In ancient Chinese society, most emperors respected the scholars and were affected by their philosophy. Doctors were not regarded highly because they made their diagnosis by touching the patient's body, which was considered characteristic of the lower classes in society. Although the doctors developed a profound and successful medical science, they were commonly looked down on. However, they continued to work hard and study, and quietly passed down the results of their research to following generations.
Of all the groups studying Chi Kung in China, the doctors have been at it the longest. Since the discovery of Chi circulation in the human body about four thousand years ago, the Chinese doctors have devoted a major portion of their efforts to studying the behavior of Chi. Their efforts resulted in acupuncture, acupressure or Cavity Press massage, and herbal treatment.
In addition, many Chinese doctors used their medical knowledge to create different sets of Chi Kung exercises either for maintaining health or for curing specific illnesses. Chinese medical doctors believed that doing only sitting or still meditation to regulate the body, mind, and breathing as the scholars did was not enough to cure sickness. They believed that in order to increase the Chi circulation, you must move. Although a calm and peaceful mind was important for health, exercising the body was more important. They learned through their
medical practice that people who exercised properly got sick less often, and their bodies degenerated less quickly than was the case with people who just sat around. They also realized that specific body movements could increase the Chi circulation in specific organs. They reasoned from this that these exercises could also be used to treat specific illnesses and to restore the normal functioning of these organs.
Some of these movements are similar to the way in which certain animals move. It is clear that in order for an animal to survive in the wild, it must have an instinct for how to protect its body. Part of this instinct is concerned with how to build up its Chi, and how to keep its Chi from being lost. We humans have lost many of these instincts over the years that we have been separating ourselves from nature.
Many doctors developed Chi Kung exercises which were modeled after animal movements to maintain health and cure sickness. A typical, well known set of such exercises is "Wuu Chyn Shih" (Five Animal Sports) created by Dr. Jiun Chiam. Another famous set based on similar principles is called "Ba Duann Gin" The Eight Pieces of Brocade). It was created by Marshal Yeuh Fei who, interestingly enough, was a soldier rather than a doctor.
In addition, using their medical knowledge of Chi circulation, Chinese doctors researched until they found which movements could help cure particular illnesses and health problems. Not surprisingly, many of these movements were not unlike the ones used to maintain health, since many illnesses are caused by unbalanced Chi. When an imbalance continues for a long period of time, the organs will be affected, and may be physically damaged. It is just like running a machine without supplying the proper electrical current - over time, the machine will be damaged. Chinese doctors believe that before physical damage to an organ shows up in a patient s body, there is first an abnormality in the Chi balance and circulation. ABNORMAL CHI CIRCULATION IS THE VERY BEGINNING OF ILLNESS AND PHYSICAL ORGAN DAMAGE When Chi is too positive (Yang) or too negative (Yin) in a specific organ's Chi channel, your physical organ is beginning to suffer damage. If you do not correct the Chi circulation, that organ will malfunction or degenerate. The best way to heal someone is to adjust and balance the Chi even before there is any physical problem. Therefore, correcting or increasing the normal Chi circulation is the major goal of acupuncture or acupressure treatments. Herbs and special diets are also considered important treatments in regulating the Chi in the body.
As long as the illness is limited to the level of Chi stagnation and there is no physical organ damage, the Chi Kung exercises used for maintaining health can be used to readjust the Chi circulation and treat the problem. However, if the sickness is already so serious that the physical organs have started to fail, then the situation has become critical and a specific treatment is necessary. The treatment can be acupuncture, herbs, or even an operation, as well as specific
Chi Kung exercises designed to speed up the healing or even to cure the sickness. For example, ulcers and asthma can often be cured or helped by some simple exercises. Recently in both mainland China and Taiwan, certain Chi Kung exercises have been shown to be effective in treating certain kinds of cancer.(*6)
Over the thousands of years of observing nature and themselves, some Chi Kung practitioners went even deeper. They realized that the body's Chi circulation changes with the seasons, and that it is a good idea to help the body out during these periodic adjustments. They noticed also that in each season different organs have characteristic problems. For example, in the beginning of Fall the lungs have to adapt to the colder air that you are breathing. While this adjustment is going on, the lungs are susceptible to disturbance, so your lungs may feel uncomfortable and you may catch colds easily. Your digestive system is also affected during seasonal changes. Your appetite may increase, or you may have diarrhea. When the temperature goes down, your kidneys and bladder will start to give you trouble. For example, because the kidneys are stressed, you may feel pain in the back. Focusing on these seasonal Chi disorders, the meditators created a set of movements which can be used to speed up the body's adjustment. These Chi Kung exercises will be introduced in a later volume.
In addition to Marshal Yeuh Fei, many people who were not doctors also created sets of medical Chi Kung. These sets were probably originally created to maintain health, and later were also used for curing sickness.
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