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Nei Kung Chi Liao-Tao Internal Energy Diagnosis & Healing (Medical Chi Kung – Acupuncture Without Needles)

An Introduction to Healing Ourselves and Others

by Jeff Nagel, MA, L.Ac.

Part 2

All practitioners of Oriental Medicine can greatly benefit from the regular practice or "playing" of chi kung, Tai Chi and meditation. This will help circulate and strengthen your own chi and can also give you extra protection in warding off pain and disease especially from your patients, an occupational hazard in the healing arts. Many of the masters believe that one of the most important considerations in choosing an acupuncturist is the doctor’s ability to extend chi through his hands and the needles. This capability heightens both his diagnostic and healing sensitivities. Other advanced chi cultivation methods, including Tai Chi weapons "play," especially the sword form and the Tai Chi Ruler, can also help one to extend chi with greater healing potential, while enhancing the art of needle insertion. Yet few follow this path.

According to the oral tradition of the ancients, Nei Kung Chi Liao (NKCL) was rediscovered by Fu She, founder of the Taoist Tradition-Way of Nature and the Ba Gua/8 Trigrams about 8,000 years ago. This was perhaps the first healing art of China predating acupuncture by more than 3,000 years. Taoism as an organized religion founded by Chang Tao-ling did not begin until the Han Dynasty during the second century A.D. Until recently this art was a closely guarded secret, rarely taught outside of Taoist monasteries or family style traditions. Through the centuries the art was handed down to Lu Tung Bin (Tang Dynasty 8th century A.D.), one of the eight immortals. He was one of China’s most prominent healers and Chi Kung-Nei Chia masters, also believed by some to be one of the founders of Tai Chi Chuan. As one of China’s most famous masters, his teachings were embodied by the Yellow Dragon Monastery founded more than 700 years ago. His practices, which became known as the Taoist Elixir Style, comprise many different healing arts including NKCL.

For thousands of years the many wonderful benefits that Oriental Medicine can bestow on the patient have been well known. On the other side of yin-yang, did you ever consider what magical benefits await the practitioner? In the 8 Branches Style of Chinese Medicine:

  • Tao meditation is known to gather chi – "the light"
  • Chi Kung generates chi and is the battery
  • Tai Chi Chuan/Nei Chia circulates chi and is the fuel
  • Chan Su Jin-silk reeling spiral exercises provide the lubrication
  • The heart-mind-spirit or shen is like a light bulb receiving and using the energy for illumination.

Acupuncture stimulates more of the physical energies, herbal medicine enhances the intellect, moxa elevates the shen while Tui Na touches both the body and the spirit, as touch is ruled by the Fire Phase, the heart-shen. Of course there is overlap of all of these qualities among the 8 Branches of the Tao Healing Arts.

The arts of self cultivation are based on openness, looseness and softness, enabling one to experience spontaneity more easily. The 3 Treasures - Jing, Chi and Shen - are a fundamental part of the self cultivation and alchemical transformation process. They are analogous to the liquid, gaseous-vapor and wave states of modern physics and as such are important keys to restoring, regenerating and harmonizing the mind/body to a state of total health and well being. Simply stated, the cellular essence maintains various states of balance and imbalance according to the quantity and quality of chi (electro-magnetic-biological energy) that is directed through the nervous system and states of consciousness.

The Shen Kung practices allow us to experience the continuous states of energy and matter from the gross to the more subtle levels especially when one is in the Alpha state. Tzu Ran, a term used to reflect the meditative state of self spontaneity, is a beautiful image of the Taoists. Soften your outer shell (being) rather than cracking it, thereby doing away with pre-conditioning. Wu Wei, another term, gives us the image of moving with effortless effort, spontaneous action in accord with nature, going with the flow, flexibility in mind and body.

The following proverbs shed light on this idea. "If you look for the truth outside of yourself it gets further and further away." (Internal Kung Fu). "Don’t rely on experts of any sort, figure things out for yourself." (Buddha). "The Tao is very close, but everyone looks far away." (Taoist Sage 200 B.C.)

Through daily practice of advanced chi cultivation one can begin to experience the so called Alpha state of brain waves. This is perhaps the beginning of a greater coherence in the mind/body and hence greater knowingness and wisdom. According to the evolved masters of the Tao, eventually one begins to live in Tzu Ran and Wu Wei more and more until finally it becomes permanent. All of these ideas are imbedded in the natural life medicine of the ancients and can be directly experienced through such methods as Shen Kung.

There are at least five major schools of chi kung: Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, martial arts and medical. In the last few years, spontaneous chi kung practices which have no set forms are also gaining some popularity in the United States. The so called four levels of chi cultivation include Jing Kung, Chi Kung, Nei Kung and Shen Kung. The three methods of chi kung practice include standing, sitting and lying down positions performed in both stationary and moving forms. The "healing ourselves" aspect of NKCL is addressed through the higher levels of chi kung known as Shen Kung. If one is just starting out and has no background in chi kung or Tai Chi, the Taoist Elixir Style 31 foundation exercises would be learned first. More recently Grand Master Lew has shortened these to an abbreviated form of the five most important movements known as the "Cloud Hands," taking on the image of the five phases or elements.

The Shen exercises, being an advanced form, are comprised of six standing methods and six seated methods, including the Earth Meditation or "quiet sitting," to harmonize and balance the mindbody through the 8 extra or psychic meridians. These meridians are the reservoirs and deeper energy flows carrying the jing chi-ancestral energy, giving rise to and nourishing the 12 organ meridians. The jing chi is a major part of the mindbody’s programming and regulating energy, including the cellular level-DNA and RNA.

There are numerous, far-reaching relationships between the 8 extra meridians and the Ba Gua or 8 Trigrams of the Mysterious Turtle (see future articles) reflected upon by Fu She 80 centuries ago. Taoist medical genius has also infused all of the 8 Branches, especially acupuncture, herbs, Tui Na and Feng Shui with the same universal principles that unify the trigrams meridians and the chi kung-nei chia connections (see my previous article in the March '99 AAOM journal).

In following the yin-yang principles of natural balance and harmony, the Taoist life-nourishing art of Shen Kung is practiced for self healing. When helping to heal others, NKCL-Medical Chi Kung is performed by the practioner on a patient. Now let’s take a glimpse at this system of healing, "acupuncture without needles" – healing without touch. This ingenious system, believed to be the first healing art of ancient China, is quite simple, which in keeping with the Tao is also why it is so profound. Anyone with the desire and motivation can learn it and how to apply it to others.

Find out more in part three of this article in our next issue.

Review Part 1 of this article.

Review Part 3 of this article.

© 1999 by Jeff Nagel, MA, L.Ac.

Biography of the author:

Jeff Nagel, MA, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., (CA., HI.), trained in the 8 Branches of Chinese Taoist Healing and Internal Martial Arts since 1969, is an experienced practitioner/accomplished teacher of acupuncture-Oriental Medicine and a Feng Shui consultant. Jeff is a respected senior student of several well-known masters and doctors, including Taoist Grand Master Share K. Lew, Nobu Asano and Richard Tan. He has taught in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, South America and Bali. At present, he teaches a professional study group on acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, as well as Taoist Medical Chi Kung and CEU classes in various cities.

His articles have appeared in various professional journals of acupuncture-Oriental Medicine and Natural Healing Arts magazines. See AAOM journals for his article series. Jeff will also be teaching at the NW Regional Oriental Medicine and American Assoc. of Oriental Medicine conferences.

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