In the western world we have been indoctrinated with the allopathic medical approach of treating our symptom or illness with a specific drug or surgery. If we have a headache or back pain we take a analgesic. If we have a painful inflamed joint we take an anti-inflammatory. This is symptomatic treatment, and sure we all like to be pain free. Treating the symptom doesn’t treat the root cause. Treating the symptom is fine as long as we realize that is only what we are doing.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing modern allopathic medicine. If I break a leg the first place I want to go is a hospital and have good pain medication. But allopathic medicine doesn’t do that well with curing chronic illnesses. It’s often very good at treating the symptoms but not the root cause.

What has this got to do with Qigong for specific symptoms or illnesses? Within each Qigong routine we can enumerate the specific benefits of a particular movement; it may open the lung meridian, it may benefit digestion, it may benefit low back pain or it may balance the nervous system, as examples. The trap is to think a specific movement will heal a specific ailment or illness.

The risk with telling students that a specific movement is good for specific symptoms, is that with the prevailing allopathic mindset it is easy to assume that one needs to do more of, or only that specific movement to fix their problem.

Qigong is part of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and evolved alongside it with all it’s underlying principles. Unlike allopathic medicine, TCM’s primary focus is about bringing the body/mind into harmony, thus allowing the root cause of the disease or illness to be healed. Treatment of symptoms alone is secondary. That said, the TCM practitioner will give you symptomatic relief but with the primary focus on treating the root cause. And it is the same with Qigong.

Over the centuries, specific ‘medical’ Qigong forms have been developed for illnesses like cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and so on.

All Qigong routines balance the Qi in the body; the YIn and Yang in the body, shifting stagnant or blocked Qi, building the Qi and ensuring even flow through all the organs of the body. The Qigong routine may have eight, twelve, eighteen movements or more. The routines and movements are generally balanced in the way they affect your meridians, organs and the Qi flow.

So doing more of a specific movement in a particular Qigong routine may help minimize a specific symptom but may not fix the root cause. If you want just symptomatic relief then great, but then we are using an allopathic mindset or approach.

Say you have a lung issue and choose to do more repetitions of a movement that stimulates and balances the lung meridian. We may even just do that movement alone thinking we are going to fix our lung issue. However in TCM the lung meridian is paired with the Large Intestine meridian, i.e., they interact with each other such that the issue in the lung may caused by an imbalance in the Large Intestine meridian. I hope you can see where I am going with this. A heart problem may be an imbalance in the pericardium, small intestine, triple warmer meridians, not just the heart meridian. So just doing a movement that stimulates the heart meridian may only be a partial solution.

A more holistic approach is needed. That is, taking a broader approach. If you are stressed out and want to calm your nervous system you may choose to do ShiBaShi Qigong, If you want to strengthen your tendons and ligaments you may choose a medical Qigong like Yi Jin Jing. Or for general well being and longevity, Ba Duan Jin or the Daoyin yang shen gong. Many Qigong routines may have a specific goal, but generally they are well designed to balance your energy or meridian system and the associated organs.

Other Qigong forms may be designed to balance the Five Elements in the body (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood) as with the Five Animals Frolic. But again, the aim is to balance, bringing the body into harmony such that it may heal.

All these Qigongs are balanced in how they effect your meridian system and organs, while giving you the specific benefit. It’s not just a particular movement of one of the routines.

Once you have been practicing Qigong for many years and have a sense of the Qi in your body, and where it may feel blocked or stagnant you may choose to do a few more repetitions of a particular movement and feel the Qi release or move, then move on to the next movement. This takes great awareness of the Qi in your body and a diligence of practice.

As a beginner, you may have specific symptoms, but without a deep understanding of Qi, the meridian system and traditional Chinese medicine it is best to do the complete Qigong routine. Does this mean if you have a low back issue that you can’t throw in a couple more repeats of a specific movement within the routine, of course not.

I hope you can see where I am coming from with this. In the the example just above; doing only the movement for the low back may help the low back symptomatically but there may be a deeper root cause.

So the answer to the question in the title is, yes you can, if you want to treat the symptom. But however, if you want to heal the body it is best to do the complete Qigong routine.

Yours in Health and Qigong

Sifu Peter

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