How come some people never get sick and can weather the strongest onslaught nature has to offer, yet others crawl into bed at the slightest sniffle or worse, succumb to a virus and get seriously ill? Of course, the answer is immunity, conferred by Nature, but sometimes our immunity is weak, sometimes strong. The question here is what can we do to recognize these factors and aid the body in its fight against invasion by external pathogenic factors?
The Case for Prevention
Viruses and bacteria can mutate much quicker than scientists can manufacture antidotes, making it increasingly challenging to fight them. By the time a cure arrives the virus is on to the next mutation, rinse, repeat. Scientists can cut corners by reducing testing time but this leaves the populace exposed to the possibility of debilitating side effects. This is where traditional approaches like Tai Chi and Qigong can play a crucial role. Instead of relying solely on modern medicine to cure diseases, it is vital to focus on preventive measures to boost the body’s immunity. As the saying goes ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. It makes more sense to prepare the body’s Natural defenses to ward off an attack in the early stages instead of waiting for the disease to gain pace and then administering drugs. Years before modern medicine was even a thing Tai Chi and Qigong were building up a sound reputation based on solid empirical evidence. Now, Tai Chi and Qigong have been subjected to numerous peer-reviewed studies and the results are promising.
Chinese Medicine Approach
The Neijing or Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine states:
Some solutions require looking at the road ahead and not just focusing on what is under your nose. The approach of traditional Chinese medicine is vastly different from modern Western medicine. Chinese medicine was not designed with compatibility with modern scientific methods in mind, so it might be difficult for Scientists to understand the underlying mechanisms. In fact, the paradigms of Chinese medicine are different in Nature and the term ‘mechanisms’ might not even apply. This is due to the way medicine is split into categories in the West, for example, mental diseases are seen as separate from physical diseases. This is a basic philosophical split called mind-body dualism that goes back to Descartes. Chinese Medicine on the other hand treats mental, physical, and spiritual symptoms under one roof. The focus here is on maintaining the balance of the body’s energy, which in turn helps to keep the immune system strong. It is essential to keep the energy flow in the body unobstructed and balanced to prevent any ailments. This holistic approach aims to maintain harmony in the body and avoid the need for medicine.
How Does It Work?
Chinese medicine approaches are based on aiding natural processes. Qi is the vital energy of the body that keeps us alive and kicking, and the basis of strong Qi is the organs and what we are doing to help them or harm them in their task of replenishing Qi and keeping the body, mind, and spirit strong.
Wei Qi 尾氣
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the immune system is known as the Wei Qi. The Wei Qi is a protective energy that flows around the body’s exterior, protecting it from external pathogenic factors. The organs responsible for the Wei Qi are the lungs, skin, and spleen. The lungs are responsible for the intake of clean air qi, which helps to produce energy in the body. The skin is responsible for protecting the body from external pathogens, and the spleen is responsible for transforming food into energy that can be used by the body. Tai Chi and Qigong help to support the functions of these organs, which in turn helps to boost the body’s immunity.
One of the key benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong is that it promotes deep breathing. Deep breathing helps to improve the functioning of the lungs, which are responsible for the production of energy in the body. When we breathe deeply, we take in more clean air Qi, which helps to increase the production of energy in the body. This increased energy production helps to strengthen the body’s immunity, making it more resistant to external pathogens.
Tai Chi and Qigong also help to improve the flow of Qi (life force energy) in the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, Qi flows through channels called meridians, and any blockages in these channels can lead to health problems. Tai Chi and Qigong help to remove these blockages, which in turn helps to improve the flow of Qi in the body. This improved flow of Qi helps to strengthen the body’s immunity, making it more resilient to external pathogens.
Tai Chi and Qigong also help to stimulate the production of different types of Qi in the body, which are essential for maintaining good health. One of these types of Qi is known as Yuan Qi, which is the Qi that is inherited from our parents and is responsible for our overall vitality and energy levels. Another type of Qi is called Gu Qi, which is produced by the spleen and is responsible for providing nourishment to the body. Tai Chi and Qigong help to stimulate the production of both of these types of Qi, which in turn helps to boost the body’s immunity.
Zheng Qi 正气
In addition to the Wei Qi, traditional Chinese medicine also recognizes another type of energy known as Zheng Qi. Zheng Qi is the body’s innate ability to fight off disease and maintain health. It is essentially the body’s natural immunity. The organs responsible for the production of Zheng Qi are the lungs, spleen, and kidneys. The lungs are responsible for the production of Qi, which helps to boost the body’s overall energy levels. The spleen is responsible for the production of Gu Qi, which is essential for nourishing the body and maintaining good health. The kidneys are responsible for storing Jing, which is the body’s essence and is essential for maintaining overall vitality.
Tai Chi and Qigong help to support the functions of these organs, which in turn helps to boost the production of Zheng Qi. Deep breathing and the practice of slow, flowing movements help to stimulate the production of Qi, which helps to boost the body’s overall energy levels. The practice of Qigong also helps to improve the functioning of the kidneys, which is essential for the storage of Jing.
Tai Chi and Qigong can play a crucial role in boosting the body’s immunity according to traditional Chinese medicine principles. These practices help to support the functions of the organs responsible for the production of Wei Qi and Zheng Qi, which in turn helps to boost the body’s overall immunity. By promoting deep breathing, improving the flow of Qi, and stimulating the production of different types of Qi, Tai Chi and Qigong help to maintain the balance of the body’s energy, which is essential for good health.
It is essential to remember that Tai Chi and Qigong are not a substitute for modern medicine, but rather complementary practices that can help to boost the body’s immunity and overall health. Incorporating Tai Chi and Qigong into your daily routine can help to maintain the balance of your body’s energy and support your immune system, making you more resistant to external pathogens.
Overall, by adopting a holistic approach to health that includes Tai Chi and Qigong, you can improve your overall well-being and reduce the risk of falling ill. So, if you want to boost your immunity and maintain good health, why not give Tai Chi and Qigong a try?