR3&lpg=PR3&dq=Medical+Ethics+in+Imperial+China,+A+Study+in+Historical+Anthropology&source=bl&ots=lMi2Gb4Eiu&sig=Otaed6OOK9rLv622amqw7qb58hA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjT0rOlrNvNAhWJVz4KHQpRBgAQ6AEIGjAB#v=onepage&q=whenever%20a%20great%20physician%20&f=false 1979 University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

For Further Information:

“Hua Tuo.” http://alchetron.com/Hua-Tuo-1042352-W

“King of Medicine: Sun Simiao.” http://www.newlandmagazine.com.au/vision/article/429

“Lessons from Sun Si Miao - a Chinese patron deity of physicians.” pss.org. http://www.pss.org.sg/whats-happening/e-bulletin/issue-no-30/lessons-sun-si-miao-chinese-patron-deity-physicians#.V30DEyMrJL8

The story of China’s ‘King of Medicine’ is being told through ancient art. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5jCXq97vO8

“Sun Simiao.” tcm.cchinesecio.com. [ http://tcm.chinesecio.com/en/article/2009-09/18/content_66490.htm]

“Sun Simiao.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Simiao

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*** The lovely feature image of Sun Simiao from Amazon.com

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Peace Love & Acupuncture Button : Chinese Medicine Living


Are You Yin or Yang?

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

The forces of yin and yang describe everything in the universe. Everything has its opposite, and yet, each is an intrinsic part of the other. Everything that exists has a yin as well as a yang aspect and health and the human being are no exception. In Chinese medicine, a person is seen to be made up of yin and yang forces. Each of the organ systems have yin and yang energies, and although this is a dynamic relationship and constantly changing, when these forces become unbalanced, illness can result. Below is a list of some of the basic things that are considered yin and yang, but remember, each of these individually also has a yin and yang aspect.

Yin

  • Darkness
  • Moon
  • Female
  • Night
  • Inwards
  • Contractive
  • Passive
  • Rest
  • Earth
  • Flat
  • Space
  • West
  • North
  • Right
  • Back
  • Below
  • Slow
  • Damp
  • Cold
  • Inside

Yang

  • Light
  • Sun
  • Male
  • Day
  • Outwards
  • Expansive
  • Active
  • Brightness
  • Activity
  • Heaven
  • Round
  • Time
  • East
  • South
  • Left
  • Front
  • Above
  • Fast
  • Dry
  • Hot
  • Outside

A human being also exhibits yin and yang energies. Each organ system is striving for a relative balance of its yin and yang forces, but the body as a whole often has a tendency to be more yin or yang. Are you the kind of person who can go out in the winter without a coat? Or do you need to wear socks and jammies to bed even on a hot sumer night? Are you drawn to frozen foods like ice cream, or do you crave hot drinks like tea and hot chocolate no matter what the season? Knowing the tendency of your body to be more yin or yang can help you determine how to bring it back into balance by using all the tools that Chinese medicine has in its impressive tool box.

The Yin and Yang of Foods

The Yin

Food therapy has been an integral part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The Chinese understood not only the medicinal properties of foods, but ascribed to each a thermal nature, contributing either a yang, or heating quality, a neutral energy or a yin or cooling energy to the body. This understanding, that all foods are either heating, cooling or neutral in nature helps to rebalance the body when the internal yin or yang energies are out of balance.

As part of my initial patient intake, I ask "are you a hot or cold person?" Most people know right away what the answer is. "Oh, I am always cold!" Or, "I am like a furnace running day and night." This is a clue to someone's relative level of yin or yang. Once you can determine if a person has an overabundance of yin or yang (cold or hot), I usually introduce a list of foods and their heating (yang), cooling (yin) or neutral nature. It is interesting how often a person with an overabundance of yang is actually eating mostly yang or heating foods, and a person with a constitution that is more yin may tend to eat more cooling foods. But this is the wonderful thing about Chinese medicine. Part of the job of the practitioner is to educate the patient and to empower them to participate in their healing. Once they become aware that they have a predominance of yin or yang, they can then take a list of foods and their yin or yang qualities and remove certain foods (that may be exacerbating the condition) and add in others to help the body to rebalance.

Here is a handy chart that lists some yin (cooling) and yang (warming) foods in Chinese medicine - but remember, there are neutral ones too.

Yin & Yang Foods in TCM : Chinese Medicine LivingThis lovely image thanks to rawayurveda.com

Yin & Yang Constitution

There are many clues that you can use to determine if you are constitutionally more yin or more yang. These are generalizations of course, an all of us have both yin as well as yang aspects, but below are some guidelines to help you recognize yin and yang traits in yourself and others.

Yang people tend to speak loudly, be excitable and move quickly (like fire). They tend to be robust, have thinner, stronger bodies, and can be red faced and passionate. Yang personalities are active, expansive and always on the move. They flare up and are changeable, like fire. They can also tend to frustration and anger.

Yin people tend to be quiet, move more slowly and are more grounded. They tend towards weight gain, or in Chinese medicine what is called dampness. They are generally soft spoken and introverted, enjoying to spend time by themselves. Yin personalities often have a rich inner life and live in their fertile imaginations. Yin people may also tend towards sadness and melancholy.

Yin & Yang Conditions

Diagnosis also depends on a deep understanding of yin and yang, and while there are many theories that are used in Chinese medicine to formulate a diagnosis, yin and yang are always a consideration. While each condition has a yin and a yang nature, there are some characteristics that point to weather a condition is more yin or yang.

Yang conditions tend to excess, exhibit heat and symptoms tend to change quickly. They are characterized by redness, swelling, red eyes, bitter taste, fevers, excess type headaches and pain with a sharp or intense nature.

Yin conditions tend to be deficient, exhibit cold or dampness and change slowly. They are characterized by discharges, lumps and bumps (dampness), a feeling of heaviness, slow movements and thinking, and a dull, achey type of pain.

The good news is, that once there has been a proper diagnosis, there are many ways to restore the relative balance of yin and yang in the body, from the foods you eat every day to acupuncture to Chinese herbs. Meditation and martial arts like Tai Chi and Qi Gong are also excellent to restoring health. Once you have an idea of your constitution, you can be aware of when you are swinging out of balance and will be armed with the tools to help yourself restore balance once again. Because the interplay between yin and yang is dynamic and constantly changing, it is helpful to be able to make small adjustments - which is why Chinese medicine works best as a medicine of prevention - rather than waiting until disease develops as the changes needed then are more drastic and generally things take longer to correct.

So... are you more yin, or more yang?? Once you begin to observe your behaviour and the ailments you tend towards, it might become obvious which you are predisposed to. But, hopefully, with the knowledge that there are foods, as well as other simple things that you can do to regain balance, it will help to keep you healthy in the present and long into the future. Yay Chinese medicine!!

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Spirituality and Traditional Chinese Medicine

By John Voigt

The key character in the Chinese word “spiritual” is shen ().

Shen Spirit in Chinese Medicine : Chinese Medicine Living

This image from West Learns East

From the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine: If you have shen, you will progress towards health. If you lose your shen, you will lose your life. [1]

The modern standard reference book for Chinese characters, the Hanyu Da Zidian (2006) defines shen this way: Celestial gods/spirits of stories/legends, namely, the creator of the myriad things in heaven and earth and the supreme being. Spirit-mind-consciousness. Magical, supernatural, miraculous; mysterious, ability to divine the unknown, amazing foresight. And—(especially telling for our purposes)—a highly skilled doctor.

Shen can show itself as something good or something evil.  The word shen may be easily applied to such entities as ghosts, goblins, devils, monsters, and demons, all of whom (historically at least) have been said to bring about illnesses. [2]

The goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is that by effecting a healthy flow of qi-life energy in the meridians, and gaining a correct balance of yin and yang energies in the organs, the body and mind gain health and wellbeing.  A goal of the spiritual path is turning away from the myriad attractions and distractions around us and returning to a union with the Infinite, the Absolute, the Divine.

Both these health and spiritual goals are alluded to in the opening of chapter 42 of the Dao De Jing.

Dao De Jing/Tao Te Ching

Chapter 42 (excerpt) - Genesis

(Before the beginning was)

Dao from which is born One (unmanifested Qi).

One which gives birth to Two (the static polarities of yin and yang).
Three - a dynamic Qi appears opening Yin and Yang into a harmony of interaction.

And from Three, creation [in time and space] unfolds and all things are born.

All things carry yin on their backs and embrace yang in their arms.

When female-yin and male-yang mix and blend their Qi (breath/life energy), harmony is obtained. And from Three, creation [in time and space] unfolds and all things are born.

The author, Laozi (Lao Tzu) purposefully has used the seemingly vague open-ended words: Dao-One-Two-Three-All Things. But their lack of specificity enables the thoughtful reader to creatively interpret each word.

The Dao (the “Way”) as an archetypal Mother giving birth to the One, its alter-image, the Hidden Qi: the potential for time, space and consciousness to exist.  From the Hidden Qi there appears Two, the separate as yet non-interacting Yin and Yang [3] - therefore there is no movement and so there is nothing to be seen.

From the Two comes Three, a manifesting  Qi generating interaction and movement between the previously static yin and yang.  And so is born all the myriad things and thoughts possible throughout the entire universe. [4]

The key to spirituality in TCM, as well as in certain mystical religious practices, is to walk the walk of this cosmological emanation in reverse. That is to say from the All (“ten thousand things” of the original text) to Three (Heaven, Earth and Humans), then Two (yin-yang), then One (unmanifested Qi) as the traveler maintains her connections to the commonplace ordinary world of others,  thus safely returning into the harmony, purity, power and compassion of the Way.

The Five Elemental Energies in Nature and in Man

5 Elements : Chinese Medicine Living

This image from wikipedia

There is another Daoist concept of creation that places Five after Three - (perhaps four is missing because, like our thirteen, it is a bad luck number in Asia).

From a primordial infinite nothingness (wuji) comes the One Supreme Ultimate (taiji), a source of creation but without any human personality of a Judaic-Christian God. Then appears Two as the always connected interacting polarities of yin-yang. Then Three as the Heavens above, Man in between, Earth below. [5]

Yin Yang : Chinese Medicine Living

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From Three comes Five: the “Five Phases of Universal Energy” - or more commonly but not more accurately called, “The Five Elements.” [6] These are the energies of Wood [actually the energies of growing trees, even all the green leafed flora that grows up from the earth],  burning Fire, fertile Earth, cutting Metal, and washing Water. They represent the changing conditions of all phenomena. Each of the Five has a specific correspondence with a season, direction, color, taste, and internal organ; which helps to explain how the body functions and how qi-energy changes during disease and during healing. Each of the Five has been deified into a god, or could be thought of as a god.

Animal gods have also been assigned to each of the Five. [7]

5 Elements : Chinese Medicine Living

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Five Animal Frolics

The Chinese physician, Hua Tuo (circa 140-208 CE) was famous for his abilities in acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine, and medical qigong exercises.

Hua Tuo : Chinese Medicine Living

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Similar to the earlier Shamans and WuYi, Hua Tuo developed his “Five Animal Gymnastics” (Wu qin xi) from studying the movements of animals and birds. What exactly were the creatures and movements is now unclear,  but what is obvious is that the Five Elemental Energies, and their ability to heal, are in play here.

The Body heals with play. The Mind heals with laughter. The Spirit heals with joy, [Chinese Proverb].

Often in my qigong classes we do a free form interpretation of some the five creatures. It may be done alone, but it is especially fun with others or in groups. Not surprisingly little kids get it right away; we should be more like them.

Tiger. Walk in a slinky way like a tiger. Growl, and make clawing gestures.

The Tiger represents the elementary energy of growing trees. It relates to the Liver, anger and its opposite,  peacefulness. The grasping motions may help open the acupuncture points at the tips of the fingers and in the palms.

Phoenix. The Phoenix is a mythological creature that reincarnates itself by rising up from the ashes of the fires of its past.  With this qigong there is an implied rebirthing of the self. The Elemental Energy is Fire, the organ is the Heart.

The Gymnastic: In a wide stance, turn to the right, inhale and lift the arms up by your sides.  The heel of the left foot should rise up as you do this. When the hands are level with the ears, open and unfold the hands and arms as if you were a beautiful Phoenix unfolding your wings.  Pause then slowly exhale and float your arms (as wings) back down and return to facing forward with arms hanging down by your sides. Then turn to the left and repeat the gesture, now with the right heel lifting off the ground. Do six times or for as long it feels good to do. It may be viewed on YouTube done by its originator, Lin Housheng. Go to 32:47 of  “…18 Motions of TaiJi Qigong, Disk 2.”

Cat and Cow. The Yoga Cat and Cow pose is normally done on the floor by first arching the back up like an angry cat, then letting the belly loosen and drop down like an old cow. As with most hatha yoga these are static  positions. It becomes more of a qigong gymnastic if you make smooth, gentle and continuous cat and cow movements. The Elemental Energy here is Earth, the organs are Spleen and Stomach.  But this gymnastic also massages the spine, shoulders and all the organs of the lower torso.

An advanced way is to stand and with the chin and hips gently make vertical circles; first forwards then backwards,  the shoulders are kept loose. Go easy with this one: even a hint of pain and you should immediately stop. [8]

Gorilla. Be like Tarzan and tap around your collarbone area. You might make his “King Gorilla of the Jungle” call. (His girlfriend Jane did it as well). It’s great for the important thymus gland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thymus .This qigong gymnastic relates to Metal, and the Lung area.

Peacock. Peacock Spreads Tail To Show Beautiful Feathers.  Pretend you are a peacock and raise your hands straight up. As they go above your head spread your arms open.  From the sides of your eyes using peripheral vision imagine your beautiful feathers.  With your arms uplifted and palms facing out, slightly bend the elbows and slowly sway to the left and right like audiences at a rock concert. The Energy is Water, relating to the Kidney area.

Healing Prayers

The Ultimate Absolute within Buddhism, Hinduism, and Daoism is devoid of any human qualities. But in the way that the Abrahamic God gained anthropomorphic qualities, the Asians added many buddhas, bodhisattvas, avatars,  gods, and immortals as a gateway into experiencing the divine Absolute. In both the East and West prayer to the Divine or to divine human-like forms, personifications, icons, etc. has had many instances of miraculous healing take place. Even if no cures happen, prayer can lighten the pain and travail of the passage from life to death.

For Buddhists, the traditional god of healing is Bhaisajyaguru who is also called Yao Shih Fwo. He sometimes functions rather like an Asian “patron saint of healers.” The Medicine Buddha Mantra

Bhaisajyaguru The Medicine Buddha : Chinese Medicine Living

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NAMO (I take refuge in) BHAGAVATE (the World-Honored One) BHAISAJYA-GURU (the Master of Medicine) VAIDURYA (the lapis-lazuli colored ) PRABHA (light) RAJA YA (the king) TATHAGATA YA ARHATE (the Thus-Come-One, the One-Worthy-of-Offering) SAMYAK-SAMBUDDHAYA (the equal and correctly enlightened), TADYATHA (and I speak thus): OM (Hail!) BHAISAJYE (Healer) BHAISAJYE (Healer) MAHA-BHAISAJYA (Great Healer) RAJA (king), SAMUDGATE (the path to enlightenment) SVAHA! (So be it!).

Guan Yin / Kwan Yin

Guanyin/Kwan Yin is the goddess of Compassion. Her name literally means “Hearing the Cries of the World.” Although originally a Buddhist god, she is now honored by Daoists, Confucians, Hindus—She has gained the love of the masses in the East, and many in the west. As with Mary or Jesus, angels or saints she is often prayed to for healing.

Quan Yin : Chinese Medicine Living

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Her mantra/prayer is Namo Guan shi yin Pusa, meaning

“Salutations to the most compassionate and merciful Bodhisattva Guanyin who hears the cries of those who suffer.”  Here is a link: Kuan Yin Mantra - Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa.

There are many more mantra prayers in the religions of the world that may be used for healing. Perhaps search on YouTube for one that captures your heart.  I typed “healing prayers OR mantra” on my browser and came up with this URL.

Of course with a clean and pure heart, you could compose your own prayer or mantra.

A Few Simplified Spiritual Techniques

Disclaimer:

This article is for educational purposes only. It is not offered for the healing of any illnesses.  If  a person is sick they should see a proper professional in either (or both) western or traditional Chinese medicine. If doing anything in this article is physically or mentally uncomfortable, painful, or feels strange or weird immediately stop doing it.

1. Since the harmony of the Dao is reflected in nature - take a pleasant walk by the ocean or in the country. Or have fresh cut flowers in your home.

2. Daoist and Buddhist rituals include lighting incense and candles, singing prayers, and ceremonial dances.  If at home alone feeling glum, why not light incense and/or candles, sing and/or dance?

Qi Breathing Exercise

Qigong (chi kung) is a basic modality of TCM. It often is defined as “breath work.”

A person can sit comfortably with a straight back, and focus their mental attention on their breathing. Then calmly breathe more slowly and deeply. If the mind wanders simply count the breaths up to five (or any other number) and repeat the counting, or use a mantra like “peace,” or “relax,”  or “I am calm,” etc.  More Advanced: next be aware of the coolness on the nostrils. Then move that awareness to the qi-breath entering the lungs, from there be aware (or just imagine) the oxygen–qi in the blood entering all parts of your body, helping healing and refreshing you.  Having a simple smile seems to help this qi breathing exercise along. A really easy version of this exercise is to slowly, calmly and fully breathe into your lower lungs, only paying attention to how it feels.

Get a massage; I recommend Chinese Therapeutic Massage (Tuina). But massage can be done at home with a partner or by one’s self: rub and squeeze the body - especially the arms, legs, belly and kidney areas and feel energy blockages open up inside. Again keep your attention on how if feels, what the qi flow is doing. That may aid in making this a spiritual healing experience

Amulets are often used for healing.  An interesting way to do this is keeping on your person a mini-sized Daode Jing. Shambhala Publications has a 3 x 1/4  x 4.5 inch size copy.  

At night when the sky is clear and the moon is full, with open eyes look up to the moon and see it smiling down on you then smile back at it. The advanced Daoist qigong version of this is in the Endnotes, see [9].

One Last Thought

The belief systems of a non-spiritual TCM practitioner and a practicing Daoist healer may differ; nevertheless a raison d'être of each is similar: the goal is the gaining of wellbeing. One might say the absence of illness while the other says being in harmony with the Dao. However putting the best of both together offers the possibilities of a long, healthy, and happy life.

Endnotes

[1] Zhang Yu Huan & Ken Rose. Who Can Ride the Dragon? pg. 211. Paradigm, 1999.

[2] Illness are said to be produced by xie qi: bad, evil, pathogenic, demonic, devilish, evil life energy. See “Turbid Qi” http://qi-encyclopedia.com/index.asp?article=TurbidQi by Jerry Alan Johnson

[3] Yin originally meant dark and shaded. Yang originally meant sunny, full of light.

As mentioned above, these are not hard and fast static concepts.  As time (night and day) moves forward each continually folds into and becomes the other. So by extension we have light-positive-masculine qi and dark-negative-female qi (no sexual value judgment is implied). Everything in the universe has both aspects of interchanging yin and yang.

[4] When this emanating process is balanced and in harmony all is as it should be. When disharmony happens (as in much of our modern civilization) there can be a harmful damaging chaos; things are no longer with the Dao. Examples are global climate change, widespread mental and physical illness, and continual killing warfare.

[5] The Chinese have different terms to expound on the meaning of this Three. With San Cai (Three Powers) yang becomes the Heavens, yin becomes the Earth, and in between are we, Humanity. Or San Bao, (The Three Treasures) of Jing (Essence) Qi (Vital Energy), and Shen (Spirit). Those knowledgeable with TCM working principles will recognize fundamental terms here.

[6]  The Chinese name for Five Energetic Phases is Wuxing (wǔ xíng -五行) which is an abbreviation of wu zhong liu xing zhi qi — “five types of universal energy [qi or chi] dominating at different times.”

[7] The White Tiger rules Metal and the Lung. Black Tortoise rules Water and the Kidney. The Green Dragon rules Wood and the Liver. The Red Phoenix rules Fire and the Heart. The Gold Dragon rules Earth and the Spleen/Stomach.  http://realm-of-midgard.wikia.com/wiki/Five_Gods_of_Wu_Xing .

[8] Sorry, I have no video for this, but Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming’s “Simple Qigong for Back Pain Relief (YMAA)” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BObNy_LBFRU from 0:04 to 0:41 offers some clues; it’s all about those concave – convex movements of the spine.

[9] Taking in Moon Cream Tonifies yin-essence. Gathering Sun Essence replenishes yang-qi. As the sun begins to rise at daybreak, with mostly drooped closed eyelids, breathe in one mouthful of soft gentle reddish sunlight (imagine it); hold the breath, then swallow it; then exhale and send it down to the dantian. Do ten times. At night when the skies are clear and the moon is full do the same swallowing with moonlight, six times.  Adapted from Chinese Qigong, Zhang Enqin, (1990) p.108.

A Daoist source of this exercise may be found on pg. 54 of Early Daoist Dietary Practices, by Shawn Arthur. https://books.google.com/books?id=idBrd_dKCkYC&pg=PA54&lpg=PA54&dq=Early+Daoist+Dietary+Practices+%22solar+lord%22&source=bl&ots=9-fKlt71__&sig=UVFqKokBlpyKOz-1qk4wsF5L0Nc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwip4qzt24nMAhUFPj4KHYjTAakQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=Early%20Daoist%20Dietary%20Practices%20%22solar%20lord%22&f=false

Bibliography/Sources

“Chapter 1, What is Shen (Spirit)?” http://www.itmonline.org/shen/chap1.htm

http://www.yellowbridge.com/onlinelit/daodejing42.php

“The Chinese Cosmos: Basic Concepts.” http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/cosmos/bgov/cosmos.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_mythology

“Daoist Magic - a conversation with Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson, Ph.D, D.T.C.M.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckpN8TWPbhE&nohtml5=False

Guan Yin Goddess of Healing. http://www.quanyinhealing.net/quan_yin.html

Timothy Leary. Psychedelic Prayers after the Tao Te Ching. http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/Timothy-Leary-Psychedelic-Prayers.pdf

Lin Shi and Chenguang Zhang. “Spirituality in Traditional Chinese Medicine,” [in] Pastoral Psychology, October/December, 2012.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257635748_Spirituality_in_Traditional_Chinese_Medicine

Elizabeth Reninger. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Five Element Styles of Practice. http://taoism.about.com/od/qigongchinesemedicine/a/TCM.htm

Taoism and martial arts-Opening Dao. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SP0vS4hTJs

Terebess Asia Online (Tao). The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, [125 translations]. http://terebess.hu/english/tao/_index.html

John Voigt. “Happy Fun Qigong.” Qi Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3: Autumn 2015

Ibid. “Qi in the Daodejing—The Way and its Power.” Qi-Encyclopedia. com http://qi-encyclopedia.com/index.asp?article=Qi-in-the-Daodejing

Ibid. “Six Healing Sounds: Chinese Mantras for Purifying Body. Mind, and Soul. Qi Journal, http://www.qi-journal.com/Qigong.asp?Name=Six%20Healing%20Sounds&-token.D=Article

Wu Xing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Xing

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Spirituality and Traditional Chinese Medicine : Chinese Medicine Living