What do you know about Qigong? To some people, it’s a lifestyle of healthy physical activities to induce relaxation and reduce stress. To others, it’s a means to cultivate the qi to promote healthy living, increase immunity against illness, and increase longevity.
What Is Qigong?
Qigong (also called Qi gong) is a physical exercise aimed at improving mental and physical health. This is done by practicing a system of coordinated movement, breathing, and meditation. These actions keep the body in prime physical conditions.
Qi gong is coined from two Chinese words; qi and gong. Qi means “vital life” force, while gong means “work.” Therefore, the literal definition of Qi gong is working to enhance the flow of the vital life force in the human body. It is an essential branch of traditional Chinese medicine alongside acupuncture, herbal medicine, and medicinal massage.
It is widely used to induce the manipulation of qi around and within the human system. Qi influences human body health to a large extent. As a result, good qi promotes good health. Conversely, bad qi can cause stress and even extreme health issues. The stimulation of qi through specific parts (called meridians) of your body cures you of the effects of bad qi. This is what Qi gong does for you.
History of Qigong
Qigong originated from traditional Chinese medicine thousands of years ago. It started when Chinese peasants copied wild animals’ movements to counteract the effects of harsh weather conditions. From that moment onward, it became an integral part of Chinese medicine and has been used ever since to keep the body in top form.
Types of Qigong
Qigong is classified into different forms and styles. However, all forms of qigong practices can be categorized into three categories based on what it is used for.
- Medical Qigong
- Martial Qigong
- Spiritual Qigong
Medical Qigong is further divided into two; self-healing and external qigong. Self-healing qigong promotes the health of the individual practicing it. Alternatively, external qigong is a form of energy healing during which a qigong practitioner transfers qi from his body to his patient’s body to heal by physical contact.
You have probably watched Asian movies where monks could do unbelievable stunts, move their bodies in incredible ways. Martial Qigong enhances physical activities. Unless you are a martial arts enthusiast, you may not delve much into martial Qigong
Lastly, Spiritual Qigong aims to promote self-awareness, discipline, tranquillity, and harmony. This practice may involve the use of mantras, prayers, and sitting meditations. Experts are capable of training their qi to an advanced level, leading to the control over many internal functions of the body.
Practicing Qi Gong-How Does It Work?
If you are a newbie to qi gong, you may want to enroll in a qi gong studio. A trainer would be able to put you through the basics. Undoubtedly, you would become an expert in no time.
It seems like basic physical exercise. However, qi gong is a lot more than that. It combines the gentle aspect of meditation with physical movements. The best thing about it is that anybody can practice it, regardless of age and physical condition. Let’s talk a bit about qi gong practices.
It is divided into two practices: Wai Dan and Nei Dan.
It is also called active qi gong (or dong gong). Active qigong guides the qi sending it flowing throughout the body system. This technique focuses on slow physical movement and concentration. It involves learning physical exercise and breathing techniques in unique coordination to strengthen the body and control qi’s flow through the body.
The combination of these practices promote health, improve digestion, boost immunity, relieve body pains, and alleviate stress. It is further divided into two parts; moving meditation and still meditation.
Moving meditation is similar to Tai chi. It involves carrying out a series of exercises, forming postures that stimulate energy flow through the body. Your posture plays a significant role in qi gong practice- your posture restricts or facilitates your qi. By creating unique poses, you can control the movement of qi within your body.
On the other hand, still meditation looks like yoga. Like yoga, it involves holding a particular posture for an extended period. The major difference is still mediation has healing effects on the spirit, body, and mind.
It is also called passive qigong. Nei Dan involves less physical activities and more meditation and visualization. By guided imagery and visualization, you can direct your qi to specific parts of your body.
How Does Qigong Benefit Your Health And Wellbeing?
Qigong boosts your health in more ways than you can imagine. In fact, it is recommended by health experts for the treatments and management of many illnesses. Let’s talk about a few of them.
Qigong alleviates stress
According to Kenneth Cohen, “Qigong is an extraordinary tool for reducing the harmful effects of stress,” when we are stressed, our body blocks the pathway that governs the flow of qi through the body.
How does it provide natural health reliefs? Qigong opens up our joints, muscles, and tendons allowing unhindered qi flow around the body. Basic exercises to reduce stress are wave breathing, Buddha holds, and centering.
By practicing Qigong, you can avoid the harmful effects of stress, such as high blood pressure and cortisol level. Qigong tends to the source of the problem at the mind, body and spirit levels. Hence, it has become increasingly relevant in managing stress.
It helps your cardiovascular health.
Adopting Qigong in your lifestyle can positively influence your cardiovascular health. Stress affects your cardiovascular health by consuming your energy, making your heart overwork to keep you active. As a result, the energy drain wreaks havoc on the body. If proper care is not taken, it can affect major internal organs.
However, Qi gong energizes your body system, shielding your heart from overstraining by introducing a positive frequency throughout your course.
Other Medical Benefits
Qigong keeps you in a healthy physical condition by keeping your qi in stable and harmonious form. Hence, it is recommended to manage health ailments such as cancer, depression, diabetes, to mention a few. Research has proven that it causes improved immunological functioning, increased blood circulation, increased blood vessel elasticity, and improved pain tolerance.
The Chinese culture has a long-standing history in utilizing it to strengthen the internal organs. Due to this practice, many monks have been able to live for too long time.
Many studies to determine the overall effectiveness of Qi gong have shown great promise.
It makes you feel good.
Qigong puts the human body in a state of relaxation. As a result, the brain releases hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals act as opiates, which decrease stress levels by reducing the stress hormone in the body.
It provides personal empowerment.
Qi gong links your body, spirit, and mind together, making you see things from a divine perspective. By practicing qigong, you learn to breeze through life irrespective of any problems that may come your way.
Also, you gain an incredible ability to handle challenging life issues without anxiety and panic.
Embracing Qigong in Your Lifestyle
The benefits of Qigong for health benefits cannot be overemphasized. It is wise to sign up at the local qigong studio or join the locals at the park for a qigong session.
The best thing about it is that anybody can participate in it. It has no physical fitness or age requirement. Also, it is relatively easy to learn.
You can enjoy qigong too.