Chi Kung has been practiced in China for a couple of thousand years. However it was not called Chi Kung until after 1955.
What is now known as Chi Kung encompasses many variations in the practicing methods, postures, breathing techniques and thoughts. The influence of religions and philosophy such as Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and also martial arts and Chinese medical theories also means that there are major differences between the many styles of Chi Kung. Before 1955 it was called Dao-yin, tu-na, lian-tan, choy-zen, etc.
The definition of ‘Chi Kung’ given by Liew Kui Ching was narrow in meaning and did not give a complete picture about what Chi Kung really was.
Chi Kung literally in Chinese means: ‘Breathing work’. It was because the Chi Kung that Liew learnt and taught was based on breathing only. He did not realise that the ‘breathing’ in the Chi Kung that he learnt was a technique that helped him to concentrate, thus leading to a relaxed and tranquil state. It is what Chinese say: “Using one’s thought to substitute millions of thoughts.”
At the opening ceremony of the China Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Institute in 1955, Liew was highly praised for his contribution to the well being of the public by the Chinese government. Chi Kung has become popular in China since then.
Chi Kung practice was quietened down from 1966 till 1976 due to the Cultural Revolution. Chi Kung revived again after the Cultural Revolution.
In the early 1980’s, suddenly there came a lot of Chi Kung experts. All of them claimed to have supernatural powers or abilities. They could perform stunts such as ‘using the ears to recognise writing’, ‘sending messages to their disciples thousands of miles away’, ‘predicting the future’, ‘extinguishing a mountain fire’, ‘alter the molecular state of water’, etc, etc.
Later, all these Chi Kung experts claimed they could emit ‘external chi’ and used that chi to cure patients of various illnesses. They also claimed that paralysed patients could walk again after chi treatment. At that time Chi Kung was a very hot topic in China. Many newspapers, magazines and even some hospitals and certain departments in certain universities did support their claims (without scientific proof). From then on, Chi Kung became an art of wonder. It was a ‘cure all’ exercise and technique! These types of false Chi Kung spread all over the world and were very misleading to people who genuinely wanted to learn Chi Kung for health.
A lot of the claims by false Chi Kung practitioners are not true. Eg, they may tell you that you will feel their ‘chi’ or you will feel your own ‘chi’ moving in the body, etc, etc. (this is done by verbal suggestion.) It is so easy to prove them wrong.
Some false Chi Kung practitioners claim that they can absorb chi (energy) from the universe. The problem is that no one can prove that they can do it and no one can prove that they cannot do it! As long as they have the guts to say that they can, no one dares to say that they cannot!
Some may say: “I personally ‘see’ the miracle!” but what you see can be deceiving. Eg, David Copperfield can make a plane on stage or the Statue of Liberty disappear in front of millions of viewers. Was that true? Was that Chi Kung?
No! It’s an illusion. It is the same with a magic show. Magic is not true but our eyes deceive us. Of course magic is not Chi Kung either.
Chi Kung is a self-help therapy. After learning the technique, practice diligently will help to strengthen the body systems and maintain good health. Quite often, it is the psychological effect on the physiological functions of the body. It is the adjustment of the mind, breath and body.
The most important adjustment is the adjustment of the mind. So far our brain is the most powerful ‘computer’. In a relaxed and tranquil state, it regulates the Yin and Yang of our body system and achieves a balance. The body system will function normally and we will be healthy. Adjustment of the breath is important and Chi Kung encourages deep diaphragm breathing.
Deep diaphragm breathing has the following advantages:
Making the blood more oxygenated and thus the brain cells will be more active and alert and increase metabolic rates to create energy.
Increase the effectiveness of the immune system enabling the body to fight bacteria and germs due to extra oxygen intake.
Diaphragm movements up and down serve to massage internal organs.
It seems to cool down our central nervous system.
Chi Kung practice can encourage relaxation of the mind. Certain movements such as those contained in Yin Yang Tai Chi Chi Kung can improve body coordination and exercise the joints and muscles. Beware of all those false Chi Kung practitioners who claim to emit ‘chi’ for curing any illnesses.