12 Things Blocking You From Healing

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You’ve learned Qigong or Tai Chi from a good teacher, and you’ve been practicing for some time.  You’ve gotten good results, but you still have a few lingering health problems.

The strangest thing is that other people have been able to overcome those same problems using Qigong and Tai Chi.  And yet you can’t seem to do that for yourself.


I’ve seen it in many times.  For example, I once had two students literally standing next to each other in a class.  One of them had overcome arthritis in about 6 months using Qigong.  The other student, however, was still suffering from arthritis even after 2 years of practice.

This is a perfect example of the gap that exists between theory and reality that I mentioned in a previous article, What We Can (and Can’t) Heal.   In theory, your problem can be healed, but in reality, it hasn’t happened for some reason.

I’ve seen people reverse arthritis many, many times.  And people all over the world are reversing it with diet, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other methods.  So there’s no question that — in theory — arthritis can be reversed.

Then why does arthritis reverse itself in some people, but not others?  The answer is simple:  Something is blocking the energy.

To narrow down the possibilities, let’s assume that you’re following the 3 Golden Rules, and that your dosage is correct.  Let’s also assume that, in theory, your particular problem can be healed, even if that’s just theoretical.

Then what’s blocking you? Well, it’s complicated.   The human body is an incredibly complex healing machine, and there are many things that can potentially block your energy.

I developed the Blockage Wheel (see below) in order to help students figure out where they might be blocked.  I’ve identified 12 blockages that students commonly run into.  I’ll explain each blockage below.

The idea is that the wheel should roll as smoothly as possible.  Here’s a perfect Blockage Wheel.  In other words, this person has no major blockages in any of the 12 major areas.

wheel-of-health-1In the picture above, all 12 areas are completely even, making for a very smooth ride on the wheel.  This is what you want.

But your Blockage Wheel probably looks more like this:

the-healing-wheel-2If you’re like most people, then some areas are better than others.  Maybe you eat well and exercise, but you don’t rest enough. The end result is the same — your ride is bumpier than it should be.

Let’s take a closer look at each blockage.

1. Emotional Health

Are your emotions flowing, or stuck?  In Chinese medicine (including Qigong), all physical ailments have an emotional component.  Each of the 12 Primary Meridians have emotions directly associated with them.  For example, if you are fearful, then there may be a blockage in your Kidney Meridian, and this blockage may be contributing to your back pain.

Suggestions: Focus on Phase 6 (Purifying the Qi) of the 12 Phases of Qi Mastery.  Neuro Emotional Technique, which my wife practices, is also wonderful.  There are many other methods out there as well.  If it works, use it.

2. Physical Body

How is your posture? If you are mildly kyphotic or lordotic, then your energy is not flowing smoothly.  In Chinese there’s a saying that “you need not worry about getting old so long as your spine is straight.”  Sometimes, this is referred to as a person’s “structure”.  If your structure is off, if you are hunched over, then this blockage needs to be corrected. 

Physical strength and flexibility (or a lack thereof) are also factors that can affect your structure and your health.

Suggestions: Strength and flexibility can be built holistically with proper Qigong and Tai Chi exercises. Focus on Phase 4 (Aligning the Qi) of the 12 Phases of Qi Mastery. Another option is the Alexander Technique, which we offer in the studio.

3. Sexual Fulfillment

Humans are sexual beings.  Sexual energy is part of being alive.  If your sexual energy is blocked, then it can cause all kinds of problems, especially with hormone production.  I should mention that there are Qigong techniques that can help to circulate sexual energy even if you don’t have a partner.  This is how the Shaolin monks and nuns remained celibate for years without going crazy.

Suggestions: Read my article entitled 17 Ways to Unblock Your Sexual Energy.

4. Spirituality

Are you connected to something bigger than yourself? Sometimes, the blockage is deep in the spirit. For example, I believe that my own depression was a crisis of the spirit.  For the atheists out there — don’t forget about nature and the cosmos.  Are you connected to those things?  If not, then this may be what’s blocking you from healing.

Suggestions: Focus on Phase 11 (Unifying the Qi) of the 12 Phases of Qi Mastery. Or you can go deeper into your own spiritual tradition.  Go to your church or temple, and try to connect with something bigger than yourself. Personally, I’m also fond of communing with the church of nature.

5. Creativity

Creativity is not just for artists.  Humans are creative animals.  If there is absolutely no creative outlet in your life, then this could be what’s blocking you.

Suggestions: Sign up for an art class.  Learn to dance.  Try a musical instrument.  Start a journal.  There are plenty of creative outlets out there for you to choose from.  Personally, I also enjoy practicing Tai Chi as a form of creativity.

6. Environment

Your house, your work place, the climate where you live — these things have a profound affect on your health.  This is an entire subject of study called Feng Shui.  I once heard my teacher tell a student to move out of his apartment because the Feng Shui was so bad. I’ve heard that in some houses, the air quality is worse inside than it is in some major cities, like LA or NYC.

Suggestions: Read books on Feng Shui if you like, or just use your common sense.  How does your house or apartment feel?  Is it clean?  Is there enough natural lighting for a plant to grow?  Is your bedroom dark enough for you to sleep at night, or is there ambient light from outside?  How is your bed?

7. Your Mission

Are you clear about your life purpose?  Are you fulfilling it?  If your work is pure drudgery, if there is no time during the week where you feel that you are making strides in your mission, then this could be a blockage.

Suggestions: Spend time figuring out what you want to do with your life. This worksheet is a good place to start.

8.  Rest

Just a guess here, but you probably don’t sleep enough.  You probably stay up too late, and get up too early.  You probably don’t take naps.  And even when you do sleep, you probably don’t sleep deeply.

Am I right?

Sleep is one of the ways your body replenishes and restores itself.  A lot of theories suggest that we should be getting 8-10 hours of quality sleep every night.  If you’ve been getting 5 hours of restless sleep for years, then that could be part of the problem.

Suggestions:  Go to sleep earlier.  Do a 30-day experiment with going to sleep 1 hour earlier than normal.  Or experiment with cat naps (10-20 minutes).

9. Money

I see this blockage all the time in students.  On a practical level, if you can’t afford $59 for my 101 workshop, then money is literally blocking you from healing yourself.  Or if you’re constantly stressed out by your finances, then this is a big stress on your energy.  Many people just cannot relax into working on their health until they fix some of their financial problems.

Suggestions:  Learn Prosperity Qigong if you can.  If not, then practice lots and lots of gratitude.  It seems like a paradox, but if you practice feeling grateful for what you do have, then your financial stress will start to dissipate.   There are also many ways to get healthier on a budget, which you can try to implement.

10.  Tribe

Humans are social animals.  We all need a community.  It could be a group at church.  It could be a sports team.  It could be a book club.

Why is this important?  Research has shown that belonging to a community has a profound effect on your overall health and longevity.  In fact, one study said that a sense of community is more influential than whether or not you smoke.  In other words, loneliness is worse for your health than smoking!

Suggestions:  If you’re in Gainesville, then the Flowing Zen Studio is an obvious solution.  Otherwise, find a community that you enjoy spending time with.  And then spend time with them — at least 2 times per week!

11. Diet

This is a big subject, and one that I usually try to stay out of.  It has gotten to the point in America where it’s virtually impossible to have an intelligent discussion about diet.  People often have dogmatic views about diet, and are thus easily offended.  But if you’re blocked in this area, then you might need to open your mind and make some changes.  And the first change may be to open your mind.

Suggestions:  For those in Gainesville, you are lucky to have my wife as a resource.  If you go through a new patient exam with her, she will tell you in no uncertain terms whether or not your diet is a problem, and how to fix it.  For everyone else, I recommend that you read books on the subject.

To save you time, I recommend that you start with this book:  It Starts With Food.  (That’s an affiliate link, which means that I get a tiny kickback from Amazon at no extra cost to you.  This means that you are helping me to buy and read even more books!  Woohoo!)  This wonderful book contains quality information for omnivores, vegetarians, and even vegans.  Read it, and open your mind!

12. Mental Health

Your thoughts and your beliefs affect your health, your energy.  If you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend that you read The Biology of Belief.  (That’s another affiliate link, by the way.)  This book, written by a Western scientist, explains the fascinating world of epigenetics — a world where your thoughts and beliefs can change the expression of your genes!  Everyone should read this book!

Mental health can also refer to your clarity of mind.  If your mind is dull, if you can’t concentrate, then this will block you from learning the things you need to learn to fix your health.

Suggestions: Learn how to control your thoughts, rather than letting them control you.  Qigong is a wonderful way to do this, but there are many meditation methods that also work well.

Got questions about anything above?  Go ahead and post them below.  I’m happy to answer them as best as I can. 

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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11 Responses to 12 Things Blocking You From Healing

  1. Jimmy October 1, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Regarding creativity – qigong will unleash it.

  2. Mike October 2, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Hi Anthony,

    Great article and thank you for it. Seems the more I grow in qigong, the more frequently and profoundly help that I need comes into my life at just the right time. I guess, when the student is ready the teacher appears.

    Lately, some lingering health issues of mine have been perplexing me.My chi flow and practice has improved by quantum leaps since February. Yet, the health issues persist, albeit improved.

    Your wheel analogy gave me a new perspective.Your remedial suggestions provide an avenue of action. I especially like, “Learn how to control your thoughts, rather than letting them control you.” … simple yet powerful.

    Thanks again!

  3. Alyssa October 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Thank you for this post. I’ve heard this message (that health is more than just the ‘physical’ stuff) over and over, but for some reason, the visual representation of the wheel is really helping me internalize how important it is for me to focus on the mental/emotional/spiritual stuff as well.

    (As an aside, I’m signed up for your 3-day 101 workshop at the end of October, so I’ll get to meet you in a few weeks!)

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais October 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      Hi Alyssa. I’m glad you found the visual representation helpful. That’s what I suspected!

      See you in October for the Super Weekend! But it’s only 2 days, not 3. Was that a typo?

      • Alyssa October 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

        Ah yes, I meant 2! Thanks!

  4. Marla November 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    I loved your article but would like to respectfully suggest other titles

    1. 12 areas that need balance for complete healing
    2. The 12 treasures for health

    When I hear the word “block” it somehow feels so difficult to overcome but if you tell me there are 12 areas that all need balance and love, then that seems doable!

    Just a suggestion.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais November 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Marla. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I understand what you’re saying. But something that you may not be taking into account is the nature of blog titles. The sad truth is that titles like the ones that you suggested won’t drive people to click on them. And what good is a good article if no one even clicks on it?

      Also, the word “block” is one that I use often. A fundamental theory of Chinese medicine and Qigong is that illness arises from blockages in the smooth flow of Qi (energy) in the body.

      Also, the 12 Treasures is the name of set of Qigong exercises. 🙂

  5. Melissa February 4, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Hm, somehow I missed this one when you published it, October was a super busy month for me…
    This is great information. I believe I will be visiting this post often when I feel something is going on with my health and I can’t figure out what. So much to explore in this one post! I’ve never really looked into Feng Shui before, and those books you suggested sound like they would be extremely helpful!
    Thanks Sifu!

  6. Jay Lee April 13, 2014 at 3:45 pm #


    Great informative article! I learned 5 Shaolin Wahnam Qigong patterns under another certified Wahnam instructor- Lifting the sky, carrying the moon, pushing mountains, dancing butterfly and zhan zhuan.

    I have had minor issues related to my heart like palpitations and an irregular heart beat and skipped beats for a few years. Physically I’m healthy says my Dr. Emotionally and mentally I saw my grandpa die in front of me from a heart attack when I was 5, so I assume that scarred me. I am also 30 and male.

    Also, I currently take anxiety medication for anxiety. I’m anxious about my health and death mostly.

    Can you please offer me a daily Qigong prescription of what exercises that I know and have learned that I mentioned above that I should practice daily to heal me? I’m a very structured person so I like structured practice schedules that are also a little bit flexible.

    That ks Sifu.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais April 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

      Hi Jay,

      It’s very hard for me to give you a specific prescription without knowing you better. Since you only know a handful of patterns, I recommend that you rotate through them. Favor the ones that you like best, but practice all of them often enough that you don’t forget them.

      This article may help: http://flowingzen.com/2089/help-i-cant-decide-what-to-practice/

      Also, remember that Qigong is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s the most important piece, in my opinion, but it’s not the only piece. There may be other things, like bad nutrition or bad sleep patterns, that are blocking you from health. In other words, your qigong practice may already be doing its job, but you need to fix some of the other pieces in order to fully heal.

      All the best,
      Sifu Anthony

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