January 6, 2024

Healing Trauma Through Qigong: Traditional Chinese Medicine Remedies for Emotional Stress.

*Editor’s Note: Elephant is not your doctor or hospital. Our lawyers would say “this web site is not designed to, and should not be construed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.” But we can’t afford lawyers, and you knew all that. ~ Ed.


Every single one of us has encountered emotional trauma and stress in our lives.

Western medicine and psychiatry offer various ways to process that stress. Here’s a traditional Chinese medicine technique for doing so, based on the 3,000-year-old practices of Qigong.

Qigong, meaning “energy work,” uses breath, sound, and intention to heal the physical, energetic, and emotional body. The body generates a measurable energy field several inches around it; energy centers or chakras run up and down the spine; energy channels run throughout the body. Acupuncture, tai chi, and yoga all work with these same anatomical channels and chakras.

When a person encounters emotional stress—a parent shouting angrily at a toddler, a heated argument with a friend, or a physical assault—the negative energy inflicted on the body enters into the energy field, channels, and centers. Over time, those intrusions begin to clog up the naturally smooth and even flow of energy, leading to further emotional and physical problems as more and more energy begins to back up behind these blockages, like water building up behind a dam.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that such energy blockages will cause cells and organs to malfunction, over time spreading dysfunction to other parts of the body and even creating cysts and, in its worst manifestation, cancerous tumors.  

How can we release these blockages? For millennia, millions of qigong practitioners in Asia have used sound to vibrate the tissues and, together with intention and breathing, to release the stuck or clogged energy so as to allow the body to operate normally.  

Even today, hospitals throughout Asia prescribe healing sounds and use TCM techniques to treat patients. Specific sounds have been identified for specific tissue types and organs, where certain emotions tend to be stored or suppressed into the body.

TCM believes that the lungs tend to store grief and depression.

To release the suppressed negative energy from those emotions, take the following steps:

1. Posture. Stand with legs slightly wider than shoulder width, toes parallel and pointing forward. Tuck your tailbone under so as to form a shallow bowl with your pelvis, and lightly hold close your anal sphincter so as not to leak energy. Elongate your spine, pushing your crown up to the ceiling, slightly tucking your chin. Push the spine behind your belly button out behind you and relax your entire body, especially the shoulders and torso.

2. Stance. Hold your arms in front of you as if you are gently embracing an 18-inch diameter pillar, palms facing your lungs and with elbows heavy and shoulders relaxed.

3. Inhale through your nose and imagine bright white light pouring into your lungs, filling them like brilliant balloons.

4. Exhale, making the “Shaaaaaang” sound (soft A) and seek to vibrate the lungs with the exhaled sound. Play with different pitches, high or low, as you repeat the Shaaaaaang sound several times for the purpose of finding the pitch that vibrates your lungs the most.

5. Visualize. Once you’ve found the optimal pitch, add to the exercise a visualization that as you make the Shaaaang sound, your lung tissues, bronchial tubes, and alveoli are all tearing apart at the tissue level, cellular level, molecular level, subatomic level—and releasing dark particles in all directions and away from your lungs.

6. Imagine that cloud of dark particles emanating outward in all directions as you make the sound, gently propelling your palms away from you like a growing bubble. At the same time, imagine helping along the extrusion of those particles by gently expanding the palms in front of you, both pulling and being pushed by the growing cloud of dark particles.  

7. Scoop. At the end of the long, exhaled Shaaang sound, with all the particles now free floating around your lung tissue, imagine golden scoops extending 18 inches beyond each of your hands and scoop with both hands into the bottom of your lungs, scoop up through the lungs and use those imaginary shovels to remove any remaining dark particles from your entire torso, and throw the cloud of imaginary particles away from you.  

Repeat the above for a few minutes. Each rep should take only about 8-10 seconds—the time it takes to inhale white light, exhale a long Shaaaaaang sound, scoop out and throw away the dark energy particles.

Processing the Results

As you try this exercise, relaxed and focused on your body’s sensations, you may find old memories and emotions bubbling up. You may become queasy, begin to cry, or break out in a rash. This may occur during the practice, or for hours afterwards, even in your dreams that night. This is a healthy and appropriate result, as you are finally releasing old traumas which have been suppressed so they can no longer fester and worsen. Except this time, you are better prepared to process these than, say, when you were three years old being shouted at by your parent, or being bullied in the schoolyard.

So when those old memories or emotions flare up, take a few minutes to journal: write out in detail what you are feeling, what happened, what you feel about it…what lessons you can now learn from the experience, to transmute it from trauma to beneficial life experience. Ideally, use a number two wood pencil and paper, as the organic material will be a conduit for the energy that you will be pouring out of your arm into the sheet of paper. Let the tears flow and vomit the energy of your suppressed emotions onto the paper. (You can also burn the paper outside afterwards, after studying any lessons from the released trauma.)

You may need a couple sessions of journaling to vent. You may want to go for a run, do a hot workout, dance or cry or sing to further release and process what you are now feeling. And this may be a good time to talk with a friend or therapist to further unpack and release what has begun to emerge.

For optimal results, try the Shaaaaang exercise every day or so, for as long as you feel there is suppressed emotion/grief/depression to release. And there will be new negative energy impacts every day as we live our normal, stressful lives.

This is just one of the techniques TCM and Qigong offer as an ancient healing modality to process and release the emotional traumas that we all have faced—and will continue to face. And there are many further Qigong exercises not only to purge, but even better, to replace the purged negative energy with positive, pure life force energy.

Wishing you blessings in your healing journey!


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