This book offers a really good basic introduction to Qigong aimed at the average Qigong novice or even people that have various limitations due to illness. For anyone not sure what Qigong is, it could maybe very loosely be described as super-gentle and simple Tai Chi combined with some breathing exercises, visualisations and sometimes some simple meditation techniques.
It makes sense to me that improving circulation, and so Qi (or Chi), can be helpful when you are treating disease. If there is no blood flow to an area, it can't heal. Qigong can also improve respiratory and digestive function, and give you a calmer and less cluttered mind. Keeping your body out of 'adrenaline mode' as much as possible also facilitates healing, as healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from Sympathetic to Parasympathetic dominance (rest, relax and repair mode).
I have a disease with some similarities to M.S. (Myalgic Encepahalomyelitis, or M.E.) I'm housebound and 98% bedbound. Being very inactive and bedbound means you really need to improve your circulation if at all possible, as anyone bedbound will know! Using up up to 5 minutes of my 30 - 60 or so minutes a day I can be upright on Qigong seems a reasonable idea to me. This is right on the cusp of what I am able to do, so I am not sure if I can do it yet but I am going to give it a try very soon and am looking forward to it.
My disease is very slowly improving and even these simple exercises would have been impossible a year ago or even 6 months ago. Despite what some people say, Qigong is not something even in a very simplified version that everyone that is ill will be able to do. It is demanding to do if you are very ill (as is meditation) and should not be done until you feel you can cope with it without causing yourself any type of relapse.
I'm not a fan of Qigong or similar as the only or primary treatment for serious disease though - as if you have nutrient deficiencies and toxin overload which has lead to your disease then you need to correct those things and no amount of Qigoing is going to do that. If you are low in vitamin B6 or magnesium then you need those things and nothing else will do! But Qigong may well have an important role to play in improving circulation, lowering the body's stress levels and promoting a relaxed and healing central nervous system state as part of a larger program encompassing a nutrient dense diet, intelligent supplementation and various detoxification protocols - if you are well enough to do it.
Combing meditation and/or Qigong with great books that talk about genuine healing and treating the causes of disease such as Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Detoxify or Die, and Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins can only help your health improve, depending on how much damage done is permanent.
I got 4 very well reviewed books on Qigong out from my local library and read them all over a two week period:
1. Qigong illustrated
2. Heal yourself with qigong : gentle practices to increase energy, restore health, and relax the mind
3. Qigong for multiple sclerosis : finding your feet again
4. Dragon and tiger medical qigong : health and energy in seven simple movements
The MS book was the one that was the most simple and non-demanding and the most suited for an ill person - even though it didn't really have any lying down exercises as I had hoped. The fourth book was completely inappropriate for me and featured exercises way too advanced and difficult for anyone that is seriously or even moderately ill in my opinion. The first two books were very good and had lots of simple standing exercises. I liked them both so much that I ended up buying my own copies to work from.
Qigong illustrated wasn't quite as good as Heal yourself with qigong, so if I had to choose just one of the two books I'd definitely go with the latter. The introductory text was of a far higher quality and very well done, I preferred the illustrations being in line drawing format rather than photos (which can be less clear), and there was a greater variety of exercises given that didn't look very difficult. It contains exercises on breathing, sending chi to your heart, or liver, or kidneys plus exercises to help undo the shoulder issues of being on a computer for too long and lots more.
Even if you are ill, or not that fit, or not that co-ordinated or good with balance or meditation, this book offers a really good non-overwhelming starting point, and is very well done. I recommend it. If you are ill I also recommend seeing if your library has any of these three books before buying them to check that they suit your abilities, if you can.
This author also has a Qigong website and videos available.
Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)