Tai Chi, Qigong, and Addictions



Tai Chi, as well as acupuncture, is being successfully used to help people break addictive patterns. A research program working with heroin addicts revealed that withdrawal symptoms decreased much more rapidly than non-QiGong control groups did. Furthermore, breaking an addiction, whether it's to cigarettes or heroin, is a very stressful endeavor. The body and mind crave and yearn constantly. This study also showed that the QiGong group had much lower anxiety and were able to find restful sleep five times faster than non-QiGong practicing addicts in recovery. The reason QiGong is so powerful lies in the essence of what an addict, or any of us stuck in unhealthy behaviors, craves.

What is it that they crave? Ultimately it is life energy. When a smoker gets a cigarette or an addict gets their fix, the first thing they do is sit back, enjoy the moment, and relax into the pleasure of their cigarette or fix. This moment of relaxed focused awareness opens their mind and body to an increased flow of Qi or energy. This is why a raging drunk can have so much energy, even when filled with alcohol. The problem is the cigarettes or drugs are destroying your body to open up to Qi, and when the drug wears off, the body clamps down, squeezing off the flow even more. So learning to open to Qi in a healthy, expansive way is one means for healing an addiction.

Note the pattern of addiction:

1. A prospective user is looking for access to Qi, or life energy, whether they realize it or not. When Qi is flowing through us we feel good, at peace, and capable.

2. When cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol are first used, the ritual of using them and/or the chemical they put in the body causes the user to relax and open to Qi flow. But this is a false and unhealthy way to open to it.

3. Since this is an artificial way to open up to the flow of Qi, the mind and body do not learn how to keep the flow open.

4. In fact, when the drug, whether it's nicotine or heroin, is gone, the body and mind tighten up even more than before. The chemicals and their reactions in the body are unhealthy and cause the mind and body to get tighter, squeezing off more Qi than ever before.

5. The user is then required to use more of the drug or to use it more and more often because now it takes a more forceful dose to open the mind's and body's gates to allow the Qi to flow through.

6. Eventually, the user's dosages, no matter how large, do not open the user to increased Qi flow or a feeling of highness. Eventually even the largest dosages give the user only a lower-than-normal flow of Qi.

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7. People who are heavily hooked on cigarettes or alcohol, and even more so with harder drugs, have a look of lacking life. They are becoming void of Qi. Their mind and body have become tight.

Sage Sifu Says

The more we can tap into ways to fill our bodies with life energy using tools like Tai Chi, the less we will have to look outside ourselves for satisfaction. Our consumption level drops as our needs diminish. Therefore, Tai Chi can also help the environment because less consumption means less trash.

Tai Chi and QiGong provide us with a healthy pattern of access to life energy, or Qi. This is what we all want. When we hug a loved one, we feel their Qi mingling with ours. When we pet our dog or cat, they revel in feeling our loving intention in our Qi flowing from our hand to their body. Tai Chi and QiGong are tools to fill us with life, and they can be very effective tools for helping addicts find their way out of the maze they have stumbled into, finding a way back to being truly alive.

The best drug program is preventative. Tai Chi and QiGong will eventually be taught in schools worldwide. By teaching the mind/body awareness and powerful stress management tools these health sciences offer, many future drug, alcohol, or other addicts will avoid the desire for mood altering drugs or addictive behaviors or substances. Educating every student from kindergarten through university in mind/body internal awareness and health development techniques like Tai Chi and QiGong, as a matter of standard education, makes perfect sense.

* NOTE: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day advises consulting your physician before beginning any new exercise, herbal, diet, or health program. The research listed here is meant to stimulate a discussion between you and your physician, health insurance carrier, etc., not as medical advise. Research and comments provided here are hoped to stimulate a more robust discussion of powerful natural mind/body health tools. Popular media, health media, and government must increase attention to stunning emerging research, including the UCLA study indicating Tai Chi participants enjoyed a 50% increase in immune system resistance to viral infection.

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