Author: Frantzis Kumar
Taoist Studies Society, Mill Valley, Calif., USA 
Conference/Journal: 1st Int Cong of Qigong
Date published: 1990
Other: Pages: 114 , Word Count: 418
Qigong is the experiential foundation of Chinese Medicine. It can change the practice of Chinese Medicine from a cookbook method of healing to a living, personal approach. Practitioners learn to experience the movement of Qi in their own body, and in their patients.
Learning Qigong has important benefits for an acupuncturist or herbalist. It increases sensitivity to the movement of Qi, improves diagnostic capabilities and prevents on-the-job burn-out. The practitioner becomes physically and mentally stronger and can shrug off stresses that would normally cause problems.
A therapist can teach Qigong exercises to his patients, enabling them to play a part in their treatment and continue to heal themselves after the course of treatment is over. The treatment itself will have more rapid, effective and long-lasting results.
As America's baby boom generation begins to age, we are facing a population with a relentlessly increasing percentage of old people. As a result, medical facilities are rapidly becoming overburdened. Healthcare is already being rationed and costs are soaring.
China dealt with a similar crisis after the 1949 revolution. The country faced a severe shortage of healthcare professionals and medicines. A doctor or acupuncturist would have to see hundreds of patients a day. Patients who did not need immediate treatment would have to attend three months of Qigong or Tai Chi classes to be allowed another appointment. These were harsh measures, but they worked.
Qigong techniques for the aging are basically the same as those taught to anyone wishing to improve health, with some modification. Qigong clears stagnation and blockages from the system - blockages that in the elderly result in decreased function and poor circulation. Qi moves the blood. Thus Qigong, by strengthening the Qi, improves blood circulation as well. This is very important in treating the many circulatory and cardiac disorders that affect the aged. Qigong also increases the flow of energy to the brain, helping to prevent senility.
In China, Qigong is often prescribed in conjunction with acupuncture and herbs, and in many cases is the key to effective therapy. In many cases of severely debilitated Qi, Qigong works faster and more completely than acupuncture and herbs. Through Qigong exercises patients learn to increase and direct the flow of Qi in their own body, and this self-healing can often be more effective than therapy from others.
In the future, the existing number of healthcare providers will be unable to meet the needs of America's older people. Qigong offers the elderly a realistic way to regain youthful vigor and mental clarity.