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by Lee Holden
Exercise to Heal, 2004
Review by Christian Perring on May 20th 2008
This introductory half-hour DVD has Lee Holden explaining the basics of the Chinese theory and practice of Qi Gong. Shows him in some woods on a summer's day, standing on a platform placed in a flowing river. It has gentle music in the background, with both Western and Eastern elements. Holden emphasizes the meditative and energistic aspects of Qi Gong, whereby the practice can help recharge your energy and restore balance through slow and easy movements. The editing is professional, and Holden's voiceover is spoken very clearly in a calm manner.
Personally, I am not sure what to make of the notion of Qi energy in Chinese medicine, which flows not just around the body but in and out of the body from the rest of the world. I much prefer simple physical, indeed mechanical, approaches to the body. While Chinese medicine has plenty of success in its treatment, it hasn't been subject to the same kinds of experimental verification of much Western medicine. So when Holden instructs you to clear out your old energy and breathe in new energy, I think the best way to understand this is as a metaphor, rather than some kind of literal truth. This DVD would work well as a different kind of relaxation exercise, and in order for that to work, you can't be thinking critical thoughts about the reality of Qi energy. For most people in the West, this will be a different form of relaxation, since it involves slow gentle movement and focusing of the mind rather than lying down and letting the mind go. If you are in search of a new way of relaxing, this DVD could be worth trying.
© 2008 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.