In ancient times, they understood that certain actions, as well as certain types of breathing and pronunciation, regularised the functions of the human body. They knew that the mere act of stretching the limbs had the precise function of dissipating heat, while curling the body did not let the cold pass. And what about the fact that the ‘HA’ sound removes stagnation and drives away heat while the ‘XU’ sound relieves pain.
In the chapter devoted to the theoretical foundations of QiQong (Taijiquan style chen xiaojia and qigong, an important sentence written in Su Wen of the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine is quoted: ‘Those who suffer from ailments due to sluggishness of the kidneys, may turn south from 3 to 5 a.m., clear their minds of all thoughts, hold their breath without breathing for seven times, and swallow their breath while stretching their neck slightly to send it down smoothly, as if they were swallowing something very heavy. After doing this seven times, swallow the abundant sublingual saliva.
These exercises, which may seem bizarre to us, are nonetheless proof that there were once simple and nature-friendly methods of maintaining a state of well-being. Today we prefer to swallow a pill without even thinking about the real cause of the ailments we suffer. Such incredibly evolved notions are the result of a global knowledge of Mother Nature.
It is by imitating the functions and movements of what lives around us, in fact, that we can acquire balance and health: ‘Blowing and puffing, exhaling and inhaling, getting rid of the old and taking in the new, contracting like the bear and stretching like the bird, all help to prolong life’ (Zhuangzi – 369-286 BC). Gymnastics such as QiGong are based on the stimulation of three fundamental points called dantian. The first is located between the eyebrows, the second corresponds to the Ren Mai 17 (Shan Zhong) point and the third, the lower one, about six centimetres from the navel, at the acupuncture point Ren Mai 4.
Recent scientific experiments have shown that ‘dantian stimulation and pressure on other points produce direct effects on the nervous and endocrine systems, thereby regulating the functions of certain internal organs.
Similar results have been obtained in QiGong with mind-control induced dantian stimulation,’ the authors continue. In QiGong practice, the dantian is used as the focus of attention and acts as a kind of catalyst capable of producing a deep state of mental tranquillity.
Studies have shown, by means of an electroencephalographic trace, that the brain waves of a normal individual are characterised by high frequency and low amplitude (50 microvolts), while QiGong practitioners show an alpha wave frequency number of 8 hertz with high amplitude (180 microvolts): an incredible difference that also shows a synchronisation of the various brain districts. This means that a state of deep tranquillity is triggered, but also better functioning, overall, in the brain.
Taijiquan, which involves very similar exercises, also brings great benefits to the entire organism. In recent years, there have been numerous studies on the association between traditional arts and health. For example, studies on bone density loss were conducted in 2006 and 2007, in which it was found that those who practised Taiji were able to delay bone loss and the number of fractures particularly markedly compared to those who had not practised it.
Excellent results were also achieved in patients suffering from diabetes, whose studies revealed efficacy in improving glycaemic control. The same goes for the immune response, which was significantly better in people who practised QiGong or Taiji.
Medical gymnastics have also proven through numerous studies their validity against anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and in reducing falls in the elderly. All of these – modern – studies only confirm the incredible wisdom and wisdom that the ancients have been trying, for years, to deepen and bequeath to us.
Wisdom that must not be improved upon or wasted or ignored, but made available to the whole of humanity, so that it can finally grow in harmony with the entire Universe.