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The Qi Healing kit is presented by Lee Holden, a Qi Gong, meditation, and tai chi instructor who is also a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. In the included booklet, Holden states this program gives instruction in both qi gong and Taoist meditation. Through offering various resources, his intention is to provide a "toolbox" of strategies for both physical healing and emotional/spiritual growth. The booklet, or workbook, is meant to serve as a guide to the other materials, providing an outline for how to use the meditations on the two CDs as well as the practices on the DVD.
The workbook has six chapters, the first of which simply offers an introduction to qi healing. Throughout the remainder, there are suggestions for journaling exercises, some of which use the 20 "Qi Cards" contained in the kit (more on these below). Chapters 2-5 focus on the meditations which can be found on the accompanying CDs. Disc 1 has an Inner Healer Meditation as well as the Healing Sounds Meditation. The booklet describes each of the six healing sounds in depth, providing their associated emotions and related exercises. Holden notes that the Healing Sounds Meditation is traditionally performed at night to clear the body's energy, but he also suggests that it can be performed at any time, such as in the car on the way home from work (not quite doable, however, as there are movements that go along with each sound!). The first meditation on Disc 2 is the Dissolving Meditation with the Inner Smile, which is designed to dissolve blockages in the body; this involves the image of water dissolving into a vapor accompanied by the "fasting mind," or being still. This second disc also includes the Microcosmic Orbit Meditation, which focuses on balancing qi through clearing the meridians. Holden teaches the "fire method," or bringing the energy up from the back body and then down the front.
The final chapter of the workbook, "Self-Healing with Acupressure," corresponds to the DVD. Both the booklet and the DVD review some of the major acupressure points in the body, with the workbook offering simple drawings illustrating the exact location of each of these points to accompany the on-screen visuals. In the DVD (which lists Play All – Introduction – Standing Practice – Sitting Practice on the Main Menu), Holden further explains that the routines offered are a form of medical qi gong, a combination of qi gong stretching, pressure points, and flowing movements. I have provided details on each of the two practices below.
STANDING PRACTICE, 52 minutes
For the standing session, Holden starts with abdominal breathing and then moves into a series of stretches designed to begin energizing various internal organs. He gradually incorporates qi massage movements, starting with lightly slapping up and down the legs and gently pounding the hip region with fists. Holden continues the soft slapping into the upper body as well, targeting the chest, arms, neck, and shoulders before returning down to address the back of the legs. Interspersed with the massage moves are flowing, full-body stretches such as the Arrow. Holden also performs more targeted stretches for areas such as the neck and low back, and he conducts a lengthy self-massage focusing on the acupressure points in the hands and wrists. This routine concludes with additional full-body stretches to stimulate the qi as well as a brief standing meditation, "The Monk Holding the Pearl."
SITTING PRACTICE, 30 minutes
In this routine, Holden alternates between flowing movements and very brief pressure point work focused on the meridians. I found many of the moves, such as the turtle neck, to be familiar from Holden's previous DVDs (e.g., Qi Gong for Upper Back & Neck Pain). This practice concludes with abdominal centering and a 5-minute visualization for healing energy in a lying position.
The final part of this kit is the Qi Cards; unfortunately, I did not think that these added much to the package. Holden suggests that the Taoist sayings on the cards are meant to "provide guidance" and to help "see life from a new perspective." However, the cards offer fairly common words of wisdom, such as "the only constant in the universe is change" and "be the path not the resistance." On the opposite sides of the cards, these messages are spelled out in greater detail--for example, a suggestion to focus on the present in order to fully embrace the power of qi--but I found nothing particularly revolutionary or inspiring here.
In the end, I was somewhat disappointed with this kit. I thought in particular that it lacked organization. For example, although the names of the included meditations are printed directly on each of the individual CDs, the tracks are not listed anywhere else within the kit--not on the outside of the CD/DVD case (a cardboard sleeve), and not in the booklet, either--which makes it unnecessarily difficult to select a particular track once the CD is already in your player. Even worse, no menu is available about the DVD until you actually insert it and wait for the Main Menu. Providing this information elsewhere would have made this set much more user-friendly.
The other problem I had with this kit was that the material contained on the CDs and DVD was frequently duplicative of the material included in the booklet. It seems as if there is a lot of additional content on the CDs/DVD (the running times are 75 minutes, 60 minutes, and 93 minutes, respectively), but much of this is a repetition of the same introductory information presented in the workbook. Furthermore, Holden offers few specific ideas for how one can continue using the kit; instead, he makes a general recommendation to build one's own practice based on responses to the journaling exercises without explaining precisely how to do this. I believe that users would have appreciated more detailed guidance in this area.
© 2011 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.