We all are familiar with the concept of the 5 Elements. These Elements are the elements that we can find around the earth, like Wood, Water, Fire, Metal, and Earth. In Chinese Medicine, the 5 Elements are also known as Wǔxíng or phases. The theory of 5 elements qigong forms the connection between the different elements in nature and the “qi,” around us. As we all know, “qi” is an energetic force that creates, connects, and supports all things in the “big” universe or Macrocosm. On the other hand “microcosm” means “small” or a smaller community that is within the bigger world of the macrocosm. This is the reason why we feel differently when we are out walking in the woods, strolling on the beach, or trekking the mountains. We can somehow feel the different display of energies in the elements around us depending on where we are.
5 Element Qigong in Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine works differently from the Western Medicine that we got used to. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)is a system that strongly believes that the energy within us is governed by positive and negative energy the “Yin” and “Yang”. TCM trusts that keeping these energies in check and can help maintain our body’s physical health, mental strength, and the best version of us.
History of Chinese Medicine
China is one of the countries that has ancient recorded medical systems and treatments. Treatments vary from Acupuncture and herbal mixes and exercises that date back from more than 2,200 years ago. This practice was not always open to the public’s knowledge until around 200 years ago. However, most of the practices and knowledge are kept within the tribes or clans. The earliest written account of Chinese medicine is during the Huangdi neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) of the 3rd century BCE. This gave birth to the basis of TCM up to this time. The core aim of traditional Chinese Medicine is restoring the balance yin (passive) and yang (active), which imbues the body. According to TCM, when there is an imbalance of the yin and yang the effects come out as illness or pain.
The Connection of Qi and Meridians
Yin and Yang are two opposing energies just like the image. These are continuously connecting, like chasing each other and harmoniously flowing. This is the ideal state for both energies. When both are never flowing together in the same way and they move opposite from each other.
Yin and Yang
The energy of the Yin is the essence that supports and sustains us that manifests physically like food, wind, and water. This energy has a restorative power that allows us to calm, slow down, rest, and relax.
On the other hand, Yang is shapeless but can be felt like emotions, thoughts, doubts. Yang is the energy that makes us active, move, and fiery.
Yin and Yang are one but constantly shifting against each other. Yin always has a part of yang and the same with yang. The energy that it produces is what we call “qi”. How we handle and manage the qi can affect our immune system, our mood, and even our future.
Meridians and Qi
The meridians are river-like channels stretching throughout the body. This being said, the water on the river will be the qi. The meridians are the pathways or the network that connects the muscles, fascia, and even the organs in the body. So when there are blockages in the meridian “channel” then this will result in pain and illnesses. This means that the “qi” can’t flow freely through. In Chinese terms, Meridian is called Jingluo (經 絡, jing-low), which literally means “channel”. The 2nd character, 絡, means “net-like”. So meridian is “net-like” channels where qi flows. Traditionally, there are 12 major meridians, each of which connects to one of the 12 major organs in TCM theory. Meridians are also related to a variety of phenomena, including circadian rhythms, seasons, and even planetary movements.
In ancient times, when someone gets sick, a skilled TCM practitioner uses different techniques to check your condition. They might check your body’s response to voice vibration, touch, and pulse to find the source of the unbalanced qi in the body and see which organ it is related to, and which meridians does it belong to. In addition to this, a TCM doctor will use the 5 Elements or five phases (wuxing). Ancient practitioners use five basic elements in the world—wood (mu), fire (huo), earth (tu), metal (jin), and water (shui). They see that the energy working on these elements has a deeper connection to both visible and invisible. For instance, time and seasons.
Modern research shows that if there are movements in the “meridian points”, the body triggers a network of biochemical and reflex reactions that leads to a smooth qi flow. The good qi flow results in improved vascular, immune, endocrine, and connective tissue responses. In addition to this, our body will reap the benefits of reduced stress, good pain control, improved tissue repair, muscle relaxation, reduced inflammation, increased range of motion, longevity, and more.
Why practice 5 Element Qigong
In the theory of 5 Elements, each element has a corresponding organ where it relates to emotions, taste, color and so much more. This is how the energy works, not just within the body but moves in the universe. This is why we suggest practicing the 5 Element Qigong using the organ qi clock to optimize your practice.
In White Tiger Qigong System, we connect the ancient healing prowess of qigong with Chinese medicine. This will allow you to have holistic healing. We are healing not just the physical body but also the emotional and internal parts of our bodies.
5 Element Qigong Benefits
Each element of the 5 elements represents a different animal, thus 5 animals. The focus of the 5 Animal Qigong practices is very specific to the animals it is representing. By targeting the organs, with specific movements, the five animal forms will allow your body to have a more relaxed mood and a healthy, positive, and synchronized mind, body, and spirit.
The movements are almost always walking with a mixture of deep, twisting, and turning that deeply massages the organs and releases energy. This will help us become aware of our movement and the natural way of how our body works. We want to be able to feel, understand and become sensitive to what is happening in our bodies. This is where we can truly help our bodies and the rest of the world heal.