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A Prescription for Qigong

by Susan Meischeid


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is more than herbs, teas, acupuncture needles and pulses. For over thousands of years doctors practicing TCM have also been prescribing exercises to “medicate”, remedy and care for the immensely important energy body and spiritual self; which in turn significantly decreases the occurrence of illness and disease. The practices they prescribe are known as Qigong (Chi Gung). Qigong is a self-cultivation practice that is among some of the oldest forms of natural healthcare. It is a series of moving meditations and visualizations that open one’s energy body and thereby the physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies to healing, revitalization and harmony.

It is a proven fact that everything is energy. Matter, of course, is energy vibrating at different frequencies to form a physical object or even a color. In this same way, thoughts and feelings are also composed of energy vibrating at various frequencies; which make them very much real entities and powerful components within us and the universal flow in general. Many people are beginning to realize this truth and the use of these facts through books like The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Developing a Qigong practice can take it even further! For instance, TCM utilizes the 5 Element Theory; which permeates every aspect of life and the universe whether we know it or not. It effects the particular energy of every individual. It effects personality tendencies, the foods we like and dislike, the manner in which we perceive and interact with the world around us, the climatic and atmospheric locations that we are gravitated towards, the seasons we enjoy, even the colors we prefer. The 5 Elements that are considered are water, wood, fire, earth, and metal, whereby the elements both create one another as well as control each other. The theory is quite evident in nature. Take for example the relationship of water to wood; water feeds wood, water is essential for the growth of trees and other plant life. The same is true of all things, including the body physically and emotionally. To help convey this a little clearer, here are some properties for each of the 5 elements. Water is still, restful energy, like a bear hibernates in the winter; which is the season associated with water, as it is still, quiet, and cold. In the body, water is regulated by the organs of the kidneys and bladder. When there is an imbalance of water in the energy body, emotions like fear and doubt pervade, versus when water is balanced providing us with virtues such as gentleness and wisdom. The colors and flavor associated with the water element are black, dark blue and salty foods. Water has the capacity to control fire both in the body and in nature. Water also feeds wood. Wood is new growing energy. It is a time for new beginnings, like the season that it is associated with, spring. Wood governs flexibility and rigidity as a tree will either sway with the wind or break, being unable to bend with it. In the body wood is found in the organs of the liver and gallbladder. The emotions that manifest when wood is out of balance are anger and frustration. On the other hand, when in balance, forgiveness and kindness are present. The color and flavor for wood is green and sour. It has the ability to control earth and feed fire. Fire is a spreading, full blown energy, much like the full blown heat felt in the summer months, which is the fire season. When energy of the organs of the heart and small intestine are out of balance emotions such as hatred, impatience, and cruelty are felt, rather than patience, joy, and love when fire is in balance. Fire is associated with the color red and bitter tastes. In the body energetically as well as in nature, fire controls metal as the heat of the fire melts the metal. Fire also has the capacity to feed earth, burning the wood to create more earth substance. Earth is a stable, grounded energy. It is the core and embodiment of all of the elements; therefore it has no specific season but can be felt through all of them. Earth is generally a motherly, nurturing energy. Emotionally, when out of balance, anxiety, worry and disharmony are experienced. When in balance, self-care is present and harmony is felt over all. The organs associated with earthly energy are the stomach and the spleen. Earth is manifested through earthy tones, as well as the color yellow, and through sweet foods. Earth can control water, being a material able to direct water and/or contain it as seen in rivers and lakes. It also feeds metal, being a place where minerals develop. Metal is the energy associated with the endings and letting go. In this way, it is the energy of the autumn months, the trees are letting go of the leaves that they grew in the spring in the summer. As it is sometimes difficult to let go, sorrow and grief are often the emotions felt when metal is out of balance. Contrastingly, courage and strength are present when metal is in balance. The organs where metal manifests are the lungs and large intestine, as they govern exhalation and elimination. The color for metal is white, and the flavor is pungent. Metal has the ability to control wood by cutting it down. It also has the ability to nourish water with its minerals. This brings us back to water and the cycle of the 5 elements is complete, yet continuous.

There is much more information involved and available in TCM, this is just to offer a quick glimpse into the health and harmony that we all have access to if we take some time to cultivate it in our own beings. Qigong is the best medicine for optimal harmony among the 5 elements. Specific movements and visualizations help one experience each element individually and thus, balance that particular element. One can feel fire’s spreading heat in the body; the cool, still energy of the water; the ascending, growth of wood; the descending, empty vastness of metal; and the nurturing harmony of earth in the body. Keeping these elements and energies harmonized with one another, means that no stagnation of undesirable emotions will form in the associated organs or manifest in the body. That being the case, Qigong promotes optimal health of the organs and whole physical, emotional, energetic, and spiritual being, leaving no opportunity for illness or disease to interfere. All of these amazing benefits to take advantage of; medicine and remedies without a single adverse side-effect!

Susan Meischeid, BA CMT

www.susanmeischeid.webs.com


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