What if you could improve your health and vitality simply through the control of breath and energy? Qigong aims to accomplish that formidable task naturally and noninvasively.
The following DVD was sent to me for review and analysis from a martial perspective. I may technically be a "hard stylist" as a karateka, but I am frequently amazed at how much internal energy and technique is required to achieve higher levels of karate effectiveness. The history of karate itself is laden with Chinese influence. That's why I came to this video happily, looking forward to any insight it might be able to provide both in terms of healing and to the instrinsic aspects of training.
What is Qigong For Healing?
Qigong (chee-gung) is a Chinese healing art that focuses on the energy and breath circulations within the body. Much like Kyusho of Okinawa, Qigong operates using the Meridian Theory and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).
This video, hosted by Lisa B. O'Shea, guides the viewer through some of the fundamental concepts and forms used in Qigong practice. O'Shea is a direct student of renowned Gongfu and Taijiquan practitioner Yang Jwing Ming.
What's In The Video?
This DVD provides a significant amount of content, and is broken up in the following manner:
- Introduction to Qigong and the idea of energy
- Sensing qi (chi, aka energy) in the body
- Utilizing breathing and visualization to promote healthy energy storage and flow
- Assessing qi blockage and removing flow interference
- Dantian meditation (siphoning energy into the core)
- Rising lotus meditative forms
- Self Healing practices
- Partner healing practices
With over three hours of instruction, the viewer gets a thorough explanation and demonstration of each concept. O'Shea gears her discussions toward the lay person, not becoming too wrapped up in the idea of meridian points and cycle details. She utilizes common metaphors and examples to explain what the body should be feeling as healing is promoted.
How Did The Video Stack Up?
All in all, I enjoyed the in-depth discussion of how energy can be used to heal the body. In the martial arts we spend a significant amount of time looking at the destruction of the body and can neglect building it back up. The result is often injury and early retirement.
That being said, there are a few caveats that you should be aware of before launching into this kind of video. First, the host takes her time with explanations. This is especially true in the introduction. If you are pumped to get to the meat of the matter, you'll find the pace a little slow. Of course, that's probably valuable since the introspective body analysis of Qigong requires quiet and patience.
Furthermore, you'll want to assess your level of comfort with the idea of "chi". I tend to frame my own martial study in the context of psychology and physics. When talking about energy transmission I generally refer to the kind of energy the body can produce and transmit into a target via mass and acceleration. However, O'Shea discusses a more universal kind of energy; the kind you can pull in from the air around you and sink into your tanden. She discusses ways you can use your hands, posture, and mind to move energy around the body, and even extract bad energy when it is stagnant.
To some of you, this will be old hat. To others, it may be the kind of Eastern thinking you're interested in. Yet others will be turned off by the esoterica. That's all fine; assess your likely compatibility with Qigong accordingly.
Qigong for Healing is something I'm pleased to have in my library. It's a friendly and pleasant approach to the internal side of training. I think practitioners of all skill levels can approach this DVD and get value out of it. If you think it might be right for you, check it out here.