Qigong is literally internal energy work, a means of gaining good health through certain stances used in conjunction with breathing methods; it’s an integral part of one’s internal martial art training like Taijiquan. There are 2000 different types of qigong, broken down into three categories: Self Healing, Martial Arts, and Medical.
Qigong is qualitative because of the type and correctness of the practice that is necessary to achieve ones goal in self healing, martial arts, or medical discipline. This is why discipline is key in qigong like any other training exercise as an art or science: Practice makes Perfect.
For example, at the gyms, we’re encouraged to have personal trainers guide us in order to discipline our exercises, get the most out of the gym, and achieve our fitness goals.
The same is true of qigong. In fact, the theory within the practice of qigong is more complex than fitness science; the scholarly understanding of qigong is more likened to understanding music theory. Within each genre of music, there are different styles of music.
This is also true of qigong: Within each type of martial art, there is a particular style of qigong conducive to that form. Within a qigong medical practice, there are different styles of qigong such as Neigong. Within self healing exercises, there are different styles of qigong that are practiced which are conducive to the malady that is being suffered.
In self help, for example, there’s Qigong for Stress Relief and Qigong for Cleansing – Detox. These are consumer friendly instructional DVDs that apply different styles of qigong according to the maladies of stress and toxification, respectively. These are only 2 styles of qigong out of more than 2000.
The Mainstream Perspective on Complementary Medicine
For this reason, I find the “official” western perspective of qigong disturbing. According to mainstream “experts” in complementary medicine, all qigong is the same, so it doesn’t matter which type you practice. According to their logic, you should get positive benefits for any particular malady no matter what type of qigong you practice, or else it doesn’t work.
Here is a 24 June 2009 NIH report that verifys this perspective:
Internal Qigong for Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review.
Division of Standard Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea; Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Exeter, United Kingdom.
The objective of this systematic review was to assess the evidence for the effectiveness of internal qigong as a treatment option for pain conditions. Nineteen databases were searched through to February 2009. Controlled clinical trials testing internal qigong in patients with pain of any origin assessing clinical outcome measures were considered. Trials using any type of internal qigong and control intervention were included. The selection of studies, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by 2 reviewers. Four randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and 3 controlled clinical trials met all inclusion criteria. One RCT suggested no significant difference for low back pain compared with electromyographic biofeedback. Two RCTs failed to show effects of internal qigong in neck pain compared with exercise therapy and waiting list control. One RCT suggested that qigong is inferior to aerobic exercise in patients with fibromyalgia. There are few RCTs testing the effectiveness of internal qigong in the management of pain conditions. Collectively, the existing trial evidence is not convincing enough to suggest that internal qigong is an effective modality for pain management.
PERSPECTIVE: This review of controlled clinical trials focused on the effects of internal qigong, a self-directed energy healing intervention involving movement and meditation. Collectively, the existing trial evidence is not convincing enough to suggest that internal qigong is an effective modality for pain management. Future studies should be of high quality with particular emphasis on designing an adequate control intervention.
Mechanistic Minds versus Energy Healing
OK, the report keeps calling it “internal qigong.” Qigong is mostly internal exercises – you can bet even money on this. The part that is disturbing is “Trials using any type of internal qigong and control intervention were included.”
Therefore, these “randomized clinical trials” were not controlled studies. The report says any type regardless if it is for self help, martial arts, or medical application. The report says nothing about who taught the patients, how they were taught, what exactly they were taught. The report says nothing on how disciplined the practice was.
If someone is suffering from pain, and it’s the first time for their learning qigong, then they’re going to have a very difficult if not impossible time to practice qigong. Qigong in any form takes great discipline that must be cultivated over time. The NIH report says nothing about how much time they took with these pain sufferers. I have so many questions because of all the gaps left by this report:
- How long did they practice each day?
- Were they doing the qigong exercises correctly?
- Were they doing the self help qigong exercises conducive to their particular malady?
The questions keep bubbling up in my mind because there is no quality in that NIH report. Qigong and any other disciplined exercise is all about quality. This is an OMG moment! This report can easily be mistaken as something written by high school burnouts because it lacks so much quality!
I’m sorry, but there have been a number of austere western points of view that have been brutal with me. I’m just returning the favour. I still remember years ago when I wanted to teach Yang Style Taijiquan at my local city recreation center, I got a hold of a rec director who said, “we already have a tai chi instructor.”
Then I said, “I know, you have a Chen Style Taijiquan instructor. I would like to offer Yang Style Taijiquan, so you can expand your offerings to your customers.” Then she said, “we already have a tai chi instructor…”
You see, not only did this person have no understanding of the differences between the styles of Taijiquan, she didn’t care. In fact, I got a lot of the same attitude from a number of “directors” who believed that only one style of Taijiquan is good enough for them.
By the same token, none of the PhD’s who ran that “Internal Qigong for Pain Conditions” study cared about what style of qigong they used. Their logic tells them that “any type” is good enough for them.
This is Mechanistic Thinking. Mechanistic thinking doesn’t apply to energy oriented healing exercises. Energy oriented healing like qigong is beyond the comprehension of a mechanistic mindset. Mechanistic Minds will always fail that which it does not comprehend.
Please remember that qigong requires your devotion to exacting discipline. The psychoneuroimmunologists realise the difficulty of getting patients into alternative medicine programs exactly because they require far more discipline than most ill people have.
Qigong requires commitment and devotion to accomplishing a particular goal using energy breath work. Please keep an open mind and an open heart towards your own healing. When you do this, the qigong exercises come easily and naturally.
Thanks for your time.
Healing Thoughts, HealingMindN
Randolph Fabian Directo