At some point we will all suffer ill-health, but for the majority of us it will fortunately be minor. What it will mean however is that we will probably need to seek professional help on the journey to recovery. However, there is always the view that prevention is better than cure, and if we could all improve our general health and wellbeing both physically and mentally, then we would need less reliance on outside sources.
Here we look at the practice of self-healing, specifically through the practice of Qi Gong. Of course this will not replace the need for professional help in the appropriate instances, but Qi Gong can help us look after our mind, body and spirit better. Given that we are all seemingly under a lot more strains and stresses in the World, and subject moreover to a higher and more demanding pace of life, any little help should be welcomed. So if the thought of self-healing is of interest, read on for more.
What Is It?
Qi Gong originates from China and is a basis for self-healing. It is the cornerstone of Chinese medicine, where Qi means breath, life, or energy and Gong to cultivate.
Most will have heard of Yin and Yang, the balance between the two. Unless Qi flows around the body smoothly there will be areas of Yin, too little energy, and areas of Yang, too much, and this imbalance is believed to be the cause of conditions and diseases. Though some may look to mock the belief, they should also remember that these beliefs have been held for thousands of years and have successfully treated many patients. It is worth therefore putting aside any pre-held misconceptions or cynicism, at least in the short term.
Focus is given especially to breathing, and whilst we can all claim to be masters of breathing (as in we’ve been doing it all our lives), many of us do not get the full benefits from breath that we could. Deep and proper breathing helps circulation, slows the heart and relaxes the mind meaning that you will foster a mental and physical wellbeing from relaxation and lower levels of stress. Of course we have all heard the phrase “take a deep breath”.
Further divisions in Qi Gong can be made between the physical, mental or meditative and martial, will the latter being the basis of many Martial Arts. It is clear therefore that there are many benefits that are to be gained from proper practice of this self-healing art.
There are many documented benefits from the practice of self-healing. It goes beyond simply exercise or sports. It combined movement, meditation, breathing and the interaction of the whole body with the demands made of it. It improves the functionality of many aspects of the physical body as well as of the mind. The problems of mental health have only recently been identified and are still yet to receive the same levels of attention that are given to the physical body, but this is changing. You can be physically fit but lack mental fitness, meaning that you are not able to function properly. Just as you’d hit the gym to improve your body, you need to focus also on the mind. One of the true benefits of self-healing is that it can work both at the same time. If you do not like the term self-healing, think of it instead as a lifestyle choice, one that centres on the whole body, mind and spirit. Doing this may open your own mind to the ideas a little more.
Having practised and engaged a little more with the lifestyle change you should soon start to notice improvements in different areas, all of which can be attributed to the exercises that you have undertaken. You’ll probably see improvements to the following:-
- Respiratory and circulation
- Posture and balance
- Increased energy, which is clearly needed by many in today’s world
- Better sleep – to complement the above
- Improved memory, focus and recollection
- Reduced stress – the harm that stress can cause both physically and mentally are already well known, so any reduction in the levels of stress should be welcomed with open arms
- Improved digestion and a better immune system
- Better strength and flexibility.
These are some of the recognised benefits that can be felt, there are more and individuals will have their own experiences through their practices. It is by no means a definitive list. If you are therefore feeling stressed, depressed or anxious in physical pain or generally exhausted, you should see the benefits. You will function better cognitively and physically, and be more resilient to all that life may throw at you, meaning that you’ll lose less time away from work, or life in general. A better physical and mental state will ensure also that you can achieve your full potential in all that you do and moreover will permit you to do more.
We have already documented the healing power of practicing self-healing through qi-gong. There may still however be a doubt amongst some that the same can work, or if it has for others, that it won’t for them. But this is pretty much the same attitude that people take to any lifestyle changes. There is always an adverse reaction whenever any change is suggested. There is a natural reticence towards change in general. But if you are not happy where you are, then perhaps it is the best thing to change what you do, and give something else a chance. Just as you might change your diet and exercise routine if you have gained weight and want to lose it again, why not change how you cope with problems such as tiredness or stress? It may not work for everyone, but that shouldn’t rule it out for all! Until you try something properly, you’ll never be able to form an honest and accurate view on the same – so what’s stopping you?
If you are looking to make a change physically, mentally, or even spiritually, then it may be for you. If you want to experience the “feeling” of qi flowing better around your body and mind, then this too can be achieved. Not only will you learn to help yourself on a physical and mental plain, but you may also attain the benefits on a martial level – the ability to protect yourself through self-defence and the added confidence and peace of mind that this might give you. This doesn’t have to mean impactful exercise on the body, but a way of improving your flexibility, muscle tone and appearance without the pain of a traditional workout!
There are a lot of positives when it comes to Qi Gong and the art of self-healing. But you should always be mindful of who you choose to teach you the art. In the same way that you would learn anything new, you’ll have to have a respect for your teacher, and this will have to be earned by them. Whilst it is not encouraged to be overly sceptical but rather open to ideas, there is nothing wrong with a little inquisitive questioning to satisfy yourself that they are the teacher for you. There are many retreats available to learn the skills, so be mindful of genuine reviews and comments surrounding any you might consider attending. Like anything, the skill of the teacher is to transfer their knowledge to you in a manner and pace that fits the student. If you feel you’re not learning enough, or that things are moving too quickly, then of course consider making a change. You need the right teacher for you – and this is even more important when you are paying for the education.
Hopefully, by now you’ll have accepted that self-healing is not a strange concept, simply a better set of lifestyle choices, one perhaps being the practice of Qi Gong. It isn’t as mystical conundrum that you’ll fail to understand, it is just a set of practices surrounding the calming and focus of the breath. Forget what you already think you know about breathing, and start your journey with an open mind. In so doing you are opening yourself up to a new world of possibilities for which you’ll be in the best state to take advantage of the same. So, take a deep breath and jump in.