ME/CFS and sinking qi practice

Home Forums Archive The Five Keys to Taoist Energy Arts Week 2 ME/CFS and sinking qi practice

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    Dear Paul,

    Thanks so much for developing this clearly taught, engaging five key’s course.
    I am enjoying the addition of qigong to my life through D&T and this course.

    I have been living with relatively severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the last 23 years. I have been building capacity slowly but find that the most difficult thing for me is standing still – it takes an enormous amount of energy. For some reason, probably related to orthostatic hypotension, I don’t have this problem when I am moving and in a standing position as in D&T practice.

    Here’s my questions – I realize that the preferred posture for sinking qi practice is the standing posture. Will I get equal, or nearly equal benefits if I practice in a sitting or lying down position until such a time as I can add a standing practice?

    Thanks so much in advance,

    Amy in Asheville, NC, USA


    Hey Amy,

    I can share my own experiance with CFS. For a period of several years I had a very severe case of CFS. I would rest for days in order to conserve energy to do some much needed work. But I would still experiance the rapid depletion of energy that charecterizes CFS in many people. I would be completely exhausted within 1-2 hours.

    For a long time I tried to force myself to practice while standing up and I got nowhere. In retrospect, I realize that I wasn’t really practicing. Mostly, I was just standing there thinking about how completely exhausted I was. I’d spent time debating how long to force myselt to stand before I’d let myself sit down. The feeling of being tired was so powerful, that I got very little actual practice done.

    When I switched to practicing laying down, I started to make much faster progress. I found a couple of things changed. I could practice for much longer. When I stood, I could practice for 5 or 10 minutes. When I lay down, I could practice 45-60 minutes at a time. And I could practice several times a day.

    I also noticed that much more of my time was spent actually practicing, instead of being distracted by physical pain or exhaustion.

    I’ve also asked Bruce about CFS and he mentioned that it might be related to having weak kidneys. He suggested that I spend time practicing the first and second swings from the Energy Gates chi gung set.

    Hope this helps,


    Hi Amy, Generally, what Janak has recommended sounds fine. I would add that being
    upright allows gravity to amplify the sinking qi practice. Therefore, sitting is
    preferable to lying down, unless you must push your system to sit. Some days
    you may be able to sit, others you may not. Sit when it feels right for you and
    you may even get the odd day when you can stand for 2-3 minutes. If you can take
    the opportunity when it presents itself, it will help you evolve your sinking
    qi practice. Then, when you do have to lie down, you have a tangible contact
    with sinking qi in your body, and you’ll find it easier to sink qi in the
    lying position. If you only ever lie down, it will be harder to get a clear
    sense of sinking qi.


    I tried sinking qi, I saw some benefit such as better digestion/bowl movement and tiny bit of better sleep. However I do not yet feel more energy which is one of my primary goals. I wish to understand more about how sinking qi works, and why it gives us more energy as in the exercise we actually send the qi out of the body to the earth.
    I am worry that I would lose energy doing that. Any input is appreciated.


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