Jake Paul Fratkin, OMD, L.Ac.
Download this article in PDF format.
- Qi can be translated as “life energy”. It gives life to all things, and to the ancient Chinese, it was the underlying reality of all physical things. The physical world is one of qi vibration, alternating between yin and yang energies, producing all physical things.
- Yin energy comes upwards from the earth. It is moist and cooling. It moves upwards through the yin channels and the Ren Mai. Yang energy comes down from the sun and sky. It is warm and invigorating. It runs downwards through the yang channels and the Du Mai. When the two energies mix, it makes life possible. This is why life exists on our planet, but not others in our solar system. Earth has the perfect balance of yin and yang energies.
- The taiji is best known as the yin–yang symbol. It represents the interaction of yin and yang energies, and by extension, the physical world. Literally, “tai” means “great”, and “ji” means “ridge line”, or “cross beam” in a house. It is best translated as The Great Polarity. The taiji represents the separation of yin and yang, as well as its interaction and merging. It creates the physical world.
By comparison, beyond the taiji is the wuji. Wu means ”none” or “no”. Wuji means “no ridge line’, no separation of yin and yang. It is best translated as “The Non-Polarity”. It is the reality beyond the physical world, the reality that lies on the other side.
Qi gong literally means “energy work”, “energy exercises” or “working the energy”. There are hundreds of qi gong exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to purify, strengthen and circulate the qi within our bodies, for health, longevity and spiritual clarity.
- All health problems, whether due to illness, injury or aging, involve poor quality of qi and blood, or obstruction or stagnation of circulation of qi and blood. Qi gong exercises correct or prevent this. When qi and blood circulate in the channels in an unobstructed way, and when the qi and blood is of a good quality, one is healthy.
- Qi gong exercises can be organized into several types, depending on their overall effect. One type concentrates on improving the quality and circulation of qi within the channels. These may move qi n the natural direction of the channels, or work against the natural order by bringing yin energy to yang channels or yang energy to yin channels.
- Another type of Qi Gong works with the quality of qi within the body as a whole, and not dependent on the channels. For example, “condensing” exercises such as Five Line Condensing, bring qi from the skin, through the fascia, and into the bone marrow. This strengthens the fascia, and invigorates the bone marrow to produce healthy blood cells. “Iron shirt qi gong” strengthens the fascia so as to make the body strong for martial arts.
- A third type concentrates on various chakras. The three most important chakras are the lower dantian, the middle dantian (the heart chakra) and the upper dantian (the third eye). The lower dantian strengthens the physical body, and provides a reservoir of qi and jing for health. The middle dantian opens the heart to spiritual experience. The upper dantian strengthens the mind, and allows the mind to manipulate the qi. Working with them together, one can move between the taiji and the wuji, to increase spiritual clarity, or to access, purify and store qi deep into the body.
- Nine star qi gong: the four gates: (yongquan at Ki 1, the ball of the foot, and laogong at PC 8, on the palm of the hands); the two poles: baihui (Du 20), top of the head, and huiyin (Ren 1), between anus and genital on the perineum; the three jewels: shang dantian, the third eye (yintang), zhong dantian, the heart chakra, at Ren 17, and xia dantian, at Ren 4-5. Inhale from the nine stars to the central shaft (chong mai); exhale from the central shaft out the nine gates. This integrates wu ji and taiji.
- The strength and power of the qi is accumulated through practice with focused concentration. There is no end to the degree of purification and refinement that is possible. Daily practice strengthens and circulates the qi, strengthens the fascia-structure, improves the health of the internal organs, and improves the quality of the blood. Collectively, qi gong promotes immune function, vitality, longevity and spiritual clarity.
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