Qigong is another of the ancient forms of Chinese healing and health exercises. Records show this set of exercises to date as far back as 4,000 years. The Qigong Health Benefits are said to raise energy levels and therefore promote overall health and wellbeing.
It is known for its gentle form of movement and is suitable for those of all ages. Like most forms of exercise it is especially beneficial for those who practice it daily.
3 Parts Of Qigong Practice.
There are three main components to the practice:
- Deep breathe and breathing exercises
- Slow and deliberate body movements, designed to strengthen muscles and increase personal flexibility
It is a set of exercises based upon nature and the movements of nature. The practice uses slow and fluid movements, intended to mimic those motions found in nature and the natural world, such as the falling rain or the blowing winds.
Qigong helps us to become more energetically balanced enabling our body to move with greater fluidity. This helps us gain better posture, greater flexibility and improved muscle tone. This form of exercise also enables us to achieve a greater sense of inner peace and promotes a calmer mind leading to a better state of emotional well being.
The practice consists of various movements usually named after different types of animals. The set of movements are designed to flow smoothly from one to another in a set pattern. The ancient Chinese figured out long ago that the mind and body are closely connected. Qigong is designed to strengthen and improve that mind body connection.
Qigong is a type of Chinese exercise and health system that has been practiced for thousands of years. It involves using physical exercises, breathing techniques, and mental focus to optimize the flow of energy (qi) within the body, mind, and spirit. The goal of qigong is to improve and maintain health and well-being, as well as to prevent and treat diseases.
Qigong and it’s relationship to Traditional Chinese Medicine
Qigong is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which views the human body as a microcosm of the natural world. According to TCM, qi is the vital force that animates all living things and flows through channels (meridians) in the body. When qi is abundant, balanced, and smooth, the body is healthy and harmonious. When qi is deficient, blocked, or stagnant, the body is vulnerable to illness and disharmony.
There are hundreds of forms of qigong exercises that have been developed in China over the centuries. Some are dynamic (active), involving body movements, especially movements of the whole body or arms and legs.
Some are meditative (passive), involving breath and mind exercises, with almost no body movement. Some are therapeutic (medical), designed to treat specific conditions or organs. Some are martial (combat), intended to enhance strength, speed, and agility. Some are spiritual (religious), aimed at cultivating inner wisdom and enlightenment.
One of the most popular and widely practiced forms of qigong is called “Eight Pieces of Silk Brocade” (Ba Duan Jin). It consists of eight simple exercises that can be done by anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.
Exercises For Qigong “Eight Pieces of Silk”
The exercises are said to benefit the internal organs, improve blood circulation, strengthen the muscles and bones, regulate the nervous system, and enhance immunity. The exercises are:
- Two hands upholding the sky: This exercise stretches the spine and stimulates the lungs and heart.
- Pulling the bow: This exercise opens the chest and shoulders and strengthens the arms and back.
- Crane spreading its wing: This exercise balances the left and right sides of the body and improves coordination and flexibility.
- Looking backward: This exercise relaxes the neck and shoulders and invigorates the brain and kidneys.
- Left and right swing: This exercise massages the abdomen and liver and aids digestion and detoxification.
- Up and down stretch: This exercise tones the legs and waist and activates the energy centers along the spine.
- Diagonal knock: This exercise clears the head and sinuses and stimulates the ears and eyes.
- Toe and heel bounce: This exercise shakes off tension and fatigue and boosts vitality.
Effective Qigong Practice Guidelines
To practice qigong effectively, it is important to follow some basic guidelines:
- Choose a quiet, clean, and comfortable place to practice.
- Wear loose fitting clothes that allow free movement of breath and blood.
- Practice on an empty stomach or at least two hours after a meal.
- Breathe slowly, deeply, and naturally through the nose.
- Focus your attention on your breath, your body sensations, or your intention.
- Relax your mind and body as much as possible.
- Move gently, smoothly, and gracefully.
- Do not force or strain yourself beyond your capacity.
- Stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
- Enjoy yourself!
Qigong is a wonderful way to enhance your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. By practicing qigong regularly, you can cultivate a deeper connection with yourself, with nature, and with life. Qigong can help you achieve balance, harmony, peace, joy, and longevity.
Gallery Credit: Wellcome Library, London.Wellcome Images
Qigong Health Benefits – The Flow And Necessity Of Qi.
Qi is our life energy and should flow freely within the body.
When Qi is blocked, or is out of balance, we get sick. This imbalance in energy means our body is unable to function as well as it should.
The Qi travels via various channels within the body, known as meridians. These meridians are known by various names in various cultures. Many will know these energy channels as the nadis which enable to energy flow from the 7 major chakras.
The movements enable the energy in our body to travel without hindrance from any blockage and imbalance within the meridians.
Qigong is often used along with acupuncture to relieve blockages in the meridians. Acupuncture clears these blockages which can prevent the free flow of qi energy.
The exercise originated in ancient China and was relatively unheard of in the Western world. Thanks to technology and the ease of International travel, the Qigong Masters were able to travel and spread this healing exercise.
Now, particularly in the US, the practice of Qigong has became incredibly popular and recognized for its health benefits. Today, it is taught by Masters in person or on video and DVD.
Currently, there are almost three quarters of a million Americans who practice Qigong on a daily basis. This number is growing steadily with its acceptance as a healthy and safe alternative to many exercise regimes. Many doctors are now recommending Qigong to their patients for a variety of ailments. It has been found to decrease neck and back pain, joint pain, arthritic pain as well as emotional anxiety.
The 10 Qigong Health Benefits?
Qigong has been studied by researchers.
Of Note one paper – “A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi” – shows an incredible correlation to the practice of Qigong and the improvement of physical and emotional health of practitioners.
This research has discovered much evidence that the practice is a healing form of exercise. It’s benefits include:
An increase in balance, flexibility and muscle tone.
Greater calming of the mind, eliciting the relaxation response of the physical body. This relaxation response is seen as critical for both mental and physical health as it reduces stress.
Reduction of stress has a hugely positive impact on our body. The release of stress hormones contribute to our anxiety, build up of belly fat and impacts many of our bodily functions.
It helps to quiet the mind, bringing calm. It is a form of meditative exercise. This type of meditative relaxation alleviates stress in the current moment as well as enabling longer terms relaxation and anxiety reduction.
Qigong has been shown to improve our total bodies circulation as well as helping our liver to remove toxins.
Those who regularly practice Qigong have seen overall improvement and strengthening of the immune system.
It helps with emotional health by relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has been shown to help with insomnia and aide people improve their sleep patterns.
Qigong improves our blood circulation and therefore promotes better heart health. Studies have shown that Qigong when practiced regularly can help lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension.
The meditative aspect of Qigong brings with it a wealth of health benefits. This includes improvement in focus and concentration.
People of all ages and those with disability can practice Qigong due to it’s gentle nature.
Qigong is literally translated as energy cultivation, and is a traditional Chinese holistic healing system of movements, breathing and intentional focus for physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
The movements are easy to learn, and are flowing and gentle so even the very young, elderly, unwell and unfit can master the basics.
I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the Qigong Health Benefits.