A Qigong Secret for Enduring Strength and Injury Prevention … Notes and Insights from the National Qigong Association Annual Conference
Have you ever been amazed by the agile strength of a relatively elderly tai chi or qigong practitioner? I was reminded this weekend that part of the secret is the emphasis on training the fascia/ligaments/ tendons to be strong rather than the muscles.
Jake Paul Fratkin, OMD, L.Ac. originally studied tai chi as a martial art under Waysun Liao in Chicago and is the author of Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines. In his workshop, The Twelve Wondrous Exercises, Jake credited his own excellent health, strength and physical resilience to condensed breathing methods aimed at bringing fresh qi into the fascia.
Internal martial artists concentrate on supporting the physical structure by strengthening the fascia rather than the musculature.
You inhale, simultaneously drawing qi from the skin through the fascia and into the bone marrow. On the exhale, you reverse the process. By doing this you encourage extra blood to flood the fascia, keeping it supple and strong.
Jake commented that the vast majority of injuries he sees amongst his patients are not muscle but fascia injuries. In the West we have the habit of training our muscles for strength while often ignoring the ligaments and tendons, or fascia.
From the great classical qigong systems for training the fascia is known as the Yi Jin Jing, credited by legend to Bodhidharma who developed it for the Shaolin monks. Frank Yurasek, who is a Tui Na expert and who has specialized in developing programs for treating violent offenders and addictions, taught one version of this classical set.
Frank told us that at the Chinese hospital he worked at for a year, the Tui Na practitioners would begin the morning each day with Yi Jin Jing, to sustain their bodies against the rigors of the practice.
If you are interested, he has made a DVD of the set. Call him at 1-708-466-7501 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to mention my name and tell him I say hi and thanks!
JAKE PAUL FRATKIN, OMD is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine in practice since 1978. After seven years basic training in Japanese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in this country, he went to Beijing for one year to do advanced hospital training in herbal internal medicine, pediatrics and medical qi gong. He is the author of CHINESE HERBAL PATENT MEDICINES, (2001), a respected reference work of 1200 Chinese herbal products available in this country. In 1999 he received the national award, Acupuncturist of the Year, from the American Association of Oriental Medicine, and 2006 he received the award as Acupuncture Teacher of the Year. He is a recognized expert in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome, chronic respiratory and digestive disorders. Jake lives and practices in Boulder, Colorado