You’ve learned qigong and/or tai chi from a good teacher, and you’ve been practicing for at least 1 year.
You’ve gotten good results — and yet you still have some lingering health issues.
Meanwhile, other people have been able to overcome those same issues using qigong. 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.
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.
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.
What’s Blocking You?
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.
But your Blockage Wheel probably looks more like this:
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.
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 Aligning the Qi. Another option is the Alexander Technique.
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.
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 Unifying The Qi. 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.
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 qigong as a form of creativity.
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 a qigong 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: Focus on Discovering the Qi in your environment. 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.
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).
I see this blockage all the time in students. On a practical level, if you can’t afford my online courses, 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.
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: Join our amazing Facebook group. Seriously. It’s such a great group of people. Even if you hate Facebook, create a dummy account just for that group. It’s worth it.
Or find another community that you enjoy spending time with. Check Meetup.com or Facebook events or other sources. And then spend time with your tribe at least 2 times per week!
This is a big subject and one that I usually try to stay out of. It’s gotten to the point in America where it’s virtually impossible to have an intelligent discussion about diet.
People often have dogmatic views about nutritin, 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: Start with Michael Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food” (here’s my affiliate link). This is one of the sanest and most even-handed books about nutrition that I’ve ever read.
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. Best regards, 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 how to use qigong for their own stubborn health challenges. As the director of Flowing Zen and a board member for the National Qigong Association, I'm fully committed to helping people with these arts. In addition to my blog, I also teach online courses and offer in-person retreats and workshops.