Understand Qi, Improve Your Practice

Krista Cantrell MA, Qigong Practitioner
e-mail : cantrell@dancris.com

The written roots of classical acupuncture extend back approximately 5000 years with the codified observations of practitioners as expressed in the Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine . The questions of Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor, who reigned during the third millennium BCE, to his minister Qi Bo, describe a system that has important applications in today's veterinary practice.

The Nei Jing portrays Yin and Yang as the natural order of the universe which affects an individual's ability to diagnose, identify the correct techniques and points, and, ultimately, to heal. By incorporating the principles of the Nei Jing, needling reactions are improved and treatment options are expanded. The classical approach provides a much more comprehensive overview. It considers the disease complex and the general condition of the patient, as well as the complementaries of the treatment to the patient, while providing more insight about the range of options available and the combinations of those options.

Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnostic measures depend on the assessment of Qi in an animal's body. Effective diagnosis requires that the practitioner recognize a Qi imbalance (for example, the depletion of Yin Qi causing an inability to contain Yang Qi); an invasion such as pathogenic Wind; or the effect of climate on Qi, (such as the effect of cold weather or air-conditioning on Yang Qi); and the difference between Yin Qi, Yang Qi, True Qi, and Original Qi. The Qi practitioner must understand the laws of Yin and Yang and their relationship to Qi.

Historically, the ability to assess, feel, and use Qi has been taught individually through guided clinical experiences. As a Qigong practitioner it has been my privilege to follow this tradition in my studies of Yin Style Bagua.

Yin Style Bagua incorporates the harmony of the Yi Jing and the bagua methods. It makes use of regulated breathing, flow and circulation of the meridians, and the eight concepts of Qi (opening, closing, raising, lowering, gathering, dispersing, exiting, and entering.) In Yin Style Bagua, the finger replaces the needle, and Qi replaces medicine. In this context, med cine becomes a supporting treatment, not a primary treatment. Yin Style bodywork evolved from the imperial court techniques in the Qing dynasty. Bagau Zhang (Eight Diagrams Palm) was developed by the great martial arts master, Dong Haichuan (1804-1880). It was based on the Yi Jing, (Book of Changes) and its teaching of Wuji (emptiness or void), Taiji (ultimate state), Yin and Yang (the balance), Four Directions, and Eight Diagrams.

One student, Yin Fu, le rned Dong Haichuan's complete system. Yin Fu spent 20 years with Dong, and the style of bagua he taught became known as Yin Style Bagua. Yin passed on his complete system to Men Bao Zhen (1873-1958) Men passed on the Yin system to Xie Peiqi who spent almost 30 years with him. I study with Dr. Xie. Since Qi is the bridge between principles and treatment, techniques to improve a veterinarian's ability to assess the arrival of Qi and evaluate the status and condition of Qi can improve the effect veness of every treatment. The utility/ sensitivity response effectiveness of any acupuncture point depends on the arrival and strength of Qi as well as its aspects.

Distinguishing between Yin Qi an Yang Qi is required in order to identify which techniques and points will be used. During the session the following exercises will be experienced: gathering Qi, feeling Qi, and moving Qi. Then, the results of utilizing those concepts will be observed in a video case-study of a horse with neurological problems during a six-week treatment span. In addition, there will be discussion of small animal case-studies. Finally, both opening and closing needling techniques will be discussed based on the principles in the Nei Jing. If good health is defined as the harmonious, fluid, balance between Yin and Yang, then it makes sense that the more clearly the sensations can be defined, the easier it is to promote a better needli g reaction. In terms of the timing in tonifying or sedating, one must coordinate the technique with the opening and closing of the hole, with the arrival and departure of Qi.

When the Qi arrives, we call this opening. At this point, one can sedate. When the Qi leaves, we call this closing. Now we can tonify. This presentation asks attendees to check their Western paradigm at the door and enter with an eastern mindset for a combination of video, group exercises, and lecture that offers practical examples and exercises in a participatory session to raise the practitioner's level of skill in assessing Qi.