Welcome to my blog and this official Introduction to my Five Part Series on Acupressure and Qigong! Some of these ideas can be kind of tricky, so my job here will be to dial it all down to a format that makes plenty of sense to you. Let’s get started.
What Is Qi (And How Do You Even Pronounce It?)
These are two good, and important, questions. The second is easier to answer than the first, so we’ll start there. Qi is pronounced like “chee” and is even sometimes spelt chi. In fact, I’ll make this easy for you to remember by always spelling this word as chi instead of qi. (Just so long as you understand the real spelling when you see it used in other sources.)
Based on this information, can you guess how the word Qigong is pronounced? If you guessed “chee-gung”, you are correct! Unlike chi, however, I’m going to make a point of spelling this one correctly (even though you may occasionally see one of its alternative spellings like Qi Gong, Chi Kung, or Chi Gung used in other sources.)
Now, to answer the question of what exactly this chi stuff is, we’re going to need to have a look waaaaaaaay back to the distant history of China. How far back, you ask? Have a look…
An Ancient Science
To be honest, no one knows exactly when chi was first discovered, but it’s believed by many that the discovery itself predates written language itself! So we know that this term represents something truly ancient. But what does it actually mean?
Chi is a very complicated term with many spiritual, energetic, scientific, and even medicinal implications. But for our purposes, we are going to define chi as the animating life force that is the fundamental essence of every living thing. To put it even more simply, chi is vital energy.
This “essential life force” is not unique to Chinese medicine and philosophy, however. In fact, you may already be familiar with chi by one of its other names. In Japan, this same energy is called ki. In India, it is an essential part of yoga and is called prana.
So chi means vital energy. And the Chinese word that we are spelling as "gong" means to cultivate, as in a practice or methodology. So putting the two together, we get Qigong: the intentional cultivation of vital energy.
Personal Energy Management
Based on this definition, you can probably already tell that Qigong holds some secrets worth unveiling, yeah? In fact, this very ancient practice contains the essence of a whole philosophy and even medical system that we now refer to as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
At its most basic, Qigong is a system of personal energy management. The ancient Chinese were actually able to track and document “streams” or “channels” of energy flowing through their bodies and even manipulate these channels to promote healing and right states of mind.
We’ll talk more about this in great detail as we continue through this Five Part Series because, in the end, this is what Qigong and Acupressure are all about!
Similarities To Yoga
As we have already noted, chi is China’s basic equivalent to India’s prana. And since yoga has become so prevalent in the West these past few decades, you may already be somewhat familiar with how systems like yoga work to balance and direct energy (prana) throughout the body.
Qigong is very similar in this way except that many of the forms that you will learn in qigong tend to be much simpler to practice and much easier on the body than yoga. While yoga has become very sexy and appealing to the young and the flexible, it can prove quite intimidating to others.
Not so with Qigong. While the practice can most certainly be catered to a more youthful and challenge-hungry crowd, for the most part, Qigong is meant for people of all ages, utilizing simple practices that focus on mindfulness and technique in place of spine-bending postures.
I might be a little biased, but I actually believe that Qigong is even more accessible and more useful long-term than yoga, and I look forward to the day when the strip malls are peppered with Qigong studios and groups of early-morning Qigong practitioners dot grassy fields in every park.
A System of Interrelations
Remember how I said that chi is the fundamental essence of every living thing (“every living thing” including breath, and water, and food, and even rocks)? This most basic fact lays the very foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine as we know it today.
Because of this energetic essence at the core of everything that we see and experience, Chinese medicine is based on a complex, almost infinite, system of interrelations. (At our very cores, we are directly linked to every-thing around and outside of us.)
It’s almost as if the entire world and all of our collective experiences of it were one big shimmering web of energetic interaction. It’s really a beautiful concept, isn’t it? Even more interesting is the way in which energy (invisible) and matter (visible and “solid”) depend on one another. (More on that soon!)
Finally, because of this basic foundation, all the different practices within Chinese medicine are interrelated as well. Acupuncture, Acupressure, Qigong, Tai Chi… All of these are similar but different - designed to address the same basic needs using unique and varied methods.
Don’t Worry - It’s Science!
Now, I totally understand if all of this sounds kind of crazy at first. But over the past several decades, advances in medicine and science have led to remarkable discoveries proving out many of these very ancient beliefs. In fact, we’ve even invented equipment that allows us to see those “channels” of energy mentioned earlier! (But more on that later.)
For now, let’s take a moment to review some of what we’ve learned.
Terms & Definitions
The animating life force that is the fundamental essence of every living thing; vital energy
Japanese equivalent to chi; life force; vital energy
Indian equivalent to chi; life force; vital energy
The intentional cultivation of vital energy
EVERY LIVING THING
Within this context, these words refer to everything that we are, see, and experience including both physical elements like breath, water, food, and rocks as well as emotional, mental, and spiritual elements such as thoughts
Hungry For More?
As you will see as we move through this series, what we’ve addressed today constitutes only the very smallest tip of the iceberg. If you’re seriously intrigued, then we should talk! Simply click the button below to book an appointment with me.