Slow Movement with Awareness (like Qi Gong): Better than (Hard) Exercise? | Psychology Today

Slow Movement with Awareness: Better than Hard Exercise? | Psychology Today.

Slow Movement with Awareness: Better than Exercise?

How you move is as important as how much you move

Published on July 6, 2010

Cardiovascular exercise is now known to be essential for health and well-being. If exercise is your only form of movement, however, it is not a very balanced diet. There is mounting evidence that slow movement, with body sense – awareness, has astounding health benefits by itself and in combination with regular exercise routines.

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, there are a growing number of pain clinics and integrative medicine centers that offer slow movement, awareness-based therapies (like hatha yoga, tai chi and qi gong) for pain in a wide variety of conditions including “pain caused by cancer and cancer treatments, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases and conditions.”

Throw away the pills? Stop getting injections? Scrap the pain management therapy groups? Stop the sweaty workouts? Maybe not entirely, but regular slow movement classes are increasingly seen as having essential “nutrients” for the body.

Qi Gong (pronounced Chee Gong), is a slow, gentle, moving meditation. The movements, which are easy to learn, encourage a climate of internal calm, opening up the energy pathways of the body and  promoting the free flow of oxygen throughout the body.  This has profound implications both in treatment of diseases of the body and mind, and in the creation of high-level wellness.

Recommended Resources


There is a plethora of excellent books on the subjects of Shiatsu Therapy and QiGong:

Click here: Books on Shiatsu in English

Recommended Books on QiGong, Chinese Medicine and Related Subjects:

Staying Healthy with the Seasons: Elson M. Haas, M.D.

The New Detox Diet: Elson M. Haas, M.D.

Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain : Chungliang Al Huang

Healing Yourself with QiGong: Suzanne B. Friedman

Dragon and Tiger Medical QiGong: Bruce Kumar Frantzis

QiGong Illustrated: Christina Barea

The Web That Has No Weaver: Ted J. Kaptchuk

Wood Becomes Water : Gail Reichstein

Web Resources:

National QiGong Association Articles:



……more to come

Philosophy behind Oriental Medicine

Philosophy behind Oriental Medicine

The philosophy underlying most forms of Shiatsu comes from Taoism.

The Western viewpoint is that things, if left to their own devices, will get more chaotic. Taoism explores the way in which some systems naturally start to re-balance themselves when they move away from equilibrium.

The Western viewpoint is largely true for simple non-living systems, but living organisms are good at adjusting themselves, and therefore are better described by Taoist philosophy.

Western medicine focuses on intervention to push an organism back into balance. In contrast, Oriental medicine believes that by helping the organism to activate its capacity for self-balancing, the body will naturally find equilibrium. From this viewpoint, problems occur when the natural process is not working and so you are stuck in the imbalanced state.

‘Treatment’ in Oriental Medicine is therefore treatment of the body’s self-balancing systems, which the Japanese call Ki (in Chinese it is called Chi). The closest analogy in Western terms would be if doctors had a way of boosting the immune system instead of giving antibiotics. Shiatsu and other Oriental therapies focus on getting these Ki systems moving when they are stuck and boosting them when they are weak. Then the natural process of re-adjustment will start to work again.

So it is possible that Shiatsu treatment may slightly increase the symptoms in the short-term, going further into the condition, until the body has satisfied or exhausted this way of behaving and can start to transform of its own accord. The effect of this ‘natural transformation’ is believed to be more permanent than ‘transformation through intervention’ because the problem has completed it’s journey and is not just pushed under the carpet, waiting to reappear.

To be fair, most Western doctors believe the same thing. They are often reluctant to give antibiotics to children because they know that if they leave the child to get better naturally, it will strengthen the immune system and the child will be less likely to get that illness again.Returning the favour, Shiatsu therapists recognize the value of intervention if the organism has gone too far out of balance to adjust itself. They are trained to recognize when Western medicine may be more suitable and advise the client to seek medical help. In this case Shiatsu can be useful as an aid to the recovery process once the necessary intervention has been made.

Source:Why have Shiatsu?

What are Yin and Yang?

Oriental medicine is based on the philosophy of Yin and Yang which is a way of understanding how the universe works and it is also a way of thinking.  It is cyclical, complementary and opposite; there are no absolutes, everything is part of the whole, objects and phenomena are seen in relation to the universe and to each other.

The original meaning of Yang was ‘the sunny side of the valley’; Yin was ‘the shady side of the valley’.  Yin therefore was associated with darkness, coldness, resting, and quietness. Yang was the opposite: light, heat, activity and movement.

Of course, everything changes, and so – the shady becomes sunny, and vice versa.

By the further association of Yang with Heaven, and Yin with the Earth, a whole series of qualities were assigned to each category. Yin and Yang mutually create each other; there can be no concept of hot without an idea of what cold is, there is no down without a concept of up, etc.


Calligraphy by Chungliang Al Huang

What are the Five Elements or Phases?

The Five Elements or Phases represent a further classification of Yin and Yang into different forms of Ki, described by the qualities of Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire. These Elements are descriptions of Ki in different stages and processes of change.  Fire is the ultimate Yang; Metal is more solid, more structured, colder; Water is to do with fluidity and flexibility, it is cold and is the ultimate Yin; Wood is more active, creative. The cycle of the Five Elements shows how each element is constantly being transformed from one into another throughout the natural world. Water creates Wood, Wood creates Fire, Fire creates Earth, Earth creates Metal and Metal creates Water. The names of the elements are convenient labels, or images to help us understand their function, but their meaning goes far beyond the label. In humans, for example, Wood energy is responsible for growth, decision-making and creativity, but if it is allowed to get out of balance it can lead to impatience, frustration and anger. Metal represents clarity, precision and incisiveness, but if unchecked it can lead to depression and grief. The five elements are interrelated in a complex way, so that an excess of one type of energy can over-control or deplete another: Earth controls Water, Water controls Fire, Fire controls Metal, Metal controls Wood and Wood controls Earth.

Five Element Diagram

Five Element Correspondences

Shiatsu Research

Shiatsu Research


The following are some examples of the latest research being conducted in both Asia and the West into the efficacy of Shiatsu for treating a broad range of conditions.

The Systematic Evidence Review for Shiatsu

The Systematic Evidence Review for Shiatsu has now been published. This Review was commissioned by the Shiatsu Society from the Centre for Complementary Healthcare and Integrated Medicine at Thames Valley University.

The Review critically appraises 5 scientific trials of Shiatsu and 41 trials of Acupressure, and details over 200 other trials in its appendices.

The Shiatsu studies provide very limited evidence on a diverse range of health issues (angina, low back pain, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy side effects/anxiety and inducing labour).

Studies on acupressure provided fairly strong evidence for its use in the treatment of pain. Evidence for acupressure for nausea and vomiting was inconsistent, with the strongest evidence for post-operative nausea. Weak evidence for renal symptoms and COPD/asthma was found. The remaining acupressure studies provided evidence of variable quality on psycho-social health issues and consciousness/anaesthesia.

Shiatsu & AIDS /HIV

Shiatsu & Alzheimer’s

Shiatsu & Arthritis

Masunaga Meridiian Chart

Shiatsu & Asthma

Shiatsu & Back Problems

Shiatsu & Cancer

Shiatsu & Caregivers

Chronic Obstruct Pulmonary Disease

Shiatsu & Depression

Shiatsu & Digestive Problems

Substance/Alcohol Abuse/Hepatitis C

Shiatsu & Headaches /Migraines

Shiatsu & Heart Problems

Shiatsu & Hysterectomy

Shiatsu & IBS / Bowel Problems

Shiatsu & Insomnia

Shiatsu & Joint Problems

Shiatsu & Knee Problems

Shiatsu & Low Energy

Shiatsu & M.E.

Shiatsu & Menstrual Problems

Shiatsu & Mental Health

Shiatsu & Mulitple Sclerosis

Shiatsu & Musculoskeletal Problems

Shiatsu & Neck Pain

Shiatsu & Pain Management

Shiatsu & Palliative Care

Shiatsu & Panic Attacks

Shiatsu & Pregnancy

Shiatsu & Psychological Problems

Shiatsu & Raynauds

Shiatsu & Rheumatism

Shiatsu & Sciatica

Shiatsu & Shoulder Pain

Shiatsu & Stress

Shiatsu & Ulcerative Colitis

UK Shiatsu Society \”Research\”

Shiatsu Research

When Words Lose their Power

– Shiatsu as a Strategic Tool in Psychotherapy

BioMed Central :More Science based research.