In the last year I decided to get back into one of the passions that I pursued many years ago when I was training martial arts in Sydney, Chinatown while at the same time studying at university for my Classical Chinese medicine degree.
The Chinese Art of Qi Gong
The art I am talking about is Qi Gong a Chinese form of Yoga that has been used for over 2500 years for many different purposes. Some of them being orientated towards ultra health, martial power and prowess or spiritual realization.
Master Yang and the Calligraphy Health and Yoga System
More specifically I got into the Qi Gong and Yoga system of Calligraphy Health from the Chinese internal martial arts system called “Yangmian” which is currently being taught worldwide by Master Zhen Hua Yang who is based in Sydney, Australia. Master Yang has been teaching many students internationally from diverse back grounds for the last 35 years.
The meaning of “Qi Gong”
The character “Qi” means life force or energy and the character “Gong” literally means the aquisition of a skill over a period of time through hard work and effort. So “Qi Gong” translated from Chinese means something like “The Art and Skill of Working with Energy”.
The practice of Qi Gong and Calligraphy Yoga played a huge part in my personal journey of recovery from an auto-immune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which made my body weak, tired and lifeless over a period of a couple of years.
Before I applied my Qi Gong and Calligraphy health skills to help with my healing journey I studied and applied functional medicine principles and a personalized lifestyle medicine approach to treat my Hashimoto’s .
I got help and guidance from a range of functional medicine doctors from around the globe until this year again I was starting to pursue my passion in Classical Chinese medicine, traditional Acupuncture and Chinese Martial arts. Getting back into Calligraphy Yoga and Qi Gong was really about going back to my former roots of the Asian healing arts.
Qi Gong: The Secret and Ancient Biohacking Skill of China
Qi Gong sits at the intersection of Classical Chinese medicine, Yoga, Martial arts and meditation. It is a truly amazing and unique skill that every biohacker of the 21st century should look into. I personally look at it as one of the most advanced and ancient high tech health technologies available as of today.
In the old days the major biohackers in China were the martial artists, acupuncturists, herbalists and Qi Gong practitioners. Often you would find these in buddhist or daoist temples secluded somewhere in the mountains of Tibet or China practicing their high level energy arts in secrecy or seclusion to bring out different powers of meditation, healing or fighting.
The deadly Martial art of Tai Chi Chuan and the roots of Qi Gong
If you have ever seen Tai Chi Chuan a slow motion movement art that is being practiced quite frequently these days in parks in the west you actually might be surprised to find out that it is a high level martial art that can be deadly if used by a trained person.
The incredible power of this so called internal martial art lies in the fact that the advanced and deep health benefits that come from training will also result in an advanced and unusual fighting power. Often superior skills of relaxation, timing and postural alignment is used in Tai Chi to create a strong force that is different to muscular brute force.
Often before high level martial artists in the east would be able to learn Tai Chi Chuan or other internal martial arts they would turn to advanced forms of yoga and qi gong exercises first to learn how to cultivate, control and circulate Qi or vital energy in their body to heal their organs, bodily tissues or joints. This is essence was the use of Qi gong in ancient China. It is interesting to note as well that usually acupuncturists in China were high level Qi Gong practitioners.
Functional Medicine and Qi Gong Treatment for Hashimotos
I used an in depth 7 step functional medicine approach in 2012 and 2013 to create a high level of basic health after I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2012. Still in 2013 I went deeper and deeper into the root causes of my auto-immune disease and treated those via doing my own research and working with experts.
Then in the beginning of 2014 I started to use Qi Gong and Calligraphy Yoga of the “Yangmian” Family Martial Arts system of Master Zhen Hua Yang from Sydney to dramatically strengthen and boost my overall health as the final step to regain and solidify my health.
Following the Calligraphy Health Yoga System
I followed the guidance of Master Zhen Hua Yang himself (who learend the Calligraphy Yoga and Qigong system from his father and grand father) and some close friends and senior students of his in Europe and Australia.
I started by learning some very specific Qi gong and yoga exercises which are comprised of a combination of movement, breathing and awareness control that would impact different body systems. My intent on using these methods was to help me to slow down and reverse some of the long term results of my Hashimoto’s auto-immune related thyroid condition.
My Journey to Recovery from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Over the months that followed I was amazed at the increased speed of healing, recovery and increase of energy and stamina that I could feel developing in my body. I strictly followed the exercise prescriptions in a disciplined and focused way alongside my lifestyle interventions of diet, supplements and herbs for my Hashimoto’s treatment.
I am very glad I used Qi Gong and Calligraphy yoga because of it’s low impact style of exercise if I would have chosen a more strenuous type of exercise I might have went backwards again with my health. The smooth breathing and slow rhythmic movements were a perfect fit for me as an exercise choice.
How Calligraphy Yoga Practice benefits the Body
The Calligraphy Health yoga system works on 3 major body systems to create exceptional health, strength and vitality. It truly creates health from the inside out in a very sophisticated and focused way because of the deep understanding of functional anatomy and physiology that has been developed and refined over generations. The 3 areas targeted through the Calligraphy Health Yoga exercises are the digestive system, the blood circulatory system and the nervous system.
Healing the Digestive Tract with Calligraphy Yoga
The first area that I focused on in my training was to improve and rehabilitate the function of my digestive system. One of the root causes of my auto-immune disease according to functional diagnostics was a bacterial Heliobacter Pylori infection that created havoc in my digestive system.
The above long term bacterial infection brought on many health problems in my digestive system like nutrient malabsorption, inflammation and leaky gut which is a complicated health condition with many flow on effects. First I removed the bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections from my gut with the help of western and herbal medicines and then I added the right nutrients to heal the gut.
Then I used qi gong and Calligraphy Yoga to reverse the inherent tissue weaknesses in my digestive system so as to create strong and resilient gut function again. Master Yang explained to me that the rhythmic and slow movements of the exercises would massage my stomach, liver, pancreas and intestines and improve the overall blood circulation, nutrient delivery and oxygen supply into these areas with the result of faster healing and recovery.
How did the Qi Gong improve my digestive system? Due to the internal and soft massage of the qi gong movements my digestive system would heal and detoxify really well and finally I know it worked after I naturally gained in weight and muscle mass because I would be able to digest and absorb my foods better.
Improving my overall Blood Circulation
The second area that is greatly getting improved through the practice of qi gong and Calligraphy yoga is the circulatory system of the blood. All the nutrients, hormones and oxygen molecules in your body are getting delivered to your cells and organs via the blood and circulatory system.
In my own case I needed to get high quality nutrients, thyroid hormone and much needed oxygen back into my depleted organs and cells. The soft, rhythmic and relaxed movements of Qi Gong and calligraphy yoga facilitated this need wonderfully without causing stress, strain or exhaustion.
Regaining my Abdominal Breathing Capacity
The muscle tightness in my neck and shallow breathing pattern in my chest inhibited overall blood circulation up to my neck and thyroid gland causing suboptimal thyroid and brain function. The first break trough came from learning how to regain deep diaphragmatic breathing again. The bellows action of deep breathing through the diaphragm would increase my overall blood circulation and oxygenation of the blood hence leading to more relaxed and open neck muscles.
How I learned to regulate my Nervous System to Master Stress
The last area that is getting impacted hugely through Qi Gong and Calligraphy Yoga is the nervous system. Qi Gong and Calligraphy yoga works in a very sophisticated way to improve the overall alignment of the spine so as to facilitate a more effective transfer of nerve signal from the brain to the organs and back.
As well due the improved blood circulation the feedback loop and detoxification of the stress hormone cortisol is improved and hence stress hormones are getting regulated in a more efficient manner giving the nervous system a faster recovery time from stress. The ability to relax on a very deep level with the help of Qi Gong and Calligraphy Yoga is a key skill that I learned from my daily routine.
In the case of auto-immunity related the thyroid gland a good adaptation ability to stress is important for long term recovery. The major stressors that I overcame with Calligraphy Yoga and Qi Gong was a weak digestive system, low blood circulation and a deregulated hormone system due to stress and nutrient deficiencies.
Qi Gong and Calligraphy Yoga as a useful tool to heal Hashimoto’s
In my opinion Qi Gong and Calligraphy Yoga can be a real life saver in the long term treatment of Hashimoto’s and auto-immune disease in regards to personalized lifestyle medicine. In the near future I might make a few videos for people with Hashimoto’s on a few simple exercises that they can perform on a daily level facilitate the healing process of the thyroid gland. Feel free to leave comments below with questions.
Stay energized and awake,
Matt Dippl BHSc TCM, IFM