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Analysis of the Principal of Health Qigong
  It is wide acknowledged that Health Qigong can build our bodies. But what are the reasons behind it? What’s the difference between Health Qigong and the gymnastics of “stretching arms and bending waist”? Moreover, how can it help to cure diseases? Some people don’t believe that Health Qigong is healing, while others thought they don’t need medication after practicing Health Qigong. Are these sayings scientifically reasonable? As a lover of Health Qigong, I had inspirations from my practice, and I’m going to discuss and analysis the principal of Health Qigong from a modern scientific point of view.
  Health Qigong aims to activate body muscles, skeletons, joints and all kinds of soft tissues through body guidance. The energy generated during movements can stimulate inner body and microcirculation tissues at the end of bodies. Health Qigong is especially useful for those who rarely intend to practice with internal organs. It needs to be pointed out that as one of the characteristics of Health Qigong, practicers need to synchronize their minds while doing body guidance.
The so-called mind in Health Qigong is not daydreaming, superstition, or some kind of “exceptional ability”. It asks practicers to unintentionally pay attention to observing the feeling and change of body tissues in a quiet and slow status (Qi status). That is to say, the major function of mind is to stimulate and exercise nervous tissues of related body areas, and to achieve organic micro-activation and flowing of brain and the nerve cells, nerve fibers and nerve pathway being exercised. It is also known as “active micro-stimulation of nerve reflex”. A more important key function of the dynamic exercise of Health Qigong is to use a unique way to transport generated energy to deep inside of body with the help of body movements, so that the exercise result of activating internal micro-circulation tissues can be achieved. There are only two secret methods of this dynamic exercise of Qigong, which is “slow” and “flexible”. That is to say, the movement of body needs to be slow and flexible. “Flexible” means you need to be soft with certain strength. For example, the movements of hands and arms need to reach the “farthest” when pulling and stretching, and the energy generated from limbs and muscles of waist and back needs to be transported deep down in your body. Of course, in order not to damage body tissues, you have to be “soft” while “flexible”. That is to say, your movement shouldn’t be too stiff and too strong. It has to be a combination of flexible and soft.
  Why “slow”? As I mentioned above, we normally focus on speed when exercising. What we are pursuing is “fast”. However, strenuous exercise of bodies is not completely suitable for the holistic health of the elderly from a scientific point of view. During the strenuous exercise of bodies, our sympathetic nerves will become extremely stimulated. At the moment, all the blood from organs with flow to support the hyper tensed area, which will affect the balance of the body. This is too much to take for elder people for a long time. Adopting dynamic exercises of slow motions will comparatively avoid the drawback of extreme movement of the body. Why “flexible”? Because flexible and extreme movements can fully utilize the strength generated from bodies to achieve inner transportation and micro-circulation stimulation.
  The purpose and means of keep-fit exercises is to help the whole body, especially areas lack of exercise in our daily lives getting proper amount of exercise. Thus, we promote this way to exercise: a way that can make sure every part of our bodies, i.e. every macroscopic and microcosmic tissue getting proper and moderate activity. This activity has to be comprehensive and moderate in order to avoid too much body consumption as well as imbalance and disharmony between the whole and the part and among the parts. Health Qigong exercise is the perfect method that can not only avoid the imbalance and disharmony of the body and exercise tissues of the whole body.
  Why Health Qigong can activate the inner deep of body tissues? The reason is very simple. When we guide our body, muscles and skeleton joints of different areas can generate energy. During the generation of this energy, stretching and pushing practice of muscles, joints and all kinds of soft tissues can exercise these tissues themselves. Apart from that, the energy they generated will transport according to the direction of body movements. These stretching, pulling and pushing movements from top to toe, from toe to top, from outside to inside, from inside to outside, from left to right and from right to left can effectively activate vital essence. Because the movements are relatively slow, the transport of generated energy can slowly go into deep and create chain effect of enhancing the activity of the cells deep inside. Then why speed and strong exercise cannot activate deep inside? That’s not true. But comparatively speaking, speedy and strong exercise is too energy-consuming and too impactive to body balance. These exercises are suitable for most young people who want to strengthen muscles and skeletons. As for the people who aim at health maintenance and anti-aging as well as “treating the disease that has not developed yet, circulating the flow of our body that is stagnant”, it might be not suitable. (Recently I have read the news of the sudden death of a student who was lack of exercise because of strenuous exercise, which causes us to ponder.)
  Health Qigong is also known as “Nei Gong”, because its practice result focuses more on the “inside” rather than “outside”. “Inside” not only intensively exercises nervous tissues of the body, but also all kinds of tissues deep down, especially internal organs with the energy generated by body movements. The viscera are closely attached to our chest and abdominal cavity, which is a whole connected by nerves, vessels and all kinds of soft tissues. Thus, the energy generated when practicers stretching, contracting, pressing and expanding the muscles, ligament, joints and all soft tissues in limbs, waist, back and shoulders with the movements of “lifting”, “lowering”, “opening” and “closing” will transport to deep down of internal organs. It is especially true in the dynamic exercise of the left-right slow rotation focusing on waist muscles and spine. Moreover, it is a dynamic transmission of abdomen with Dan Tian in the front and Ming Men in the back, as well as tissues including liver and gall in the compact area of organs, large and small intestine, stomach, kidney, prostate, bladder and reproductive organ, which is the best massage for abdomen and active drive. It is found out that practicers can more or less feel the active status of their body tissues during practice, such as burping, farting, abdomen ringing etc. Apparently, these phenomena show that body movement strength has an effect on internal organs transmission and cerebral cortex has an effect on internal organs activity. The sound and frequency are more obvious when stomach is moving and making “grunt” sound inside abdomen. When we are practicing in a quiet status, sometimes we can even feel the tension of blood capillary and micro-stimulation (slightly swelling) in our hands, chest and abdomen resulted from the blood flow of micro-circulation. The effect that this series of dynamic exercise has on the “inside” is the goal that Health Qigong tries to achieve – making all human organs and tissues entering a slightly micro-activated and deep activated status. It is also the goal that we want to achieve overall harmony of the body and have a health body with normal self-adjustment function.
  Through the analysis mentioned above, we can now summarize the principle lying behind Health Qigong exercise. Health Qigong is a kind of dynamic exercise; it is a special form of exercise under a specific state (Qigong state). This method combines the movement of the body as well as the mind. To start with, the state of tranquility and inaction created by Qigong provides the inner body with an environment that adjusts itself. In a state like this, the slowness, firmness and softness under the guidance of the mind along with the body movements with a certain strength active the body muscles, bones, ligaments, internal organs and all kinds of soft tissue within the human body through the power transmission of micro-activation. By the whole exercise of general and micro-circulation system, the foundation of human body is strengthened. And the prevention of treatment can be achieved on the basis. Ge Hong, a medical scientist from Wei Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties mentioned in his book Bao Pu zi, "treating the disease that has not developed yet, circulating the flow of our body that is stagnant.” The so called “undeveloped disease” and “stagnant body flow” can be understood as the early stage of the degeneration of inner organs and tissues, which can be called “sub-health”. The emergence of the changes in the body can stem from the accumulation of micro damage caused by overwork, long-standing emotional problems, indulging in alcohol and tobacco, diet imbalance, and so on. The author of the paper believes that, the practice of Qigong can activate each organization within the body, achieve a comprehensive balance between the macro and micro system with the priority given to the prevention of disease, the strengthening of the foundation, achieving self-reparation and natural harmony of the body, thus preventing and curing the disease. Admittedly, such a "treatment" can only be achieved by the accumulation of exercise, healthy working rhythm and a healthy lifestyle over time.
  Why are the terms such as micro-circulation system and circulation organization repeatedly mentioned when talking about Qigong exercise? In fact, the characteristics of Qigong being static, slow, toughening and soft along with the main aim of the exercise lies on the very word "micro". It is this very approach that gives micro body tissue (i.e., each nerve channel, neuron, capillary) an optimal amount of exercise. A normal, healthy microstructure gained by a proper amount of exercise can be said as the basis of overall health of the human body.
  We can easily see that treatments such as acupuncture, cupping, massaging which are typical of the traditional Chinese medicine mainly aim at the activation of the nerve and the micro-circulation of the human body.
  Foreign literature has shown that after fully grown up, the toil in life will gradually wear out telomeres rods --- the genetic material of life. An overworked body leads to excessive wear on genetic material, which affects the human genetic material that we inherited from our parents – "energy"; correspondently, the health of human body is compromised, and the life span is affected eventually. Whereas, if our life material does not engage in working activities, it will also automatically degenerate due to the lack of a sufficient amount of "Qi" and an inadequate use of “energy”. Such is the relationship between Yin and Yang, a kind of dialectical relation.
The aging of the body tissue is inevitable. But a perfect human body should be healthy as a whole, and it gradually ages as a whole in advanced age. If the aging of a particular part of the body, a certain organ, or some organizations due to the lack of activity can be prevented through the constant mild stimulation of micro-circulation system and circulation, more problems can be avoid. Just as an apple, the rot first starts with a point, and then gradually spread to the whole. Although Qigong begins with the "micro", the ultimate aim is the whole. The greatness of the Chinese character lies in the fact that there are always suitable words to wake the world. What does it mean by “checking the micro flaw at the outset "? The "micro" is what we have been talking about. It is quite self- explanatory.
  From my perspective, Health Qigong intervenes with the disease by reactivating and renewing the microcirculation organization to alleviate the complaint. However, it has its limitations. As to most acute or contagious disease, having it treated promptly is advisable. For the chronic disease that is hard to be cured, medicine treatment, Qigong exercise and a healthy way of living would help to restore the health. Solely relying on Qigong is far from enough. For instance, for those people who do not pay attention to what they eat and indulge themselves with food and alcohol constantly, resorting to Qigong alone would not help much. However, the problem can be solved in shorter time when the exercise is combined with life-style adjustment. Moreover, when a body is in a harmonious state resulting from the improvement of microcirculation organization, some disease in an early stage can be cured without extra treating. Although no extra treating is involved, it cannot be said it is totally without treating.
  The research on Health Qigong should be based on the combination of both western and Chinese medical theory. Sufficient attention should be paid to both theoretical research and empirical research with the focus on strengthening the foundation of the human body and achieving a harmonious balance among various systems within the body. Ideally, each blood capillary, nerve pathway and cell can be appropriately exercised in the scientific exercise. Under the serene atmosphere of Qigong practicing, the practiser can enter a state of adjusting the body itself. By engaging in the activities which mildly stimulate the nervous tissue of the body, and by using the energy produced via gentle and flexible body movements(the inhaling and exhaling of the abdomen included) to promote and convey the mild stimulation on the microcirculation organization within the body, complete and effective exercise without negative effect can be achieved, thus fulfilling the aim of strengthening the foundation of the body.
  What does it mean by “strengthening the foundation of the body”? It means creating and achieving a whole state where various systems within our body can function properly; it means a harmonious balance within the general circulation and microcirculation; it means having an adjusting system that functions well, thus possessing the ability to fight against negative influence from the outside world. That is why when facing the same environmental condition such as strong wind, some people will catch a cold while others will not. It boils down to a single word “foundation”. That is the reason why strengthening the foundation of the body is so crucial.
When engaged in Health Qigong activities, we should base on the science instead of superstitions. Do not be deluded by the claim of its supernatural power and universal use which is against science. At the end of the day, Health Qigong is a kind of exercise which prevents and cures disease with its focus on strengthening the body and preventing disease. Through the strengthening of the foundation, a harmonious state within the body can be achieved. By engaging in more scientific exercise and improving the quality of our lives to make it healthier and more scientific, our body can renew and improve itself, thus fulfill the aim of minimizing the complaint, curing the disease, strengthening our body and prolonging our life.
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