A milestone: the first Medical Qigong Museum opened

Qi is the life energy or bio-energy. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers both Qi and blood the pillars of health. Qi and blood are closely related and can affect each other. Unlike blood, Qi does not have color, smell, shape, or visible substance. With training, we can feel how Qi moves, but it cannot be measured directly yet by contemporary Western medical equipment. Nonetheless, it is undisputable that Qi exists and through the practice of Qigong regimen, health can be significantly improved based on scientific studies. You can find out more about its amazing health effects by searching the National Qigong Association’s database.

A tourist spot in Xu Zhou, China

A tourist spot in Xu Zhou, China

Qigong means that people practice a certain set of exercises to increase the energy level or to balance the Yin and Yang energy. Qigong has been practiced for over thousands of years in China and other Eastern countries. There are hundreds of Qigong forms if not thousands. Few Qigong forms can be esoteric and mystical in nature and they may have applications and impact outside the realm of health and martial arts. According to the textbook Chinese Medical Qigong, the authority on medical Qigong and widely used in the medical schools both in China and the West, the medical Qigong can be roughly classified into two categories. The first category is for self-cultivation that a practitioner frequently works out a certain regimen, like a Tai Chi (Taiji) form, to improve one’s health and even to cure malady. The second category is for treating diseases that a Qigong master or doctor emits the energy to a patient to revive the health. Even though the medical Qigong has been taught to all medical students in China and research has been conducted, the Chinese government has been ambivalent to promote Qigong. The state-run media do not report much on Qigong events or its development as they do for other Traditional Chinese Medicine or Chinese martial arts. One major reason is that Falun Gong, a quasi-religious group that mixes faith and political agenda with Qigong type exercise and causes confusion in China. Additionally, there are con artists who proclaim possessing healing powers to cheat public out of money.

But Qigong is too important to be neglected. Finally, Chinese government set up Chinese Health Qigong Association under the supervision of the National Sports Department in 2004. The mission is to teach proven medical Qigong forms (e.g. Ba Duan Jin, Five Animals, and Yi Jin Jing) to improve citizens’ health. It even dispatches Qigong masters overseas to promote Qigong for health. There are museums of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tai Chi Chuan, which is a branch of Qigong with government support. Still, there wasn’t any museum dedicated to Qigong in China until recently.

Dr. Yan Wang

Dr. Yan Wang

Born in China, Grandmaster Yang Wang studied Tai Chi Chuan at a tender age and won numerous medals and trophies even late in her 60’s. Driven by her interest, she encountered several experts in Traditional Chinese Medicine and medical Qigong. She learned numerous Qigong forms to mitigate ailments. She was an herbalist as well and treated patients. She firmly believes that it is better to teach individuals how to cultivate Qi themselves rather than simply treating sick persons unless there is a dire need. As an outstanding martial artist, she was recruited by the Chinese government to travel globally to perform. People in the Netherlands were dazzled by her knowledge and skills and persuaded her to stay. She decided to immigrate to Amsterdam after retirement. Her retirement life was extremely busy and full of medical miracles. According to the European and Chinese media, she has cured tens of thousands with all kinds of physical conditions, i.e. obesity, depression, diabetes, migraines, chronic pains, insomnia, psoriasis, tinnitus, and even cancer not to mention she has helped thousands quit smoking and drinking.

Opening ceremony of the Chinese Medical Qigong Museum

Opening ceremony of the Chinese Medical Qigong Museum

To promote Qigong further, Grandmaster Wang accepted the invitation from her hometown Xu Zhou, China to build a Medical Qigong Museum there. Xu Zhou, an ancient city of 8 million people, is known for its significance in the military, culture, and transportation throughout the Chinese history. Under months’ planning, the first Chinese Medical Qigong was opened on March 25. It is housed in a beautiful Chinese-style building with well-structured and manicured courtyard. It was the first in its kind in China. It tells the history of Qigong and its development, famous TCM doctors and Qigong masters throughout history. It contains the recent research by the modern medicine.

Besides the trophies, rewards, and recognitions won by Grandmaster Wang, its exhibition comprises of the achievements of American Qigong pioneers Dr. Effie Chow, Dr. Shin Lin, Dr. Kevin Chen, and others. Nick-named as Mother of Qigong in the West, Grandmaster Chow is the founder and president of East West Academy of Healing Arts, co-author of Miracle Healing from China-Qigong, member of the first Advisory Panel of the Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, long-time consultant with National Institutes of Health for the U.S. and Canada, and Commission Member on the President’s White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy in the U.S. She founded the annual “World Congress on Qigong, Tai Chi, and TCM” in 1990. With her enduring passion, unwavering determination, and remarkable organization skills, the World Congress has grown into an international success and expanded to other countries.

Maria Louisa Vocca in front of the Chinese Medical Qigong Musuem

Maria Louisa Vocca in front of the Chinese Medical Qigong Musuem

Dr. Shin Lin, Professor of Cell Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Integrative Medicine, as well as Founding Director of Laboratory for Mind/Body Energy and Signaling Research at University of California – Irvine, is highly recognized for his contribution in the research to test the effectiveness of Chinese Medicine, Qigong, and Tai Chi. He has chaired the science symposium for the World Congress on Qigong, Tai Chi, and TCM for years and brought prominent scientists in the field to highlight the significance of the Chinese healing arts. Dr. Kevin Chen, Professor of Family & Community Medicine at the Medical School of University of Maryland, was instrumental in founding Qi Dao, an e-newsletter to promote Qigong in its research and practice worldwide. He later transformed it to an online Yangsheng Magazine to further its cause. He was also the editor in charge of the massive translation work of Chinese Medical Qigong into English.

There was a large ceremony to celebrate the opening of the museum. Approximately 200 Qigong experts, masters, and TCM doctors from China, Japan, Italy, German, U.K., and France attended the event. They addressed the significance of Qigong to health as well as the relevance of the first Qigong Museum. A few masters invited to demonstrate various Qigong. The 83-year-old Dr. Chow exhibited her specialty by pushing eight people back and won a loud applause. Master Maria Luisa Vocca of Italy and founder of Nei Dao in Italy brought a delegation of ten people. She briefly presented the research work that was conducted in Italy and was honored during the ceremony for her contribution to promote Qigong practice and research among a dozen other experts. A Japanese master as well as scientist on Qigong research introduced the state of Qigong practice in Japan by showcasing large Qigong events participated by thousands. French and German specialists emphasized the encouraging news how Qigong practice propagates faster than ever in Europe. Representatives of Guo Lin New Qigong for Cancer also demonstrated its routines. There were special Qigong workshops for a couple of days after the opening ceremony hosted by masters.

Dr. Chow (the third from the left) performed during the opening ceremony of the Chinese Medical Qigong Museum.

Dr. Chow (the third from the left) performed during the opening ceremony of the Chinese Medical Qigong Museum.

Chinese culture places a relatively bigger value on ceremonies. One can expect multiple congratulatory speeches or remarks delivered by high-ranking officials for important events with massive media coverage. However, I was not able to identify much reporting on the opening of the first Qigong museum in China. Considering the valuable contribution that Medical Qigong has made to the billions of Chinese people in the history and millions of people globally now, I was anticipating that the opening ceremony of the first Qigong museum would be celebrated at a much grander scale with formal recognitions. I am disappointed that Master Yan Wang was not able to attend the event in person due to a visa complication. Nevertheless, as a realistic Qigong enthusiast, I appreciate that a new milestone has been made with grassroots effort throughout the world and the Global Dragon TV of the U.S. sent a crew to Xu Zhou to cover the event and you can watch their special report below.

(Edited by Doc Luecke.)(Special thanks to the Global Dragon TV, Dr. Effie Chow, Sifu Maria Louisa Vocca, and others for providing photos.)

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