Qigong Reading List

Here are to be found details of:

1. — Qigong for anyone including cheap books with free video
2. — Ancillary energy practices to go with it
3. — More advanced qigong books
4. — Books and resources on the science of energy and qigong

Qigong, or chi kung etc., budded out of (primarily) Chinese traditional culture into an international phenomenon putting healing power and transpersonal experience in the hands of anyone. It’s a major plank of Glenn’s approach to working with kundalini and mysticism. Also it’s rather good for your health and kind of fun.

I hope these resources will be so easily available for a long while to come — if they’ve disappeared, get word to me.

1. Qigong — for anyone

Anyone can begin learning at home as a complete beginner at any age, if interested in doing so, and let none say otherwise. It just needs to be the right kind of qigong — easy to do right and relatively hard to do wrong, fun, with documentation easily available, and still developing serious power, peace and health. My 3 recommends fulfil one more condition too: cheapness. The books are all under 5 quid/bucks on Amazon at time of writing, and the web video is free.

These combine moving and still practices, especially the first two. That’s the best way in.

The Swimming Dragon

Perfect beginner’s form that you will still use years later. Works the spine beautifully (“At every opportunity stretch and maneuver your spine” — Path Notes, p. xviii), massages the organs, charges up the endocrine system and gathers ch’i in the tan tien. Thus major health benefits. Side effects include removal of weight from the middle and clearing the skin, which further explains its popularity. It’s about dragons and who doesn’t like dragons? These YouTube videos will be enough for some to get the basic idea:

Swimming Dragon Qigong
Addy Hernandez Smiling Swimming Dragon
Swimming Dragon Tzu Kuo Shih

… but when learning in more depth the slim book by T. K. Shih (who brought this Taoist form West) is great:

SWIMMING DRAGON: A Chinese Way to Fitness, Beautiful Skin, Weight Loss, and High Energy

… well-written and including physiological detail on effects. Bless him, Shih also gives a preliminary form to go with it, and a post-form meditation, plus an intro to Taoist sitting and standing forms. You can’t say fairer.

EDIT 18/7/2012: Just started using this form again as a way to start and end longer chains. It’s wonderful! It stretches and moves you in a particular way and gathers qi in a particular way, like no other form. No-one will regret learning this. 27/02/2013: currently doing 20 of these a day or more. Just came back again to it naturally, it’s super-useful and a special form.

Zhang Mingwu’s Medical Qigong

I love this 80s medical qigong, and have done a lot of it:

Chinese Qigong Therapy

… I suppose it could be a touch harder to puzzle out for the complete beginner than the first one, but it’s very doable and the effect is even more powerful. The two walking forms — one quite brisk at 45-60 steps/min, the other superslow at 2-4 — are worth the price in themselves, but the head massage is also highly useful and you get a great qigong ruler form too. Much of this is basically Guo Lin’s qigong (Zhang was her student) and has a trustworthy and evidence-backed rep for cancer healing. It’s the only one of these which features superslow moves and I think those are important. Anyone wanting peace, tranquillity, healing, etc., plus a big grin, couldn’t do better than this qigong.

These videos give the idea of how some of it looks/feels:

郭林气功 氣功抗癌 自然行功 Guolin walking qigong
チャーリー横山の「郭林気功宝塚」 Guolin Qigong Takarazuka Japan by Charlie Yokoyama

… but not enough to learn from. Forest Rock have videos very like these forms:

Forest Rock Qigong Page

… under “Breathing and Stances”, “Opening and Closing Forms”, “Daoyin Walking Qigong”, “Toe Raising and Qi Transforming” and “Dao Yin Head Massage”, but they do charge a small fee for each.

And the book is available for free here (Scribd upload) making this zero outlay:

Chinese Qigong Therapy

… but a hard copy is not exactly bank-breaking. For those who like me prefer doing rather than thinking, part one can be skipped. Going right to the forms will be more helpful and the theory can be glanced over whenever.

Lam Kam Chuen’s Zhan Zhuang

Very nicely-produced free video for this one here:

Stand Still Be Fit

… shot in 10 x 10 minute episodes for British Channel 4 in the 80s and no longer produced, thus the upload. Fun to watch in itself and a course in itself, no book needed.

Zhan Zhuang means standing qigong, and is generally a little more advanced than the first two for some, but Lam’s easy explanations make this suitable for beginners. In fact all three of these methods include some pure standing, but this one focuses on it and introduces different arm positions. Lam is a fun guy and good at motivating, plus they shot in nice Chinese locations with spectacular scenery and temples for backdrop. The warmup exercises, taken together, form an easy/introductory qigong form of their own — Ba Duan Jin or 8 Brocades. Anyone who gets into it, and that seems to be quite a few, will like the book:

Way of Energy

… considered a classic, again very well written and nice production too.

Additional qigong for anyone can be had from these books and just as cheaply:

Complete System of Self-Healing by Stephen Chang
Qigong for Health by Masaru Takahashi and Stephen Brown

(That last recommended by Glenn at Path Notes p. 82 — he was always recommending the 80s medical qigong stuff, by the way, even little things like this, because it really worked.)

NOTE 28/05/2012 — I’ve been using the Stephen Chang book there for that last little while and it’s got a lot of neat stuff in it. Currently to be had for £1 on Amazon UK, I would recommend this book. Glenn used Chang’s work. When I get round to other lists I will be recommending Chang’s diet book too.

Another really nice option for exercises is Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine Kit, but this seems to be somehow really expensive in the states but not here in the UK. As you can see it gets uniform 5* reviews and the Chang book is not far behind. Both this and the Chang book are great for little exercises to help with organs, energy, and so on. A selection of those and you’re good to go for a beginning but I am still using them and I’m not a beginner any more.

There is also a lot of stuff very freely available online that was big in the 80s and finds itself sitting around now. Anyone could put it to work. I haven’t tried Fragrant Qigong for example, but from what I’m told it does plenty. Etc.

2. Ancillary Energy Practices

Traditionally, moving and sitting energy work is combined with work on acupoints. My top recommend for the latter is:

Touch of Healing by Alice Burmeister with Tom Monte

… a Japanese system that headed West. It uses only a small number of points — 26 — but in pairs, ‘jumper cabling’ to get energetic flows. It also adds finger-wrapping and mudra/kuji stuff. It’s very nice, this, and extremely easy to do without any experience. Results are effective, cumulative, harmonising. There are Amazon reviews where the system has immediate effects on cerebral palsy fits in complete beginners, but that’s nothing compared with what happens when the ch’i has been developed a little. It’s fascinating to feel the energy respond to the different locks. The ‘main central flow’ can be adapted to open the microcosmic orbit, and the organ flows are particularly interesting. Glenn recommends this book at Crawfish, p. 51.

For acupressure in the Chinese system, qigong books usually have some info. Specific acupressure books for beginners/anybody:

Acupuncture Models show all the ordinary meridians in situ

Acupressure’s Potent Points by Michael Reed Gach
Acupressure for Emotional Healing by Michael Reed Gach and Beth Ann Henning

… these are excellent.

To get really into this detail is needed, the best pro resource on locating acupoints is:

A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman (yes, I know), Mazin Al-Khafaji and Kevin Baker

… combined with an acupuncture model.

3. Qigong and Energy — More Advanced

I love this blockbuster book on how to develop and emit ch’i which most have never heard of:

Chinese Qigong Outgoing-Qi Therapy by Bi Yongsheng

… the real deal on using the force, Luke, but overlooked and very affordable. Great guidelines that will ensure no safety issues. Basic sitting and moving qigong, perfect info on meridians and what to actually do with them in practice, very cool sets of hand positions and clever ways to emit different ch’i waveforms, linear or spiral shapes etc. Useful descriptions of turbid ch’i and how to shift it, ways to open up intuition, points, zones, postures and flows. References to centuries of Chinese medical classics, plus details of modern scientific tests.

This is also the only book I ever saw with good instructions on how to run hot or cold energy at will. You know, as in Path Notes p. 37, where Toffesse Alemu can’t show Glenn how to do it, but Suzanne Carlson can, and Glenn then doesn’t show the reader. ^_^ (Bardon gives instructions for generating hot or cold but his Western method never runs energy.) This book by Bi reveals all and additionally has methods for generating 5 types of elemental ch’i, similar to Bardon but with the Chinese system. Sometimes I think I should just keep this book to myself.

Whilst working on that, I give a very high recommendation also to this:

Meridian Qigong by Li Ding

… sadly out of print and getting expensive, but I am told there may be a reprint at some time. This qigong is a set of moving forms, one per meridian — a total of fourteen including the functional and governor vessels — and works beautifully to open everything out. It’s also the most natural way to learn the meridians thoroughly in a short time without strain. It increases harmony and power levels considerably.


14-Series Sinew-Transforming Exercises by Chang Weizhen

… is a wonderful book on Yi Jin Jing by the same publisher. This also is out of print but I notice today (16/2/13) that there are new copies on that page, including one for just three pounds! Somebody snap this up.

You can extract bits from this for various purposes if you don’t want to do the whole set (100 pages of very solid moves) but it’s so lovely to do, increases flexibility and power no end. I recommend this 100%.

When ready, also check out:

Qigong Empowerment by Liang Shou-yu and Wu Wen-Ching

Glenn called this “the best book on Chi Kung I have ever seen” (Crawfish, p. 126). Really five small books in one, very wide-ranging but on the perfunctory side so experience is required. Has interesting Buddhist qigong and also includes some iron shirt. Neat tricks on opening the orbit in here, including info on the mini-orbit.

Talking of which, opening the orbit is on the list at this point so the first or both of these are worthwhile to add more useful skills:

Awaken Healing Energy Through The Tao by Mantak Chia
Healing Light of the Tao by Mantak Chia

The first in particular is essential alongside Bi. If you’ve done the Li Ding book and some of the Hoshinjutsu and Jin Shin Jyutsu stuff then your orbit will be opening itself spontaneously by now. We owe a lot to Chia as he was the first to bring some of this stuff West and did a wonderful job. Healing Energy has now been in print for three decades continuously and deservedly. Combining all this with Glenn’s system of chakra psychology and will get some serious effects so stand by.

EDIT: Please check out James MacRitchie’s Global Qi Project for an amazing course of chi kung devoted to the 8 extraordinary meridians. A very harmonious and well-designed way of looking at them and completely free to all. A prince among men. This is the best resource for the 8 I’ve found so far. It begins with a recap of the Mantak Chia approach. With this plus the 12 you really are all set.

Specifically for dealing with energy blockages the following can be useful:

Energy Work by Robert Bruce
Relaxing Into Your Being by Bruce Kumar Frantzis

The first is also a great way to definitely feel ch’i quickly, but doesn’t represent a full development system (no stillness and letting go) so combine it with the others above. The latter is excellent for ideas on how to deblock.

Local teachers of course can be checked out and I’ll include some DVDs on this list later I shouldn’t wonder. Glenn and Rob Williams can be carefully read on the strangeness that happens when opening, and opportunity arises for acquiring even more ‘interesting’ skills. Talking of which, an oft-overlooked book was recommended by Glenn under the general heading of “weird airs” (see Path Notes, p. 205):

Hypnotism and Mysticism of India by Ormond McGill

… which turns out to be an eccentric volume but worth the time of anyone who has developed a little and knows what they are looking at energywise. (I noticed this book on the shelf downstairs at the EICH).

For more general info on how to understand “what the exdeleted is going on”, see the transpersonal/paranormal background section. (forthcoming)

4. The Science on Qigong and Energy

Science will never ‘fully understand’ ch’i but does prove its existence, has measured its effects, and can comprehend at least some of how its nature manifests in this physical and measurable world:

Scientific Qigong Exploration by Lu Zuyin
Life Force, the Scientific Basis by Claude Swanson
Spiritual Healing: Professional Supplement by Daniel J. Benor
The Body Electric by Robert O. Becker

Lu provides records of serious experiments in China, Swanson a bigger overview of energy experiment and theory generally although leaning to the credulous at moments. Benor simply and trustworthily provides a summary of 191 experiments in spiritual healing which speak for themselves. Becker gives some useful thoughts as a result of excellent experiments on the electromagnetic side.

These databases have many interesting papers for the keen:

Qigong and Energy Medicine Database
Links and Resources at Skeptiko forum

And some may want to check the work of these people:

International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine

Finally, this book on the social history of qigong comes highly recommended:

Qigong Fever by David Palmer

… includes how it arose in the 20th century, explains its manifestation in China and how we in the West happen to have access to it.


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