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Since ancient times, Qigong has been used by the Chinese people as an exercise to preserve health and prevent diseases. It also has a long history of being used as a therapeutical treatment, but Qigong still appears "mysterious" to us. As a traditional Chinese medical doctor, the author has dealt with Qi for more than a decade and has finally distilled a few clear points from his understanding of the vague theory found in the vast resources of the Qigong classics and medical references, as well as from the practice of Qigong exercises and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) treatments. The author feels strongly that now is the time to bring Qigong theory and Qigong research into the arena of modern rational knowledge. His purpose is to correct the distorted ideas which surround the understanding of Qigong and to disconnect them from superstition and mystery (even though we have not yet fully understood them).
What is Qi or Qigong?
Before lifting the mysterious veil of Qi, let us talk about our brain. Human beings have an extremely clever brain equipped with a highly developed nervous system which governs almost all of our sense organs--sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The brain has a sensitive consciousness and thinking ability which controls our actions and behaviors.
Thanks to the clever brain, man has created today's highly developed civilization--highly precise instruments, highly sensitive telecommunications, extremely marvelous computer systems, etc. All of these high-tech developments do bring practical benefits to our daily life, but they cannot solve all the problems for us. Despite all of our advanced medical techniques, death still occurs daily. Diseases are far from under control, and we are continuously facing the challenges of new diseases.
We try to generalize everything by means of abstraction and conceptualization through our logical thinking. However, epistemology between the binary aspects of the subjective world and the objective world do not always match well. It just works like a big net, catching a lot of prey while letting some seemingly insignificant aspects escape.
Let us now turn our sight to the internal body. In spite of the fact that the highly developed nervous system reaches almost every corner of our body, there remain places where little control exists. For instance, sometimes we have difficulty controlling our emotions. When we are overly stimulated with excitement, it is not easy to regain our composure. We feel our heart racing, but there is no way to slow it down. When bacteria invade our body, some systems may react against and reject the invasion, but the brain seems unaware. These facts reveal the brain to be only a part of our body. There are still some bodily functions which we are not conscious of. That is to say, there is some sort of mysterious thing which acts as a regulator between the brain and the other parts of the body which makes man a more complete being.
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