Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Two interrelated, interconnected systems central to Integrated Qigong (IQ) are the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) network of meridians, or energy channels, and the all-permeating network of the body's connective tissue, Fascia, or what the Chinese Classics call Jing Jin or sinew channels. Amongst many others these two systems help conceptually to appreciate and experience the Form and Function of IQ.
According to TCM, a continuous, integrated flow of information and energy, or Qi, exists in the body. This information and energy moves along pathways called Jinglou (or meridians) that link the organs with different parts of the body, making the human body an integrated whole. When Qi flows freely through the meridians, the body is balanced and healthy. But, if the Qi becomes blocked, stagnated, or weakened, it can cause physical, mental, or emotional ill health.
Fascia is everywhere inside of us—one could draw a line between any two points of the body via a path of fascia. And it has many functions: it holds organs in place, offers a path for nerves and blood vessels, stores energy and attaches muscle to bone, and, it conducts electricity. The latter ability is thanks to a critical component of fascia: collagen. There are layers of water bound to collagen fibres that form a uniquely conductive pathway, allowing an electrical charge to travel rapidly throughout the body. This function allows the body's innate defence and repair systems to thrive.
Fascia, is the conduit for electrical energy, or qi, as it travels throughout our bodies. These pathways of fascia have, and are being studied extensively by anatomists and due to their anatomical locations they have an inescapable connection to TCM meridians, known as the Myofascial Meridians. The human body's fascia network may be the physical substance represented by the meridians of TCM. When the West talks of Myofascial Meridians, the East talks of energy channels. There is no distinction in these two views; it is just a question of interpretation.
The fascia has a vital importance for the slightest muscle movement, but also works when we remain still, as the immune system uses the network to keep us healthy. Imagine the fascia as a cobweb "suit" of thousands of thin silken threads that work alongside each other. Think about it. If you touch one part of the web, the whole fabricated net moves, providing instantaneous information for the spider to act or react. If these threads stick together, which happens when we rest or sedentary for long periods problems may occur anywhere along the entire Myofascial Meridian.
Knowledge of the Myofascial Meridians also affects how we look at training and exercise. In Qigong they have for a long time, consciously or unconsciously, trained in a way that benefits the fascia’s functionality. The Yijin Jing (Tendon/Sinew Change Classic) is a manual containing a series of exercises, coordinated with breathing, said to enhance physical health dramatically when practiced consistently. In Chinese yi means "change", jin means "tendons and sinews", while jing means "methods", the Classic text of the Yijin Jing was composed by the Taoist priest Zining written in 1624.
To find alignments that afford safe, unstrained, and graceful postures. The practice of Integrated Qigong, through it's patterns of coordinated movement and shape making have functional importance across many body systems. For example if you improve your posture and structural alignment, you will also improve your physiological function-if your chest and ribs collapse less, you breathe more efficiently; if you relax your muscles more, you lessen the load and stress on your heart each time it pumps. This Form and Function is the theme that runs through IQ for Life.
Form and Function even extend to emotion. Emotions are often hardwired with body shapes, that serve as non-verbal communication but also dictate our mood. Examples include babies pursing their lips when they dislike foods, and runners raising their arms when they break the finish line tape, and footballers raising their arms in celebration when they score a goal - all of which derive from the primate offering the same gesture of shaking their hands and arms vigorously above their heads in a "victory gesture". These shapes are all hardwired with emotion and mood. All this herald another inescapable correlation to the emotions associated with the organs, through the meridians according to TCM. By creating shapes and movement patterns in Integrated Qigong we promote positive effects not only on physiological functions, but also on emotional and mental function.
By fostering balanced, open, and relaxed posture through intelligent movements, IQ affects the functionality of just about every system.
The IQ for Life self-cultivation programme 2020 trains you through the Myofascial Meridians to maximise your body's physical and energetic potential, a practice to facilitate all communications between every single body part, where we have our entire intelligence, intuition and feeling.