In my review of Qigong Empowerment, I analyzed the various Qigong (Chi-Kung) schools Master Shou-Yu Liang and Wen-Ching Wu reveal in order to help you attain your highest potential for controlling your role in the universe. The term “Qi” means energy while “gong” describes a methodology for attainment of the substance of the universe.

Qigong, as a single word, loosely means “energy management” and it is that process of identifying and then controlling your energy that holds the secret of a vibrating, lively life. Qigong has been around for thousands of years. Very few of us understand how to control and employ Qigong in our lives even though it flows through us, around us and about us every instant of our lives.

There are a few questions that remained with me after reading Qigong Empowerment that led me to propose the following questions to Wen-Ching Wu. I hope you’ll enjoy his answers as much as I enjoyed creating the inquiries.

BOLES: When I first practiced Fangsong Gong (Basic Relaxation Technique) on page 32 of Qigong Empowerment, a curious thing happened to me. My body became a shell and the essence of me was liquid and swimming around the shell of me and I was peering outside at the world through my ears, mouth and nostrils. I was in a floating, trance-like state and it took me a good half hour to “wake up” and “come out of the trance” by opening my eyes. What happened? I can repeat this experience at will, but do I want to? Am I messing up my Qi or am I discovering it and managing it? When I am in this trance-like state, what should I be thinking and doing? Right now, I’m just kind of floating around the world, which seems aimless and unimportant.

WU: In Qigong training, it is understood that one needs to enter into a steady state. From the steady state, one can then enter into a calm abiding state. From the calm abiding state one will then be able to enter into a tranquil state. Once the body enters into a tranquil state, the body will have a chance to readjust any imbalance in the body. In Medical Qigong, a tranquil state also provides a favorable condition for the mind to assist in adjusting the energy balance in the body to assist in its healing.

When you enter into a deep tranquil state, it is possible for your Yuanshen (Original Spirit) to leave your body. It usually doesn’t happen to most beginners in Medical Qigong training unless that is their objective. This happening to you on the first attempt suggests to me that you must have meditation background. Being a healthy vegetarian would also provide a “purer” body for housing the Original Sprit and allow it to experience an out-of-body experience.

Incidentally, in Buddhist and Taoist Qigong, the higher objective of the qigong training is to work on one’s Original Spirit. In the training of the Original Spirit, light-qi (a higher form of qi not restricted to the physical plane) is the fuel, the medium, which assists the Original Spirit to go beyond the confines of the physical body. In the training of the Original Spirit, we want to purify the physical body so that the component of the Original Spirit is not restricted to the material world and be able to travel to the higher astral planes to learn and evolve further and quicker. Please refer to the Taoist Qigong chapter in the Qigong Empowerment book for more details on this subject.

Your experience is not necessarily bad. However, it is possible to do too much. How much is too much will depend on your individual condition. When you are in a “trance-like” state that you described, you are in an out-of-body experience supported by light-qi. The experience you had is like a young toddler learning how to walk. You are experimenting on walking short distances. Gradually, as the toddler grows up, it will be able to travel further. It is important to practice advanced qigong or other proper energy work to sustain the demands for astral travel.

Individuals only interested in the health and healing part of qigong need not be concerned with this topic. In Medical Qigong, only the Vitality of the Spirit (the manifestation or expression of one’s energy and life) is of concern.

BOLES: I was practicing exchanging Qi with my wife and suddenly she fell into a quick, but light, sleep, as I was drawing Qi from her. Did I take too much? Did I sap her Qi so much that her body was forced to take a nap to try to regenerate energy?

WU: There are many reason to explain what happened to your wife. Your wife was a willing participant, therefore, it was easier for you to extract energy from her. If she was projecting her energy out as you were extracting energy from her, this would provide for an even greater energy output from her. Her falling asleep indicates to me that she may have gone into a passive mode, while you were acting more in a healer mode. In training with your partners, it is essential that you give back as much as you take.

BOLES: Can you kill someone by draining them of their Qi? Reading your book suggests that it may be possible, though your book does not explicitly bring up the issue. It stands to reason if you practice and become powerful in healing, is not the resulting Yin-Yang polarity true as well? If you can give the energy of life, cannot you also take it away?

WU: It is possible to hurt and kill someone by draining their qi, but the person must be a willing participant and a believer in the ability of the person attempting to drain their qi. It is more likely to interrupt an other’s qi flow at the right time and in the right spot by striking. The martial arts training of dianxue (Cavity Press) is one such training that interrupts an opponent’s qi flow.

This is an art that not everyone can accomplish without a lot of hard work and proper guidance from a qualified and conscientious teacher. Grandmaster Liang and I will be presenting some cavity press concepts in our upcoming Kung Fu book. It is much easier to draw energy away from a willing person. This will not kill them.

In the medical practice of Waiqi Liaofa (External Qi Healing Method), draining impurities and stagnant energy from the patient is one of the approaches in healing. An energy healer must be able to send energy into the patient to nourish the patient, as well as, being able to draw impurities stagnant energy from the patient.

BOLES: Is it possible to take in what I call “residual Qi?” I notice that after an object has been touched by someone (a door handle, a book, a spoon) the object resonates with energy when I touch it. If I concentrate, I can take that vibration and internalize it. Is this an appropriate method of attaining Qi or not? If yes, why? If not, why not?

WU: The remnants of a person or things no longer in the space can last for a long time. It is not advisable to absorb qi from any energy remnants. The energy remnants may contain negative energy and can harm you. There are many source of positive energy in nature that you can absorb to nourish your body.

BOLES: Can you share and exchange Qi with animals? Fish? Insects? If not, why not? If yes, why?

WU: Yes, you can share energy with animals. Acupuncture and energy healing are being done on animals as well. Some animals can assist in their owner’s energy balance. To some, owning pets has shown to enhance the life and longevity to their owners!

BOLES: There is a damaged Oak tree in our neighborhood that has been uprooted. It is half standing, half falling down. Each day for three months as I walked by the tree, I felt it calling out to me for help, but I had no idea what to do other than send a message to it saying everything would soon be alright. After reading your book, I believe this tree is attempting to contact me for help. My wife and I tried to push the tree back into a fully upright position, but we were unable to move the tree one inch. I am now wondering if the tree is seeking a Qi feeding from me? I have attempted to send Qi to the tree. My palms burn as I send over the Qi, but I am uncertain if the tree is taking in the Qi, or if I am just draining my Qi reservoir in vain? What clues can you help me find in determining how best to help this ailing oak?

WU: The older the tree, the stronger the energy it will have, provided that the tree is healthy. An uprooted oak tree is dying. You can be compassionate to the dying tree, but it is not your responsibility to take care of the tree. Trees are generally more in tune with nature than people. Send as much energy to the tree as you can afford, but try not to interfere with its natural path.

BOLES: For ten years I have practiced sending flakes of gold out of my chest to warm others when I meet them. I also practice floating above my body before I go to sleep each night and I focus on hot spots of pain or discomfort in my body and I send energy from other parts of my body to that trouble spot in order to make it feel better. After reading your book, it appears I have been dong a form of Qi movement. Should I continue to practice what I’ve been doing, or should I expand my practice to include the exercises you have in your book? Is it best to train the Qi you’ve discovered, or is it better to re-train yourself to re-channel the power of Qi to its utmost effectiveness?

WU: What you are doing before going to bed is fine. You can, of course expand your practice further. Qigong training must be natural. It is not necessary to retrain what has worked for you, just enhance it with new methods that you learn.

BOLES: Can you pull Qi from fire, water and metal? If yes, how? If not, why not? They all have a lifeforce, right?

WU: All things in the universe have energy, with different qualities. Fire, water, and metal have different qualities of qi. We are instinctually drawn to warm fire on cold Winter days; and to cool our hands, feet, and face in the stream during hot Summer days. When absorbing energy from specific objects, mountains, the ocean, etc. our intent is the most important. The absorption is usually done through the baihui (on the top of the head), laogong (on the palms), and yongquan (on the bottom of the feet). We have many absorbing qi from nature training in our Qigong Empowerment book.

BOLES: For over 30 years I’ve found I can pull energy and get a three dimensional graph of a person’s life shooting out from behind him whenever I shake hands with them. Is this a method of Qi acquisitions or something else? Is it appropriate and moral to accept Qi from someone who may not be aware they’re offering it to you?

WU: There are many extraordinary abilities that can be achieved as a byproduct of advanced qigong training. These extraordinary abilities are not something that should be sought after. They are to be developed naturally. If it is realized by the participant, great. Students of advanced qigong have always been warned not to abuse their realized ability. Their ability may be able to help other people, but the wanting of extraordinary abilities may impede the furthering of one’s higher spiritual development. It may also cause additional karma. Taking an others energy without permission is inappropriate and immoral and can cause karma that must be resolved in the future.

BOLES: My wife has complained for 11 years that my hands are always hot. After reading your book, I wonder if my hot hands are a signs that Qi is emitting from them? I find when I place my hot hands on my wife’s body, she becomes uncomfortable due to the extreme heat generated by my palms. I always thought I was just hot blooded, but after reading your book, I realize I may be experiencing something else entirely. What do you think is happening and what is the best way for me to use my hot hands?

WU: In External Qi Healing, the hands are the main medium used to assist in healing a patient. Warm energy emitted from the healer’s laogong (on the hands) is generally very nourishing to the patient. Warm quality qi is used to nourish an energy depleted patient. Qi healer, with proper daoqi (directing-qi) training may also emit cool qi for cooling patients. Warm qi is not appropriate for everybody, just as cool qi is not necessary right for everybody, all the time.

BOLES: Should I only practice one style (Dao, Buddist, Medical, Wushu, etc.) of Qi? Is there any danger in mixing and matching these different methodologies?

WU: Qigong training requires that the participant be natural. If one is natural, there is no problem. When you feel terribly uncomfortable in a particular exercise, stop doing it right away and reevaluate the way you have being doing the exercise or select a different exercise to do instead. However, in Medical Qigong, a slight ache or pain, in some cases is an indication of energy trying to break through the stagnate energy in diseased or injured spots.

Try not to do too many exercises at one time. It is okay to experiment and find out which style or exercise works best for you and stick with it for a period of time before changing to a new exercise. If a participant has physical problems, it is always recommended that one starts with the Medical Qigong to develop a good foundation for the Taoist, Buddhist, and Wushu Qigong.

BOLES: I am fascinated by the Iron Fist and Iron Shirt Qi training. What percentage of your students choose this road? Does Iron Fist training lead to insensitive hands and arthritis?

WU: All martial arts student do some form or pieces of the Iron Fist and Iron Shirt Qigong. Proper training of Iron Fist and Iron Shirt does not lead to insensitive hands and arthritis. During the conditioning process of the training, it is necessary to remove the bruises that may have occurred. If the bruises are not removed, further training will cause more bruises. Over time, the bruises will result in an arthritic condition. Proper training, care, and common sense during training is essential to successful Iron Fist/Palm/Shirt training.

You can find more information online about Wen-Ching Wu and his various books on the Martial Arts at Way of the Dragon Publishing.