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Qigong: A Gentle Form Of Exercise

2 months, 1 week ago

2413  0
Posted on Apr 15, 2024, 2 p.m.

Qigong is a physical activity that aims to optimize energy within the body, mind and spirit with the goal of improving and maintaining health and well-being.  Qigong is a system of coordinated mind-body exercise forms that uses posture, meditation, breathing, and movement to increase energy and enables the body to heal itself to promote overall well-being when practiced consistently and mindfully. 

These exercise movements and healing techniques were developed in ancient China and Tibet over thousands of years, and are practiced for a variety of reasons that can bring about countless health-related benefits that may provide relief for a multitude of chronic health issues such as bone density, poor circulation, back pain, poor sleep, high blood pressure, and fibromyalgia, as well as lessening chronic fatigue, boosting immune responses, and reducing stress. 

This age-old practice is generally safe for nearly everyone, and it requires zero special training or equipment, but it has some pretty amazing potential health benefits. As little as 10 minutes a day can help to reduce stress and promote your body to function at its best. Daily practice of 30 minutes is said to provide transformative health benefits for digestion, focus, cognition, endurance, sex drive, and sleep to overtime provide an overall feeling of warmth, confidence, and groundedness within one's self. 

The slow, gentle, almost dance-like smooth movements and techniques help with our blood chemistry, endorphin production and blood flow which fuels our brain with more oxygen. Practicing Qigong can help with stress management, anger, anxiety, depression, improve moods, and alleviate negative thoughts to promote resilience and improve mental health. 

Qigong has both physical and psychological components to it and it involves the regulation of the mind, breath, as well as the body’s movement and posture. In most forms, breathing is slow, long and deep, with breath patterns switching from abdominal breathing to breathing combined with sounds. The mind holds significant sway in this practice, concentration and intent significantly influence how energy moves within the body, therefore, mindfulness and concentration play important roles in reaping the benefits of Qigong. 

Qigong may help to improve balance, coordination, flexibility, and range of movement, leading to better overall mobility. It may help with pain management, improve circulation, enhancing strength, and endurance. Regular practice could help to boost the immune system, enhance lung capacity leading to improved respiratory function, and balance the autonomic nervous system which plays a role in regulating blood pressure. Additionally, promoting balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system supports cardiovascular health. 

This is not a form of yoga, yoga requires more strength, balance, and stretching. If you think Tai Chi and Qigong are similar you would be correct, as Tai Chi is considered to be one of the hundreds of forms of Qigong exercises, other forms include Baduanjin, Liuzijue, Hu Yue Xian, Yijin Jing, and medical qigong.

Qigong may be especially beneficial for older people and those with chronic illnesses or physical disabilities, and even those living predominantly sedentary lives who have little exercise in their lives because the movements are typically slow, gentle, and smooth, aiming for relaxation and the mind regulation includes focusing attention and visualization. 

The dynamic active techniques primarily focus on body movements of the whole body, while meditative passive techniques can be practiced in any posture that can be maintained over time and involve breath and mind exercises with very little body movement, making Qigong great for all levels from beginners to the more experienced alike. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

Tamysn Webber at WHN

Response of Bone Mineral Density with Qigong. Burns Journal. 2023

Qigong on Blood Pressure and Nitric Oxide. Evidence-Based Alt Medicine 2020

Qigong for Pulmonary Function Patients w/Covid-19. Medicine Baltimore. 2020

Qigong for Major Depressive Disorder: Meta-Analysis. Env Res 2019

Qigong for Mood Regulation. Focus J. Psychiatry 2018

Qigong on Depression: Evid Based Med 2013

Chan, J. S., Ho, R. T., Chung, K., Wang, C., Yao, T., Ng, S., & Chan, C. L. (2014). Qigong Exercise Alleviates Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depressive Symptoms, Improves Sleep Quality, and Shortens Sleep Latency in Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-Like Illness. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2014, 1-10. doi:10.1155/2014/106048

Lin, C., Wei, T., Wang, C., Chen, W., Wang, Y., & Tsai, S. (2018). Acute Physiological and Psychological Effects of Qigong Exercise in Older Practitioners. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2018, 1-10. doi:10.1155/2018/4960978

Johnson, J. A. (2002). Chinese medical Qigong therapy (Vol. 1). Pacific Grove, CA: International Institute of Medical Qigong.

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