By Chiu-Nan Lai
The term Chi Gong covers Wu-Shu or martial arts, meditation, and the form that combines both movement and meditation for healing. The Chi or life energy with which Chi Gong works, affects both the mind and the body. Besides helping to harmonize the body, it is very useful for balancing the emotions.
In 1981 I first encountered Chi Gong in the parks of Beijing. I remember people with serious illnesses (for example, cancer patients) who were practicing Chi Gong. They were quite light-hearted. It was only after returning to U.S., and through introducing Chi Gong, that I realize how useful it is for balancing emotions. American students practicing Chi Gong release a lot of repressed emotions, including sadness, anger and fear. After these are released, one naturally is happy. Of course Chi Gong’s effect is not limited to balancing emotions. When the life energy is balanced, the body also becomes healthy.
There are at least one hundred forms of Chi Gong. It is best to find a good teacher with whom to study. A very simple form is introduced here; it comes from the preliminary form in Waidangong.
- Stand with feet parallel to the shoulders.
- Relax the muscles behind the knees.
- Bring in the stomach and tighten the muscles around the rectum.
- Look straight ahead and allows the hands to drop on both sides.
- Relax the whole body and raise the index fingers.
- If one has practiced other forms of Chi Gong, the arms will start to vibrate spontaneously. Otherwise, move the wrists up and down in imitation.
- Start with ten minutes, slowly increase to thirty minutes.
- After practice, avoid drinking cold water, contacting cold air or washing. Allow at least 15 to 30 minutes before eating.
For stroke patients, someone can help move the paralyzed arm in the same way. Some have regained the normal functioning of the paralyzed side. Others have shrunk their tumors. Please refer to Chinese Patients Exercise Their Way Back To Health for more information