Qigong In The West: Physical, Mental And Spiritual Self Care And Health Promotion

Author: Aung SKH
Conference/Journal: 4th World Conf Acad Exch Med Qigong
Date published: 1998
Other: Pages: 212 , Word Count: 354

Departments of Medicine and Family Medicine, Adjunct Professor,
Faculty of Extension University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

In the traditional Chinese medical system Qigong is the central
therapy. Unlike acupuncture which works from the 'outside in' and herbal medicine, which works from the 'inside out,' Qigong works from both directions at once, in terms of both prevention and cure. While in the West Qigong is not as well known as acupuncture or herbal medicine, it has a vitally important role in primary care, especially with respect to self care and health promotion. This role - and responsibility - fits in quite well with the new and growing emphasis in Western societies on health promotion. Qigong may be viewed as one of the vital components of the Western holistic health movement which has been developing over the past two decades and which has resulted in the acceptance of various
'complementary' therapeutic modalities, including acupuncture and herbal medicine. Unlike acupuncture or herbal medicine, however, Qigong requires considerable time, practice and commitment on the part of patients to learn the appropriate exercise series to help enhance their essential vital energy. It, therefore, embodies intelligent, disciplined self care.

Qigong complements the other TCM therapies as well as biomedicine. Since early 1990s I have taught Qigong theory and practice to the general public, health care practitioners and physicians, not only in Canada but also around the world. This is termed Aung Medical Qigong, and it encompasses the Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian approaches, including basic breathing, concentration, phonation and posture/movement, exercises within the context of awareness and appreciation of nature and an attitude of genuine compassion and loving kindness toward all sentient beings. More advanced students are encouraged to take part in Qigong group retreats so that they can cultivate their vital energy from Mother Nature and learn from one another in wilderness surroundings.

The vision behind my Qigong teaching program is that of a country full of healthy, active people practicing Qigong and other beneficial exercises each and every day to enhance their personal well being as well as the quality of life of our whole society.