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Is It More Than "A Beautiful Form of Hypnosis"?

Grow
Weizhong Foo, a qigong practitioner, delivers an external qigong treatment to cultured human cells.

Garret Yount, Ph.D., was trained as a molecular neuroscientist. His wife, Yifang Qian, M.D., Ph.D., who is from Beijing, was trained in both Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. In 1990, when Yount’s father was diagnosed with Stage IV (terminal) leukemia, the three traveled to China where Yount’s father engaged in a combination of conventional chemotherapy and Chinese therapies including herbs and qigong. Nowadays (in 2001), Yount’s father is coexisting peacefully with his cancer, Qian is a board-certified psychiatrist, and Yount has taken up qigong. A collaborator with Anne Harrington and funded by the Fetzer Foundation, he dreams of discovering that the mind is able to alter genetic expression. He already has provocative evidence suggesting that qi is more than a “beautiful form of hypnosis.” — Ed.

This article appeared in the Summer 2001 issue of Spirituality & Health. Most people involved in qigong have a daily meditation practice often using simple movements or postures and breathing exercises, and there is plenty of good evidence that this kind of practice is health promoting. From the Western perspective, it seems likely that the behavioral techniques involved in qigong meditation can influence human physiology just like hypnosis can — through the complex interconnections of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. But there are some individuals who, after many years of practicing internal qigong, believe they can develop the ability to manipulate qi outside the body. This is the basis of external qigong therapy, which looks basically like psychic healing or spiritual healing. It is the aspect of qigong we wanted to study. Our idea was to bring these qigong masters into the lab and ask them to focus their healing intentionality toward isolated human brain cells growing in plastic dishes. We chose brain cells rather than people to eliminate any psychological cuing. Although t …

Great Resources

Sheng Zhen Healing Qigong (International Sheng Zhen Society, 1999). The underlying purpose of this form of qigong is to experience the opening of the heart and the stillness of the mind. Contact: www.shengzhen.org.

The Spirit of Qigong. On this video, Deborah Davis teaches a 15-minute qigong practice structured around the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) central to Chinese medicine. Contact: www.womensqigong.com.

The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing (Ballantine, 1999) by Kenneth Cohen is the standard reference in the West on this form of body energy and healing. Cohen has also produced audio and videotapes and teaches around the country. Contact: www.qigonghealing.com.

Traditional Chinese Medicine World is a quarterly full-color newspaper with over 225,000 readers nationally (in 2001), dedicated to educating Western consumers and healthcare professionals about Traditional Chinese Medicine, natural healing, and the internal martial arts. Published by the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation (www.tcmworld.org).


Garret Yount, Ph.D., is a scientist at California Pacific Medical Center's Complementary Medicine Research Institute in San Francisco, California.


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From the ArchivesQigongChiHealingCancerScience And Spirituality

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