Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tai chi and chi-kung exercises for health

In the old days in China, parents sent their weaker kids to learn tai-chi or chi-exercises practices, like Dao Yin (導引) chi kung or meditation, from, hopefully, proficient masters.  Most of these kids later became strong and some even picked up the trade and became masters teaching the art themselves one day.  In the theory of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a person becomes ill because of his body's inability to move toxic blockages from his body.  Blockages at vital points will lead to malfunction to surrounding organs or organs that need that particular passage to transport vital as well as toxic materials to and fro. When an organ gets problem, its host gets problem. Whatever the cause, the solution is always to activate the body's internal life force (roughly equivalent to our modern concept of "immune system") to clear the blockage and to re-balance the body.  When a person is diagnosed as sick, herbal medicine or acupuncture will normally be used to clear the blockages.  For minor ailments, point or channel message, by hand or by hand aided with tools or heat generated from substance burning, will be used (I will write more about some DIY methods in this area in future for my readers' benefit).  This is an simplified version of what TCM is all about.   Chi-exercise, in theory, is outside this curing system to re-balance a sick body. Chi-exercise can therefore be regarded as an effort to maintain the balance of a healthy body, and to prevent it from getting into major re-balance that required the services of a TCM doctor or acupuncturist.

Some people are more prompt to illness due to genetic reasons or a body weakened by major disease.  This is where tai-chi, Dao Yin and other chi-related exercises come into the picture.  Tai-chi can also be classified into a form of Dao Yin which include all exercise of movement that can stir up chi to travel along the channels and clear the blockages.  Whereas TCM is disease-specific, exercise is broad-spectrum.  When a TCM doctor feels your wrist's pulse pattern, he will diagnose what are blocked inside your body, and he will prescribe necessary treatment plan.  Exercise, on the hand, acts on preventing blockages in the future.  Look at the issue from this perspective, the two are competitors!

Chi-exercises can be divided into two categories: One is stationary, like zhan zhuang and seated meditation, and one is moving, like Dao Yin, tai-chi or the many moving chi-kung forms.  All with one singular objective: to create chi and let it move and spread to various parts of the body.  And when a practitioner has advanced to a certain stage in his practice (i.e. after certain practice threshold), his body will be conditioned into generating a certain level of chi going round his body even during the hours that he is not practicing.  His health can thereafter be maintained at a stronger and stronger level of chi-balancing power coming from more and more effective practice. It is called progress in one's practice. With stronger chi-balancing power, a person' body will be stronger and can better resist any attempt to imbalance his system, not that he will definitively be free from any illness (as some mythical belief in the ability of a person to be exempted from flu after accomplishing the micro-cosmic orbit circulation, both in our verbal and written tradition).

The interesting thing about chi is that if one continues to do it daily, say for one to two hours per day, even the weakest body can be steadily transformed into a strong body, though the rate of improvement differs from person to person.  It is therefore almost like a sure-win game for the weaker people, middle age or even people at advanced age.  The flip side is that if one practices only sparingly, like only once every week, the result might be practically zero for many.  And needless to say, one needs to learn the stuff and learn it effectively.  No mythical stuff and no magic here.  We need to learn how to swim as well as to learn how to ride a bicycle.  Who told you chi-exercises can be learned at first sight without putting into respectable efforts? 

A common scene in Hong Kong's public parks in the morning


  1. Experience and the result of the research show to us the very good health influence. Is very good for white-collar peoples in the middle age. If you make it for a long time you prevent from the many diseases. It decrease the sugar in blood and slow down the osteoporosis. It has great influence to your heard and all cardio-vascular system. In the last think you improve your brain. tai chi benefits

  2. Indeed it is nice to see more people practising and promoting the healing art of tai chi.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...