I have been a Qi Gong practitioner for 15 years, with a special interest in using it for healing. Studying traditional Chinese medicine has greatly expanded my knowledge in the field of energetic healing. When I went into clinic practice as an intern, my decision was to leave Qi Gong out of the acupuncture treatment. I wanted to experience the two modalities as separate entities so I could clearly distinguish between them. I found that both are based on the same fundamental principles, and that my ability to work with either one improves with patience, diligence, and experience.
Qi Gong is founded on the concept of attaining awareness and developing intuition. After years of practice, I’ve developed different levels of awareness that are almost impossible to express with words. In my Qi Gong practice I use this intuition in one way; as an acupuncturist I use my intuition primarily to find acupoints and tune in to affected meridians. As I learned the principles of TCM, many things began to fall into place for me. In the past, I had an awareness of energy patterns, but I could not always “name” them or put them into a coherent structure. TCM theory gave me the tool I needed to do this.
In treating emotional or spiritual problems with Qi Gong or Chinese medicine, I have noticed consistency of treatment principles and acupoint combinations. In healing qigong, we express the treatment principle by saying the patient needs “rooting” or “grounding.” The concept is to anchor and sedate the mind, therefore allowing mental clarity. In Chinese medicine, we speak of such treatment principles as “calming the Shen,” “purging fire” (fire flares upward and disturbs the mind), “opening the heart orifice” and tranquilizing the mind by unblocking the meridians and allowing pure yang qi to ascend to the head.
The most effective approach for me in choosing an acupuncture prescription is to use my Qi Gong intuition to choose the acupoints I want to use. Even though each patient is different, I still find that the same acupoints “pop up” with some regularity. These points are: BL 60, BL 57, BL 40, ST 36, ST 40, GB 34, GB 43, KI 6, SI 3, LU 7, LR 3, DU 20, RN 4, and Shenmen (auricular).
The effectiveness of the Stomach (ST), Gall Bladder (GB) and Urinary Bladder (BL) acupoints is related to meridian theory. Since these three yang meridians begin on the head and end on the feet, energy can be directed downward from the head to the feet by needling points at the distal end of these meridians. In accordance with Qi Gong treatment principles of “rooting” and “grounding,” stimulating distal points of the ST, GB and BL meridians will anchor yang qi from the head and ground it into the lower limbs. From the moment I begin locating the point, I’m visualizing qi from the head being pulled down to the point. This intention process is important, and I’ve found it to be most effective.
The use of LU 7 and SI 3 is also based on meridian theory, as they are confluent points used to open the Ren and Du channels. KI 6 is the confluent point of the Yin Heel extra meridian. RN 4 and DU 20 are key points on the Ren (Conception) and Du (Governing) meridians. They travel upwards from the perineum, along the spine to the upper jaw (Du meridian) and along the front midline to the lower jaw (Ren meridian). People familiar with Indian spiritual practices will recognize that the seven major chakras are positioned along the Ren and Du meridians, and that kundalini rises along the Du meridian.
Today, many people are in pursuit of spirituality. All Eastern spiritual practices I am familiar with have some form of meditation that focuses on the body’s centerline, whether it is called “Dantien” or “Chakra.” To me, the particular system of spiritual practice which people choose is irrelevant. What I see as a Qi Gong healer, however, is that many people have done damage to themselves due to improper practice. We in the West have a tendency to “push the stream uphill” and think we can master ancient spiritual growth systems in three or four weekends. This can result in stuck qi, uncontrolled qi, chakras that have been “blown open,” etc.
Acupuncture can be used to rebalance people who are out of alignment due to improper practice, and may even promote or accelerate spiritual growth (by means of opening the Ren and Du meridians, which run exactly along the Dantien and Chakra systems). In my opinion, adding acupuncture to one’s spiritual practice provides a safety net and promotes optimal physical, mental, and spiritual health.