Qigong and chi/Qi Sickness?

Nathan Fisher, modified 11 Years ago at 1/24/12 2:36 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/19/12 2:50 AM

Qigong and chi/Qi Sickness?

Post: 1 Join Date: 1/9/12 Recent Posts
Hey all, Thanks for having me in yall's cyber-sangha. Does anyone have personal experience with or knowledge about "Qi Sickness" brough about by Qigong or other energy practices? (what it is, how it happens etc.)

I have practiced Chen style Tai Chi for several years and have had some basic training in other internal martial arts, but I have never practiced or had instruction in a qigong system partly because the word on the street in my tai chi class was that alot of people have hurt themselves doing qigong. I have been taught some basic "qigong" practices to complement my tai chi and walu practice, but I have absolutely no familiarity or training in (what the chinese government arbitrarily termed) "qigong" such as Inner Alchemy (neidan) practices like the "8 Brocades". Any body here have experience in one of these systems?

I ask this because I have recently begun expanding the scope of my practice to include more qigong-esque energy-meditations from different traditions to more deeply complement my tai chi practice, but before i think about "hardcore" practice in this direction, the map I've learned from tai chi so far needs to be expanded to incorporate other--perhaps more potentially dangerous/transformative?--energy exercises.

Questions, Comments, and/or Thoughts will be greatly appreciated.
Jim W, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/12 1:23 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/12 1:23 PM

RE: Qigong and chi/Qi Sickness?

Posts: 27 Join Date: 2/8/12 Recent Posts
Hi Nathan,

I have been doing tai chi on and off for years (Yang style), and recently I have been doing some 'standing like a tree' (Zhuan Zhuang) and have had a go at some of the 8 brocades. Most of the tai chi classes I have been to in the past did some simple qigong warm ups that were like certain moves from the Yang form and/or 8 brocades. Quite a few Yang classes will also do some standing like a tree.

I have never met anyone who has developed chi sickness doing such things.

I think you would probably be fine with some simple qigong exercises like the 8 brocades (there are lots of things on you-tube). I have found a particularly good author on qigong (static and moving) to be Master Lam Kam Chuen. There are some videos of his (now sadly no longer available for purchase) on you-tube as well. The key textbook by Master Lam, is 'The Way of Energy'. It is out of print, but I found several used copies on Amazon.

I think the key thing with qigong (and Tai Chi) is not to push yourself too hard - the body should be relatively relaxed and stable (at least in Yang, I have never tried Chen!). On days when I feel like doing qigong (which is not every day at the moment), I will do some simple Yang-influenced exercises (e.g. waving hands in clouds) and 10-15 minutes of standing (which is plenty!)

I think the whole issue of chi sickness might be more relevant to those doing very advanced / intense practice or those will underlying health problems.

Hope that helps !

Daniel M Ingram, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/12 3:14 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/12 3:14 PM

RE: Qigong and chi/Qi Sickness? (Answer)

Posts: 3257 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
The problem generally comes when people by whatever means jump up quite a number of steps rapidly without slow, steady, progressive buildup.

I have also had this when I suddenly could see energy channels and play with them and manipulate them when on a very strong samatha/powers-heavy retreat, and when I stood up I felt like some sort of tai chi master, posture and center of gravity very different from typical and way better, and then I was struck by massive vertigo that lasted maybe 30 minutes and made it so that I fell a number of times in the snow trying to get to my little cabin and finally had to just lay on the floor until it passed.

Example found on this active thread where suddenly energy is pouring off my hands (scroll down and look for green letters):


Basic point again: sudden jumps into new territory make it more likely, and sometimes it just seems to happen anyway.

You are right this is generally a problem with people who force things into unfamiliar places they are not necessarily ready for.

It is uncommon and shouldn't be a reason to not do energy practices.

Chuck Kasmire used to hang out here, and if you can get in touch with him, he had a lot of experience in energy stuff and is a very nice, accomplished guy and would be worth contacting. His email may still link to a PM, so you could try messaging him.
Jeff Grove, modified 11 Years ago at 2/9/12 6:08 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/9/12 6:08 AM

RE: Qigong and chi/Qi Sickness? (Answer)

Posts: 310 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Have you asked the people who have advised you that alot of people get hurt with qigong what their experience with these practices are?

8 brocades is a very old system of qigong and still very popular today. There are standing and sitting forms within this system which I know of but unfortunately I have no practical experience with this particular system.

If someone has a history of mental health issues or any health issues they should always consult a doctor and supervision before starting out but with proper foundation there is very little chance of of qi deviations.

If you are a Tai Chi practitioner your body will have a good foundation for these practices. I studied Tai Chi and a number of other southern arts for a long time but never experienced the movement of qi (apart from the imagination) until my practices went in the direction of qigong, neigong and meditation.
Qigong is specifically designed to work on the meridians, fascia, lengthening joints and tendons creating space. You will get the same result with Tai Chi it usually just takes longer with dedicated practice.

Within Tai Chi you can find all the elements for neigong.

zhan zhuang training cultivates awareness or being in stillness, excellent for cultivating qi which will fill the dantain and slowly open up all the meridians
Some stances
Wuji Standing meditation from the preparing form
Tai Chi Stance is similar to Embracing the balloon
Mabu or Horse Stance
Golden rooster standing on one Leg
Bow Stance with hands in push position

Other elements are Push Hands Training for training sensitivity and connection, Silk Reeling Exercises and neigong breath practices to activate the bodily qi (usually withheld or taught after a few years if they were passed on originally).

In daily activities our focus is on the outside, fundamental to qigong is inward focus (inner perception) and through meditative movements we become sensitive to the open - close changes of qi, the internal organs and their activities, routes of the meridans and their functions.

During and after practice you may notice different physical sensations which can cause you concern especially if you fear qi deviations (this freaked me out at first as I thought I might be loosing my mind)
Feelings of expansion like the whole body is filling with air this is due to yang chi rising or the flow of zhen qi in the yangqiao channel
Feelings of contraction from flow of qi in the yinqiao channel
Feelings of heaviness from qi accumulating in the Conception channel
Feelings of lightness from qi accumulating in the Governer channel
Feelings of Itching when qi reaches the skin layer
Feelings of tingling when qi is obstructed in the Collateral channels
Feelings of warmth when qi gathers in the dantain

Keep a journal write down your experiences and insights, over the years it will become a gold mine. Progress comes through dedicated practice, once you start don't miss a day.