Posted by: qifieldtherapy | June 4, 2010

Wholistic Benefits of Practicing Qigong with Directed Intention

The practice of Qigong has been amply and widely demonstrated to accrue many health benefits over time for the practitioner. Here we give a few examples of these benefits from some of the available published knowledge while focusing on the catalyst of action: Yishi or focused conscious intention. We also offer a simple explanation of the activation of Yishi through the methods of Zhineng Qigong (also trademarked as Wisdom Healing, Chineng and Chilel Qigong)

This is not a literature review but a compendium of sources linked together by our interest. Please browse over the reference list for further reading.

We use the term qigong here as referring to the following:

Qigong is characterized and defined by its essential method: the practice of interiorizing consciousness. This method embraces the following two ideas:

1) Our daily activities are usually oriented toward external objects (things, activities, perceptions) that are not essential for our life process. A qigong practitioner interiorizes daily activities in order to merge and be united with their life process.
2) We commonly focus our daily activities outward, moving from one thing to another; from the one to the many. A qigong practitioner centralizes their activities of consciousness a single object of focus, returning from multiplicity to oneness.

Thus, the practice of qigong involves a special use of consciousness that involves focus, concentration and intention. Qigong is yishou yinian jizhong zhuanyi: focus the mind on one thing through the activation of conscious intention. Now, how are these related to health?

One of the prime benefits of Qigong is stress reduction, and the main catalyst of practice is consciously initiated or consciously focused intention (Yishi) that uses the mind to guide Qi. Even though Qi itself has not been measured (bio field energies are different), multiple types of measurements demonstrate the effects of Qi on the body. For example, simultaneous measurements of the interaction between a Qigong practitioner emitting Qi (Fa Qi) and ´subject ´demonstrated physical changes through mental induction. These changes included respiration, EEG, vibrations, blood pressure, skin conductivity, and heart rate variability.

There are many physiological measurements effective in measuring the effects of Qigong on the brain and emotions. These include high-resolution EEG, functional MRI (fMRI), neurological measurements, and others. People are studying brain function, emotions and their disorders using neuroimaging methods. Researchers found differences on the effects on the brain during Qigong practice and Zen meditation. The effects of emitted Qi (fa qi) extend to cell cultures, growth of plants, seed germination, and reduction of tumor size in animals. This was an outgrowth of the Qi Field (zichang) technique developed by Dr. Ming Pang, originator of Zhineng Qigong.

Spiritual healing, which involves the mind, has been the subject of two volumes by researchers. Subject discussions include scientific studies describing the beneficial effects of prayer and other practices based on mindful attention relating to subjects’ health.

Yishi is simple in its definition and simple to access either instinctively or intuitively. Harnessing its power consciously intentionally and at will is the task for which Zhineng Qigong was ultimately developed. Dr. Ming Pang has said that Qigong is simply a ‘way’ or method to engage Yishi consciously for the benefit of oneself and others in discovering and harnessing the laws of nature and the universe.

In qigong, we emphasize the conscious somatic experience as a key point of entry into the influence of Yishi. In the exercise of sensation used by many schools, we use our attention (which in its finest state is called ‘Big Mind’) to direct the results of our mental function into the body. This initiates the process of integrating the three aspects of the brain – and thus of the body.

The neocortex or new brain (the world of our ordinary associative mind with its loose connections to instinct and emotion) makes contact with the somatic sensation of the body residing in the brain stem (sometimes called the reptilian brain). The mid-brain or limbic system mediates this process, out of which feeling may arise. This feeling is not emotion (which arises instinctively from the brain stem) but an inexplicable wholistic sensing of what is that results from the union of intellect, emotion and instinct.

We can see that the simple exercise of intending to sense a specific part of the body can bring our attention into the here-and-now; the realm in which the body itself actually lives. This sense of harmony with itself and the environment is the spring-board from which we proceed with our qigong practice. Sensing one’s body is Yishi in action – the action of self-knowing that is literally healing because it gathers all our functions to itself (makes whole).

The work of Richard Davidson and Paul Ekman, researchers of the Mind and Life Institute may go a long way to illustrate the role of intention (Yishi) on the brain and body. In current studies at University of California at San Francisco Medical School and University of Wisconsin, they observed the electrical mechanisms in the brains of highly trained practitioners during various states of focused intention. Using fMRI, high-resolution EEG and state-of-the art monitoring, their results illustrate that practitioners are able to direct electrical activity and blood flow in the brain by focusing their conscious intention. This is the closest description of the reflexive quality of Yishi, where a conscious intention of the focused attention results in physiological changes.

Through the systematic and repeated application of Yishi (focused conscious intention), well-trained qigong practitioners have succeeded in coaxing the brain to direct electrical activity away from areas associated with the biochemistry of stress, tension and disturbing emotional or physical states. This results in an increased activity in the area associated with the biochemistry of healthful emotional and physical states (i.e., the left prefrontal cortex). They have also observed that the state of activated Yishi on compassion engages a state of relaxation and well-being that surpasses even that achieved during a state of rest.

The early results of this research suggest that parts of the brain we thought previously fixed in function, such as the stress reflexes of the reptilian brain, may in fact be plastic in nature, able to be changed, shaped and developed through the ongoing practice of Qigong with consciously focused intention – Yishi.

REFERENCES

http://psyphz.psych.wisc.edu/web/pubs/2005/Ekman_etal_CurrDirPsychSci.pdf
Publication on Buddhist and Western psychology by Paul Ekman, Richard J. Davidson, Matthieu Ricard, and B. Alan Wallace.

Benor DJ. Spiritual healing-scientific validation of a healing revolution. Vol. 1. Visions Publications,
Southfield, MI 48034, 2001.
Benor DJ. Spiritual healing-scientific validation of a healing revolution, Prof. supplement. Vol. 2.
Vision Publications, Southfield, MI 48034, 2002.
Davidson JD, Abercrombie H, Nitschke JB, Putnam K. Regional brain function, emotion and
disorders of emotion. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 1999; 9:228-34.
Kawano Kimiko 1, Kushita Kouhei N 2. The Function of the Brain using EEGs during Induced
Meditation. J Intl Soc Life Info Science 1996; 14(1):91-3.
Lama Dalai, Goleman Daniel. Destructive Emotions, how can we overcome them? New York, NY:
Bantam Books, 2003.
Reuther I, Aldridge D. Treatment of bronchial asthma with qigong Yangsheng–A pilot study. J
Altern Complement Med 1998; 4(2):173-83.
Sancier KM. The effect of qigong on therapeutic balancing measured by electroacupuncture
according to Voll (EAV): A preliminary study. Acupunct Electrother Res 1994; 19(2/3):119-
27.
Sancier KM. Anti-Aging Benefits of Qigong. J Intl Soc Life Info Science 1996a; 14(1):12-21.
Sancier KM . Medical applications of qigong. Altern Ther Health Med 1996b; 1(4).

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