The idea of energy balance has its basis in medical systems that have been utilized in the Far East for thousands of years. All of these systems assume that there is a subtle nonphysical energy that permeates and circulates throughout the body.
Traditional Chinese medicine calls this “chi”. The terms that best describe this energy in English would be “life force” or “vital energy”. The difference in energy that you feel when you have the flu versus when you are healthy is an example of fluctuations in this type of energy.
In Chinese medicine, subtle energy is understood to be distributed throughout the body along channels called “meridians”. One of the most important functions of all of the energy-balance approaches is to harmonize and optimize the “flow” of subtle energy by releasing blocks to that flow. Blocked energy leads to tension, anxiety, stress, and ultimately illness. In fact, Chinese medicine traces all disease back to various types and degrees of blockage in the flow of vital energy.
Regular practice of energy balance disciplines such as yoga or t´ai chi helps to release blocks to the natural flow of vitality. So does receiving treatments from healing arts that free up obstructions to subtle energy. This is particularly true for acupuncture, but also applies to various forms of massage and chiropractic treatment.
The invisible “energy body”, sometimes called “subtle body”, that is the focus of Eastern medicine is intimately related to the physical body. It´s thought to provide an energetic matrix or “template” for the physical body.
On a strictly physical level, energy balance practices help to relieve muscle tension, promote increased oxygenation of tissues and the brain, improve arterial circulation, promote elimination by the kidneys and colon, and stimulate increased production of hormones and neurotransmitters.
However, the fundamental purpose of the energy balance approaches is to promote mind-body integration a harmonious interdependence and balance among the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of your total being.
“Wholeness” is equated with wellness. To the extent you function in an integrated, whole manner, you can experience the fullness of your being and genuine health. To the extent that you are out of touch with the wholeness of your being, you remain out of harmony with yourself and are subject to stress and disorder, including anxiety.
T’ai chi is an ancient form of movement and exercise intended to unite body and mind. It is said to have originated when a thirteenth-century Taoist monk in China watched a serpent and a crane in battle. As the crane attacked the snake, the snake would smoothly move its position, never allowing the crane to touch it. From this scene the monk developed thirteen moves which have been augmented down through the centuries. Presently, t´ai chi is practiced by millions of people in China and is popular throughout the rest of the world.
T´ai chi can best be described as a form of moving meditation. It consists of a series of movements that proceed slowly and …