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  • What: An ancient healing system which focuses on the restoration of holistic balance through gentle breathing techniques and slow movements

  • Origins: Qigong can be traced back some two thousand years in ancient China.

  • Benefits:Qigong can harmonise, strengthen and have a healing effect on the functioning of all the internal organs and bodily systems. It increases the supply and flow of energy throughout the body, can have a variety of rejuvenating effects and is believed to increase longevity as it induces calm mental and emotional states.

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Discovering Qigong in Ancient China

Qigong is an ancient healing system which focuses on the restoration of holistic balance. Pronounced 'chee-gong' the practice forms the base for many of the traditional Chinese medicines such as acupuncture and the practice of martial arts. It involves conscious breathing, slow movements and mental visualisations all of which are carried out harmoniously in a controlled and focused manner. The underlying principle of Qigong is to develop ones energy flow (Qi) through means of gentle breathing techniques and slow, graceful movements. The practice itself is often confused with the martial art - Tai Chi, but is slower; more controlled and focuses predominantly on the cultivation of energy flow hence putting the 'Qi' in Qigong.

The origins of Qigong can be traced back some two thousand years in ancient China. The techniques and theories have been preserved mainly by traditional health professionals and religious practitioners, but have never entered into public awareness (except through the form of martial arts). Such exercises were created and practiced purely among physicians, elites, martial art masters and the monks of Taoist & Buddhist traditions. The techniques of this practice are notorious for their secrecy & are usually only accessible to family members or passed on to a single successor. To this day the majority of Qigong teachings continue to be delivered orally, thus protecting with great care & discretion their hidden secrets.

For centuries the strength of the ancient healing techniques is believed to lie in their holistic nature; the ability to merge body, mind and spirit into one singularity known as the 'whole person'. Medicine men and women, shaman and healing masters throughout the world recognised that emotion, physical symptoms, diet, lifestyle, mental activity and personality all contribute to the health & wellbeing of an individual. The traditional practitioners believe that to look, in isolation at only one or two of these areas is to miss critical clues, clues which may be instrumental in curing the person of their dis-ease.

By taking the opportunity to spend time with a true practitioner of such ancient & traditional modalities, you benefit from the feeling of really being 'seen', that someone cares for you in an altruistic manner and that they can help guide you back to harmonious balance. How often do we as individuals really feel that we are being wholly seen by another? At best it's a rarity, but once experienced the effects and benefits are phenomenal.

The practice of medical qigong in China offers a safe and secure healing adventure where work & practice is achieved in authentic power spots with the guidance and invaluable support of renowned masters.

Such an adventure is facilitated by Master Wan Su-Jian. Wan, a famous qigong master based in the mountains of outer Beijing, has an amazing life story. At the age of seven he was caught stealing food from the altar of a temple. Afraid his younger sister would starve to death; Wan scaled the wall and stole the food offering to feed his family. Local people saw the food disappear and thought it was God who had heard them; but the Master of the Temple knew how it had disappeared, so he was there waiting the next time Wan came. He took Wan home and found many relatives waiting for him to bring back more food. He learned that Wan's parents were doctors, and was amazed that they were starving. "Let me take care of your son" the Master offered to educate him in the Temple & so began his training to become a healer. After serving in the military & rising up through the medical field Wan's life once again took a dramatic turn as he was nearly himself killed in an earthquake aftershock whilst trying to assist victims. The master survived his long days of being buried underground using his practice of Qigong and has been subsequently helping other people heal and sustain health by using those very same ancient techniques. That day in Tai Yuan City 240,000 people were killed and some 160,000 seriously injured; from those buried in the rubble Wan, with life threatening injuries and against all odds, survived.

After many years of study and practice in traditional Chinese medicine Master Wan Su-Jian set up an institute based in the western foothills of Beijing, where he & his resident students offer daily treatments and various training demonstrations. Wan began to understand that Qigong Healing had a long history in China but it was not widely used as a treatment. He had a dream about many army tanks attacking an airplane. By working together, the tanks were able to shoot down the plane. Wan got the idea that if one practitioner had a positive healing effect, imagine the effects of a team of qigong healers working from different directions on one patient. Today some of the treatments received here include the practice of up to six practitioners working simultaneously on one person.

In November 2006 Master Wan's Chinese Medical Qigong BaGua Xun Dao Gong Training Clinic and Medical Centre in Beijing was certified by the Chinese government as a Rehabilitation Hospital. He and his staff do research, teaching, and medical treatment for many disorders such as stroke, bone problems, gerontology illnesses, cancer, partial paralysis, and many other difficult illnesses. Treatments include traditional Chinese medicine and herbs, Tui na massage, acupuncture, and qigong. About 40 young people are training, studying, and living at the centre, learning medical qigong, kung fu, taiji, massage, and the basic academics for college preparation.

Whilst here at the centre, everyday is devoted to personal healing with daily herbal foot baths, energy healing, Qigong, full body & foot massages. With the in-depth training provided by Master Wan there is also opportunity to learn & participate in the ancient Taoist practices of the 'Cha Dao' (traditional tea ceremony), meditation & the practice of Tibetan long-horn healing.

After a week long stint with Master Wan participants head out on an awesome journey of discovery into Chinas' Sichuan province. Here the learning, practice and cultivation continue at locations that have been pilgrimage sites for millennia.

Chengdu in the Sichuan province is situated at a lower altitude than Beijing and thus provides a natural balance of both water (yin) and mountains (yang). Perhaps as a result of this, or maybe even because of this it is recognised as having one of the highest energetic fields in mainland China.

On May 12th, 2008 this balance was sent into a state of chaos when it was hit by an earthquake (with a magnitude of 8.0), which killed approximately 80,000 people, maimed a further 26,413 and misplaced countless others.

At the time rescue efforts were severely hampered by the sheer size of the impact zone. On hearing the grave news Master Wan felt compelled to act; after readying fourteen of his students they headed into the region. Their mission was to provide medical supplies, food, and clothing to those in need.

After driving continuously through day and night they approached a pass which was seated between two mountains. This was the access point linking them directly to the impact zone; the area in greatest need.

As the rescue vehicles advanced Master Wan immediately called them to halt. A profound sense had told him not to proceed. Following his instructions they lay low for a period just off the main road. Within a short space of time a powerful aftershock occurred causing the mountain to fall upon the very road they would have been travelling.

With deep gratitude and their lives intact they continued on to offer love and support; to save lives, to offer healing and to provide the injured and/or traumatised with a sense of hope.

Master Wan and his students are without dispute inspirational guides, teachers and nurturers. They embody not just the fruits of loving kindness but all of the qualities we work to cultivate through our own practice. They provide our container.

To embark upon a healing journey is a courageous step. To expose oneself to the uncertainty of what lies within us is to also reveal unto ourselves the existence of our own blocks and self-enforced limitations.

This uncertainty is for many a frightening prospect and as such engaging fully with the ancient healing modalities means the courageous will embark on a life-changing; life-enhancing journey into the unknown. The process of doing so has the potential to nurture our connection with our own future. Through the cultivation of courage we are able to dream and awaken the changes necessary for a joyous, abundant, vibrant and healthy future.