According to oriental medicine the body, mind and emotions are all connected by their energy, called Qi (chi) and pronounced "chee". Qi is often translated as "energy" or "vital energy", and in it's wider sense is the force behind all change and the constant flow of life. The Qi specific to our form flows around the body through a series of channels and is integral to the systems of the body. It's flow can be disturbed by a number of factors: dietary and lifestyle, environmental, emotional, hereditary, as well as by infections and trauma. The aim of Acupuncture is to restore the smooth flow of Qi and stimulate the body's own healthy response and natural balance. When Qi is deficient or blocked we begin to manifest a lack of vitality or minor transient symptoms, which can develop into more severe or serious symptoms and physical or mental health problems.
Thus acupuncture can address underlying imbalances as well as the more specific symptoms of pain or ill health.
In addition to acupuncture, and indeed herbal medicine, there are several ways we can benefit our Qi and help ourselves to a healthier life. Chinese Medicine has always understood that the way we live has a great influence over our state of emotional and physical health. It incorporates much useful advice about how to look after our bodies and minds through wise living, healthy eating and appropriate exercise.
Qi Gong is a type of meditative exercise originating in ancient China. It can be translated as "energy work" because Gong means work, and Qi describes the energy that flows through everything - "vital energy".
Qi Gong movements and postures are generally simple, each with specific actions, and some, taking their inspiration from the natural world, can look and feel quite beautiful. The aim is to strengthen and improve the flow of Qi through the mind and body. Regular practice can create an increased sense of vitality, balance and of being "centred". You often feel light and relaxed after Qi Gong practice.
Qi Gong exercises are suggested by some practitioners of Chinese Medicine for specific conditions , and much of the theory behind Qi Gong is common to Chinese Medicine.
Qi Gong itself is not a belief system, and can be practiced by people of all cultures and beliefs. There are many styles of Qi Gong, each one with a slightly different emphasis, according to its origins or the underlying aims of practice. All the forms and principles of Qi Gong reflect the balance of life.
Liz started practising Qi Gong 20 years ago, initially through attending Tai Chi classes. She was impressed by the power that such simple movements and forms, practised on a regular basis, can have. Since then she has continued to practice various forms and styles as part of her own development and to support her practice of acupuncture. In her classes Liz emphasises basic principles and teaches movements, breathing techniques, static postures, special walking forms, and meditations which have beneficial short and long term effects on our whole system. In 2006 she successfully completed The College of Chi Kung two year part-time teacher training programme. The College's approach acknowledges and integrates common aspects of Qi Gong and its traditional roots with a Western understanding of the body, mind and energy.