Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung

John wrote to me asking,

"Hello, Mike. I have enjoyed all of your guides and articles, and know if I have a guestion I just need to go to your website and I usually always find an answer.

I have been researching Xi Sui Jing or Bone Marrow Washing. I have had no success, and wonder if you may be able to guide me in the right direction to either find a teacher, literature or video on this system. I am told there are 18 forms or exercises. Is this true?  I have non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer and thought this may help with my chemotherapy treatments, although the doctor thinks it's a waste of time and money. Thank you."


Intelligently listen to your oncologist's "advice" about treating cancer in terms of complementary medicine and physical exercises.  Some favor exercise and others do not as a complementary therapy.  Many people do not feel much like doing qigong exercises while undergoing chemotherapy.

I can't agree with your doctor that practicing Qigong would be a waste of money since it is very inexpensive or totally free to learn and pracice.  Books and instructional DVDs are quite inexpensive these days, and free UTube video are readily available.  Some people argue that the current elaborate and extremely costly conventional medical treatments for cancer are a waste of time and money, and cause undue suffering, and decide on other options, including doing nothing (wu wei).  This makes for very difficult decisions by the patient.

Based on considerable worldwide research, people who are overweight and don't exercise and eat improperly and use unhealthy drugs have a higher incidence of poor health and diseases and die younger than people who are trim, fit, eat properly, don't use recreational drugs, and exercise regularly.  Nevertheless, I do not believe that Qigong or other fitness modalities can be of significant benefit in curing or slowing the progress of cancer; and people who actively practice Qigong may get cancer anyway.  Cancer has many causes and its appearance is currently unpredictable, although more likely above the age of 60, and cancer "cures" are actively being researched and evaluated.   There is lively debate on the subject of the best treatments for the complex and serious disease of cancer.  Read the book "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Dr. Stephen Hoye and Siddhartha Mukherje, 2010, for a thorough discussion of this important subject, although a depressing account.   

Some Qigong (Chi Kung) enthusiasts and teachers do believe that their exercises, breathing, meditation, and visualization methods do significantly help people with serious diseases, including cancer.  Medical Qigong offers clinics attempting to help people with all kinds of health problems, and schools training future Qigong medical practitioners and healers exist worldwide.  However, Caveat emptor.

High hopes that the body will heal iteself using some method is very important.  The placebo effect is a real factor.  If you have confidence that Qigong will help in your healing, then it just might work for you.

As for Bone Marrow Washing (Xi Sui Jing) Qigong:  

Gabi Greve from Japan sent me information on Daruma Bone and Marrow Washing Exercises.

Roberto Gravez recommended "The Scholar Warrior" by Deng Ming-Dao.  This book gives all 24 movements of Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung with drawings and instructions. The book also provides guides for diet, meditation, and so forth.  Mr. Gravez criticized my skepticism about the use of qigong in healing cancer.  I agree with him that "Scholar Warrior" is a fine and useful book, and Deng Ming-Dao is a good writer and expert on Taoist matters. 

Dr. Bikum Hu in Berkeley, California, teaches Bone Marrow Washing Qigong.  

As for general well-being, an increased sense of vitality, feeling good, psycho-spiritual progress, positive visualization, and relaxation, qigong has helped many people. Most people who regularly practice qigong generally have positive comments to make about their experiences.

Yang Jwing-Ming and Mantak Chia have written books on the Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung form, and, as I recall, give instructions on a version of the set. Yang Jwing-Ming's books are usually very informative and useful for learning forms, and have excellent, detailed background theory.

There are both harder and easier verions of the Xi Sui Jing exercise as with Shaolin White Crane Qigong. 18 Lohan Qigong, another Shaolin Qigong form, is also popular.

I'd recommend The Eight Section Brocade Qigong for a general introductory form, and you don't need to spend any extra money learning it (I explain it for free on a webpage); and, there are many free UTube verison online.  Please, don't spend more than 20 mintues a day, at first, doing the form in the early morning. Also, enjoy some walking if you feel up to it!

I find the exercises, postures, and movement routines of many "different" qigong forms to be quite similar.  Likewise, there are also many named "styles" of yoga, but the postures of physical (hatha) yoga are common and familiar, even if named differently.  For example, lunges or moving the shoulders/arms through a full range of motion are found in all qigong, taijiquan, and yoga practices.

Visualizations of energy flow inside and outside the body, philosophical emphasis, vigorous vs gentle movements, breathing instructions, and descriptions of esoteric anatomy or meridians vary more in qigong forms. 

John, my very best wishes for a long remission, improved well-being, and a peaceful soul.

Mike Garofalo

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