Introduction of qigong in West Germany

Author: Hildenbrand Gisela
Affiliation: West Germany [1]
Conference/Journal: 1st World Conf Acad Exch Med Qigong
Date published: 1988
Other: Pages: 159 , Word Count: 439

The first detailed descriptions of 'Therapeutic Gymnastics' and 'Health Preservation Exercises' used in TCM have been published by Dudgeon (1895), Hübotter (1929) and Maspero (1937). But this does not mean that qigong has been practised in those days. In the last 30 years, however, the interest of Western physicians in TCM has grown tremendously, especially acupuncture therapy is used now by many German doctors. From their visits to China, Germans received a deep impression of the Chinese people practising Taijiquan and qigong in the early morning hours. The statement that these exercises are not only for health preserving but also for treating severe diseases seemed to be surprising. Since qigong has its roots in the concept of TCM as well as ancient Chinese philosophy, it has been difficult for German physicians to understand what qigong is about. Some translated qigong just with 'breathing exercises,' some have been confused about the huge variety of qigong exercises.

Fortunately the scientific exchange among the Chinese and German physicians made a big progress and so some German physicians have the opportunity to study with excellent qigong masters. Referring to the academic exchange there was the 'Week of Chinese Medicine, Munich 1984', where Prof. Jiao Guorui gave excellent lectures and demonstrations on qigong therapy. In 1988 Prof. Jiao Guorui was invited to the University of Bonn for a two months research visit. During this time he gave lectures at the Universities of Colon, Bonn and Mainz. On the Medical Conference on Natural Healing about 70 German physicians practised the '15 postures of Taiji' developed by Prof. Jiao Guorui. Beside the '15 postures of Taiji' the most known qigong exercises in Germany are '8 Brocade exercises', '18 Exercises' and 'Crane-Qigong'. Certainly we are at the very beginning with the introduction of qigong to our medical system. But the first experiences with the application of qigong therapy are very encouraging.

There are some difficulties to apply qigong therapy to German patients. It is not easy for them to understand that an exercise which seems to be very simple, for example, 'standing like a pile' can cure diseases. It is hard to believe that the same exercise can influence different diseases. It is difficult to practise qigong with the required persistence and patience not looking for quick results. But many patients who overcome the first difficulties gain confidence in qigong very quickly because they can experience the improvements in health and well-being. Some case reports of patients who suffered of chronic diseases (like stomach disorder, lumbago, constipation, asthma and neurasthenia) for many years show that the Western physicians can learn a great deal from the Chinese cultural heritage of qigong therapy.