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

This image from wikipedia

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

This image from wikipedia

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

This image from wikipedia

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

This lovely image from wikipedia

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

This beautiful image from wikipedia

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.

The mantra "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa" with a variety of artwork depicting the Chinese goddess of mercy who relieves suffering.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6JhSegPjOM

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

Featured image from wikipedia.
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Spirituality and Traditional Chinese Medicine : Chinese Medicine Living


Qi Gong for Weight Loss - One

By John Voigt

Before commencing this or any other weight loss program consult with your appropriate healthcare providers. If any procedures in this article cause any mental or physical discomfort stop doing them and see a professional healer. If you have had or have any mental illness do not do the following visualizations.

THE CREATION OF THE SLENDER YOU

The Chinese alchemist begins from the point of energetics and used guided visualization and physical techniques to effectuate the fusion of the energies. The fused energies are then purified, transformed and projected to create an energy body or energy double.” George A. Katchmer. The Tao of Bioenergetics, pg. 92. YMAA, 1996.

The body is activated by the interplay of two psychic structures: first, hun, which because it belongs to the yang principle, I have translated as animus - p'o which belongs to the yin principle, as anima. Carl Gustav Jung. Secret of the Golden Flower, pg. 14.

Qi Gong for Weight Loss : John Voigt

Michelangelo’s David. Florence, Galleria dell'Accademia.

Yang is archetypal Masculine energy—as in father, sun, fire, phallic, aggressive, logical, left brain. Yin is archetypal Feminine energy—as in mother, moon, water, womb, receptive, intuitive, right brain. They are not separate entities: all yang contains yin, all yin contains yang. Every man has a hidden female alter-ego that Jung named “Anima.” Every woman has a hidden male alter-ego Jung called “Animus.”

Qi Gong for Weight Loss : John Voigt

Daphnis and Chloe (1827), Jean-Pierre Cortot. Louvre.
In a second century C.E. Greek story, as infants they are found by shepherds, and grow up secretly in love with each other. After adventures they are happily married. In the sculpture their bodies seem to represent an anima/animus perfection.

The interaction of yang and yin (as in father and mother) gives birth to the child. By imagining the anima or animus within you, then externalizing, and returning them into you, it becomes possible over to give birth to a new slender you.

Personal Transmutation: Projection and Assimilation for Physical Realization of the Imaged Slender Self

Go into your standard meditative posture. See (imagine) sitting facing you, a healthy slender, full of youthful energy, beautiful/handsome you. A truly perfect you: all you would ever want and wish to be--BUT OF THE OPPOSITE SEX. Feel their presence by fully imagining them with all your senses. Then though practicing visual imagining,  run life energy (qi, prana, or whatever you call such things) up their back and down their front. This is called the Microcosmic Orbit. As an advanced option in time you may add the bio-life cosmic energy coming into the fingers and toes up through the limbs and jointing with the flowing inner-river of qi. This is called the Macrocosmic Orbit. Imagine/see/perceive your vision of radiating qi from their entire body. Picture their energy pathways aglow. Then have this image move toward you and mentally hold and turn them so their back is to you and bring them, squeeze them, into your body. As they enter you their sex automatically transforms into your sex. [If you are gay then adapt this so it fits your personal sexual proclivities.] They were in so many ways the true you anyway—perhaps even possibly your hidden subliminal dream lover. All the glowing radiating energy pathways in their body have now become yours.

After you have drawn in your projected perfect-self, do another short imagined running of  life energy orbiting up your back and down your front, then if you are up for it into the tips of the fingers and toes to add more qi into this bio-electric streaming inside you. As always, finish by finally cycling the qi-energy into your navel into the dantian, the living energy storage cauldron in the center of your lower abdomen. This is an absolute necessary step: such inner and outer cosmic power must be stored in the dantian.

It is necessary to daily repeat this visualization/transformation. It is like gaining skills on a musical instrument, but now the instrument is your mind and body, as well as your mental habits of eating, and your body habits of movement and exercise. To gain qigong skills it is necessary to practice the exercises. Any qigong, especially such advanced Daoist exercises,  is always best done under the thoughtful observations of a master teacher. So when doing this qigong, as with any advanced spiritual health practices, if anything does not feel right, or gets too weird or spacey: STOP IMMEDIATELY!

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Qi Gong for weight Loss : John Voigt

Nüwa and Fuxi.
According to legend the earth was swept by a great flood (circa 3000 BCE). Only Fuxi and his sister Nüwa survived.  Like Adam and Eve, they began procreating the human race. That they seem to be hermaphroditic—therefore a manifestation of joined yin yang—and that the intertwined serpents or dragons appear to relate to primordial creative energy—what the Hindus called “Kundalini,” and the Chinese called “Jing Qi” —is pertinent to this article.

The slender anima (female soul in the male) or animus (male soul in the female) now exists inside you buried under your excess weight. Like a butterfly crawling out of a chrysalis spun by its former caterpillar self, she/he will—if allowed to—grant you the power to almost automatically do and not do the things necessary to become slender in time: he or she eats properly and is not a lazy couch potato but  moves; that is why they are slender. And that is why you (if you allow it) will do the same as they do: thereby becoming slender and more healthy.

Personal Comments by the Author: My anima alter-ego does things I like to describe with words my parents used:  Such a finicky eater.” “Just picks at  their food.” “Eats like a bird.” “Never finishes what’s on their plate.” And “Always running around. Never gives it a rest.”

So every time I am around food—shopping, at a restaurant, opening my refrigerator’s door, cooking, or eating—I feel her presence in me automatically guiding me to do the right thing.

She loves to do body movement qigong and exercise—and therefore so do I.  And we both love to walk—I try to do that at least a half hour a day.

She seems immune to hunger and being physically tired, no wonder I am glad I have found her and that she is me.

Present day media improperly—and potentially dangerously—offers too thin models or actors, or professional athletes as goal models. Trying to have the body of a model, movie star, or athlete is counter productive for most of us. Nevertheless, the healthiest, longest living, most energetic, most beautiful people are usually not overweight or obese. Here Daphnis and Chloe,  and David are offered as artistic examples of a perfect weight; something to strive for in theory and practice.

Achieving and maintaining the proper weight for wellbeing is a very honorable goal. Over time, through qigong visualizations, exercises, and Traditional Chinese Health dietary practices it may be accomplished. These themes will be expanded upon in my upcoming articles in  HYPERLINK "http://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/" http://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/.

John Voigt may be contacted at john.voigt@comcast.net

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Books to Learn More:

Mantak Chia . Awaken Healing Energy Through Tao. Aurora.

Lu K'uan Yü. Taoist Yoga. Weiser.

Wikipedia websites were consulted for the following subjects or images:  Body Mass Index. Daphnis and Chloe. Fuxi. Carl Jung. Michelangelo’s David.  Microcosmic orbit. Taoist alchemy.

As a possible aid in imagining how a resonating anima/animus might appear look at the art of Alex Grey. I suggest “Adi Da Samraj,” “Alex,” “Holy Fire,” “Namaste,” and “Psychic Energy System.”  All are on Alex Gray's website at www.alexgrey.com.

 

The lovely featured image by Core Spirit


The Dao of Sexual Love

By John Voigt

Too many people have lost much of the passions and pleasures of sexual intimacy.  It need not be that way. Even the practice of a few of the ancient Chinese secrets of sex may help bring back past joys, and even offer the practitioner the best love making she or he ever experienced.

When working with men and women in various qigong groups I am continually amazed at the blockages I see in the flow of sexual energy. I want to tell them sex is not about mechanical proficiency (although that may be gained through various Daoist energy qigong practices), but instead making love should be about physically sharing energy (qi) and becoming one with your partner in spiraling unfolding fields of ecstatic love energy.   

The Dao of Sexual Love : Chinese Medicine Living

Image by Alex Gray : www.alexgray.com

These blockages and deficiencies in the flow of sexual energy may be seen in the way people carry themselves when moving and walking: men in the way their hips and lower bodies often seemed hardened as if muscularly protecting themselves against a physical attack.  It is harder (for me at least) to see this blockage in women, especially younger women, but here also many women show a fear of free flowing movement in parts of their bodies, especially in the hips.

I would never tell this to a qigong group I was working with unless I had been teaching them for a very long time and I was sure that they could be comfortable, or at least open minded, with it.  Also, since I am a man, I would treat any such exposition to female students as if I was “walking on egg shells”— if I were to do it at all! Even with private male students it is a potentially dangerous venture: men usually are more frightened of sex than women.

However in my qigong classes I often try a quick semi-fix for blockages in sexual qi-energy (without the participants even knowing that they are being worked on). Keeping the back straight, we swing our hips in oblong-like circles in the ubiquitous qigong form known as “Hip Rotations” or “Hula Hoops.”  I tell them be a little kid again in a playground with your friends. Have fun and be happy. Done properly this loosen them up and they laugh and have a great time.  Sometimes we pretend we’re all Elvis “The Pelvis” Presley.

If I have a private student who seems capable of learning about spiritual sexual energy—someone who is not frightened about the potential infinite power housed in their bodies—I might talk about some of the following things: first and most obvious: When a person is sexually aroused, the heat, the power that they are feeling is a manifestation of qi.  And that this energy may be directed and manipulated for spiritual and psychological growth and well-being.

Double Sexual Macrocosmic Orbiting

This has both partners continuously aware of and guiding the cycling merged qi electrical-like energies running through both their bodies. This is somewhat similar to what is called the “Macrocosmic Orbit” or the “Great Heavenly Circuit”; but rather than cycling qi-energy only up and down and through your own body, here it is cycled between both of the lovers.  When done fully, each partner may enter into a state of continuous body orgasm (there is no loss of sperm). It is an ultimate physical, energetic, and spiritual ecstatic love experience for both.  As with any advanced qigong,  it is best to learn it directly from a master and practice it over time. This article only outlines the process. But if the reader is comfortably adept in moving their internal qi energy, they cautiously, and carefully might begin with the approval of their lover. Approach this slowly. As with any intense spiritual  practice there is a possibility of a dangerous qi “short circuiting.” Use common sense: if anything doesn’t feel right stop doing it;  and if you want to continue learning it find an experienced and ethical Daoist master teacher.

The Dao of Sexual Love : Chinese Medicine Living

Image by Alex Gray : www.alexgray.com

Still in its simpler forms it is relatively easy to learn. Once the lovers can sense and then direct the qi through mental focus and breathing it should be able to be done at a rudimentary level. In a comfortable position one of the lovers enters the body of their lover. Find the positions that feel most comfortable and easy to move for both you and your mate.  Slowly and gently begin the intercourse.

One Daoist method of heightening the arousal of sexual qi is to gradually increase the penetration of the penis, tongue or fingers until full penetration is reached, then begin this pattern again with the partial penetration. Daoist master and medical physician Dr. Stephen T. Chang in his book The Tao of Sexology calls it the “Sets of Nine.”  A man slowly penetrates his lover's vagina with just the head of his penis. He does this nine times, followed by one firm deep stroke into the vagina. Next a "set" of eight shallow strokes and two deep strokes; followed by seven shallow strokes and three deep strokes, and so on until a final set of one shallow stroke and nine deep strokes. Then this process is repeated from the beginning. When the woman is entered, she loosens the walls of her vagina, and when the man is withdrawing she could tighten as if to prevent his leaving.  Here Dr. Chang is using Daoist theory in patterns of alternating yin and yang as in slight to full, and loose to tight.

However the love making is done it should not be a race to see who orgasms first, or for how many times. In fact in the highest Daoist practices the man does not ejaculate semen, he internally guides it through the center of his body up into his brain. That certainly is beyond the scope of this short article, but those interested should reference  Daoist (or “Taoist”) Alchemy.  For our purposes here the man should hold back orgasm as long as comfortably able to do so. That lengthens the love making which should give the woman even more pleasure. A woman is free to repeatedly orgasm because she is not loosing any Jing (“essence-qi”).

The Dao of Sexual Love : Chinese Medicine Living

Image by Alex Gray : www.alexgray.com

Back to the lovers: fully aroused both slow their movements until hardly moving at all. Intertwined together they touch the tips of their tongues (electric sparks can be literally perceived) and by using focused awareness and breath begin directing the qi to flow between them. Using the genitals and tips of tongues as the connecting junction points, like electricity it flows in the meridian networks up and down the front and back of their bodies. Notice the vital qi energy is flowing both up AND down the governing (back) and conception (front) vessels. Then the qi does the same throughout the arms and legs and wherever else they touch. The sensations in the sexual organs are “cosmic” and “heavenly.”

One partner can playfully move qi from their body into the lover; or each in turn can move the qi back and forth from each of their bodies; or both can do this cycling at the same time like two Ferris wheels spinning in opposite directions (that’s advanced). Any aggressive movement and ejaculation is not needed: It becomes possible to have both partners orgasm in their entire bodies, effortlessly, many times, and for extended periods of time.  A good teacher certainly helps, but in any case much can be accomplished by practice (I think a nice way to spend your time).

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John Voigt teaches qigong in the Boston area.  He is Editor for the online publication, qi-encyclopedia.com

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These incredible images from Alex Gray - www.alexgray.com

Chinese Silk Pulse Cushions : Chinese Medicine Living

The Dao of Sexual Love : Chinese Medicine Living


Traditional Chinese Medicine - The Medicine of Prevention

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

I like to use the metaphor borrowed from the wonderful book Between Heaven and Earth that compares the body to a garden. Chinese medicine sees the body as a garden; something that needs to be tended and nurtured. You must water a garden, pull weeds and be mindful of pests for your garden to thrive. You must look at your garden every day so that you can detect subtle changes and make adjustments so that your garden will flourish.

In the West, the body is seen more as a machine. Parts break and must be fixed or replaced. It is a reductionist model, reducing the body to parts, that instead of working together are seen in isolation. We tend to wait until something "breaks" before we seek out a mechanic to do the needed repairs. This is one of the fundamental differences between the Eastern and Western models. In the West, we tend to wait until we are diagnosed with a disease before we seek out treatment, and in the Eastern model, we are learning to take care of ourselves on every level so that we can stay healthy so sickness never develops. Chinese medicine is a medicine of prevention.

Chinese Medicine - The Medicine of Prevention

The thing that many people don't know about Chinese medicine is that it is not just going to have acupuncture for a headache, or when your allergies flare up - it teaches a way of life, or better yet - a way of LIVING. In acupuncture school, we are all taught the acupuncture points and their functions, but this is only a fraction of the overall picture. We are mostly looking at the entire body and its relationship to the environment. We are also looking at the body and its various parts in relation to each other. In the garden, if you tend it every day you see which plants are happy and which ones are struggling. You can see which ones need fertilizer and which ones are getting too much sun. It is the same with the body. If we are paying attention, we can feel the subtleties happening inside, if we have an excess liver, a deficient spleen or a disturbance in our shen. This kind of attunement is possible, and vital to being as healthy and balanced as we would all like to be. The thing is, that we have to learn how. And this is what Chinese medicine teaches.

This learning, or teaching - the sharing of information - is the job of the acupuncturist. That is the entire intention of Chinese Medicine Living and why I started it in the first place. It is not to hand over your health to someone else, it is to participate and empower everyone to achieve the healing, health, and happiness they want because they can have it.

How To Stay Healthy and Prevent Illness

The wonderful thing about the Chinese medicine approach to health is that it is all-encompassing. You are not just your body, you are so much more! You are spirit, emotions, energy, light - they are all part of you. You are also flesh, bones, muscles, and tendons, and all must be maintained so that you remain healthy. Every aspect is important, they all matter. The intake process of the acupuncturist or practitioner of Chinese medicine is comprehensive and extremely thorough. The theory is that we are trying to paint a picture of the entire organism because every part is connected to every other part, nothing exists in isolation. If you have a headache, we do not just look at the head, we must look at the entire body in all its aspects. The headache is only the symptom, we must determine the main cause. The other reason is that we are treating the root problem and not the symptoms. This is at the core of Chinese medical theory. Any illness that manifests is seen as a symptom of a deeper problem, and that is what we are trying to correct. People sometimes wonder, what if they have many symptoms? Do you treat them all at the same time or can you treat them all at once? This situation depends on the severity of the symptom. If it is acute and causing distress to the patient, then we treat the symptom immediately and then treat the root afterwards. If the symptoms are causing discomfort, then both symptom and root would be treated at the same time, and if the symptoms are not causing distress, then the root would be treated, and once the root is discovered and corrected, the symptoms simply disappear. This is one of the reasons why Chinese medicine treatments are so effective. They are individualized treatments, seeking out the root of the problem and correcting it. It is not treating a headache, it is treating YOUR headache by figuring out why you are having them.

Why Emotions Matter


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A thorough exploration of the emotions is of vital importance for every patient. Sometimes someone will come in with problems they see as reasonably superficial and when I get to the part about the emotions they ask "what difference does that make? What could that possibly have to do with having stomachaches?" And this is my answer. It could have everything to do with your stomachaches and everything else that is going on with you. Emotions are a huge factor in our health and Chinese medicine takes them very seriously. They are as important to the practitioner of Chinese medicine as the virus you caught in a third world country or the chronic asthma you have been suffering with since you were a child. In my opinion, the emotions are responsible for a huge percentage of all the imbalances I see in clinic, and that is why they really matter.

Living in Harmony with Nature


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People used to live in complete harmony with the world around them. After the development of agriculture, we began to break this connection, and instead of living in harmony with nature, we began to dominate and control it. People were aware of subtle changes in weather and were deeply connected to animals, the seasons and the planet. The natural world governed behaviour; what people ate and when as well as eating what was in season. This is the way our bodies were designed and evolved over thousands of years, and how we could best stay healthy and ward off disease. Things like the weather, the ebb and flow of the seasons and the migration of animals were all a vital part of life, health, and survival.

In the present day, this connection has largely been severed. We suffer and die from diseases at an unprecedented rate. Many of us sit in front of computers for many hours a day and eat foods that are highly processed and full of unnatural chemicals. Going outside is something to "do" and not our natural state as it once was. Our relationship with nature and the planet is no longer harmonious and mutually beneficial, human beings live unnatural lives and get sick and die from many diseases that did not affect our ancestors.

Chinese medicine teaches a way of living, and that is to live as close to nature as possible. Eating with the seasons, rising early in the summer months and spending time outside being active, eating more cooling foods, and sleeping more and turning energies more inwards in the colder months, eating warming foods and conserving energies. It is simple, and it works well to keep us healthy so that disease doesn't have a chance to develop.

Food as Medicine 

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Food is perhaps the most important aspect of good health. There is a lot of information and therefore confusion about how and what to eat. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there about foods, diets, what is harmful and what is beneficial, so it is understandable that nutrition is a huge and confusing subject for many. Chinese medicine uses food as medicine. Food is something you put into your body every day, so eating well is the best way to stay healthy and avoid disease.

There is a huge amount of evidence that diet alone can reverse many of the most devastating diseases in Western society - heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The trick is not to wait until you get a diagnosis of one of these diseases to take action. Eating well is something that you can do every day, at every meal. Chinese medicine sees foods as having a thermal nature, or temperature. Along with your constitution (you may be a hot or cold person), you can add or take away foods that will help keep you balanced. The key is to be constantly paying attention so that you can adjust accordingly. You must listen to your body.

Listen to Your Body

listen to your body : Chinese Medicine Living

This is perhaps the thing that, in my experience, we are missing the most. I fully believe that the body has an intelligence that far exceeds the one we attribute to our brains. Your body is a miracle. It is a miracle of healing. There are stories about this healing from all over the world. Your body wants to be healthy and heal from illness, you must only give it what it needs to do so. But you must listen. It is always trying to communicate with you. Take the example of pain. This is a communication tool used by the body to tell you that something is wrong. Instead of listening, doctors prescribe painkillers so that we don't feel it. We don't want to feel pain, but it is the body's way of trying to get your attention. There are many, many ways that the body communicates, but we have largely lost the ability to listen. So many times I have patients who have been diagnosed with illnesses like MS, cancer, heart disease and are completely shocked when their doctors tell them they are sick. Once we speak and I learn of their history, be it medical, emotional or psychological it is usually obvious that there were signs, many, many signs before there was a diagnosis of one of these serious diseases.

We live in a world where we are overworked, underslept, in debt and stressed out. Many of us feel we do not have the luxury of listening to our bodies because we have to go to work so that the mortgage can be paid, or the children can go to school. We push ourselves harder and harder and our health - both physical and spiritual, suffers. It's not easy. But it is WORTH it. Deep down we all have that sense, that gut feeling that we know when something is wrong. Something is out of balance. We need more sleep, we need to eat better. This is your body speaking to you. It wants you to be healthy and to live a long, happy life. It only wants you to listen.

 


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