The Chinese vs Western Exercises
The traditional Chinese exercises mainly are qiging, qi guiding skills (or called qi gong dao yin shu 氣功導引術), wu shu, dance and many others that generate a lot benefits to health. If you want to learn more, you can learn and experience qigong from the book of A Wealth of Health.
Exercise is so important to maintain health. In ancient times, when people needed to hunt for food or they were being chased by animals, there was a lot of exercise involved in daily life. As we became more and more industrialized, exercise was not part of our daily life and become an extra job that needed to be done.
We need to consider the effectiveness and efficiency of the benefits that an exercise can bring to us, no matter what time restraints we have in our modern life.
From clinical experiences, we know more about the difference between the Western and Chinese exercises (qi gong, tai-chi, wu qin xi, yi jin jing, etc.), as well as the benefits and harm that can be generated from the exercises. For the Chinese exercises, we are more concerned with the qi gong or tai-qi.
Let’s compare these exercises below or you can look at the The Differences Between Chinese Exercises and Western Exercises chart:
Burn calories and energy
Build muscles & pain
Do indoors in contaminated air
Quick movementsShort of breath
Circulation boosted does not last long
Only uses sweating to expel toxins out of the bodyHardly get chance to expel extra water in all organs
Some of the organs don’t get enough nourishment
Hardly reverses aging process
Limited function for illness prevention and healing
| Chinese Exercise
Build up energy
Build organs’ strength
Do outdoors in the morning’s fresh air and washes the cells inside of our body
Slow movements coincide with breathing
Breathing is smooth
Energy flow pushes blood and lymph system for circulation last longer
Detoxify the whole body through sweating, urination and bowel movement
Expels abnormal amounts of water inside our body
Nourishes all cells in the bodyYouthful feeling and appearance
Help self healing of mild illnesses and further prevent illnesses
In Chinese Medicine, if there is extra nutrition to be absorbed, it will be stored as kidney essence for lifelong use. Therefore, we intend to reserve the energy. However, western medicine does not know when all of the organs are functioning well or that our body can transform the extra nutrition to be the kidney essence-pure nutrition to store it for later use. Therefore, when more food is consumed than our body needs, western medicine emphasizes burning the extra fat through exercises. In Chinese medicine, we strengthen the spleen to transform the food to be usable nutrition instead of fat.
Westerners seem to like technology and equipment, therefore, spending money to work out in the gym. This is a trend in the higher classes of the society. According to the Chinese Medicine Theory (you can refer to Table 1), the eyes are supposed to become brighter. However, after practice for the first time at our dining table, that is in the front of a sliding door with all windows in the house opened, my eyes became darker. I ran out of the door to practice in the yard and twice, my eyes went back to normal. After the third time, my eyes became brighter. Now, you can understand how contaminated air influences our body. Therefore, usually Chinese do exercises early in the morning and in the park to get fresh air to wash and give oxygen to all body cells.
The body gets twisted in Chinese exercises, so it can squeeze out the water that was stored in wrong places. They will be either sweated out or excreted out by urination and/or bowel movement.
As we said, about qi (energy) flow, you should know that the qi flow brings toxins away and nutrition in for all the cells along its pathway. Therefore, slow movement can help the qi acquire time to do its job for detoxification and nourishment. When all of the organs’ cells get renewed, aging slows down.
Rarely in Chinese exercises (beside gong fu) does one get injured. But even in mild western exercises there is muscle pain and soreness causing motion to be restrained after prolonged exercises. Weight lifting can cause severe injury to the lumbar area (mentioned in Back Pain) if not performed correctly.
Although the Chinese style of exercises is superior to western exercises, there are still some exercises that are more effective, efficient obtaining desired results. The ones that I like the most are the Da Zhou Tian (大周天), five organs and san jiao system of detoxification that were taught by Dr. Hai Sha Ni plus the five animals internal play (Wu Qin Xi 五禽戲）that was invented by Hua Tou (two thousand years ago, a famous doctor in Chinese Medicine history) and reported by CNTN.
The western exercises are becoming more popular in the youth culture. After being familiar with western exercise, it’s difficult for a patient to learn qigong or Wu Qin Xi. Even telling the patient that: “Acupuncture uses the needle to let qi flow freely in order to treat illnesses or for prevention. If you practice qi gong to let energy flow freely inside the body, the result not only improves your health condition sooner, but it also saves on your medical expenses. Why not do it?”
If we begin to teach young children more about the consequences of their health condition, in the future our national health will also be the country’s strength. This can be achieved by using inexpensive methods. A calm and peaceful mind is the best result for our children, our nation and our relationship with others.
© Frieda Mah, L.Ac., International Speaker，International Best Selling Author
and the Whole Body Self-Healing System Coach