The Benefits of Qi Gong
Qi gong is a fundamental component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and consists of mindful posture and graceful movement coordinated with the breath. The name of this system of healing is comprised of two Mandarin Chinese words: “qi” which means energy flow and “gong” which means skill or achievement. Qi gong has been practiced for many years throughout Asia to promote health, relieve pain, prevent disease, and prolong life. It is intended to cultivate body, mind and breath as one. Through this self-cultivation, you can achieve the following additional benefits:
- Relief of physical and mental tension
- Increased balance, stability, and strength
- Improved circulation of body fluids through the gentle contraction and stretching of muscle in coordination with full breath cycles
It has long been understood that gentle rehabilitative exercise (under the approval and guidance of a qualified healthcare professional) can both relieve and prevent pain, disease, and injury. As qi gong has gradually become a popular form of complementary medicine, several studies have been conducted to test qi gong’s efficacy for a wide range of conditions. Most have been small or pilot studies, but many have shown promising results that merit more rigorous research. A recent pilot study of depressed Chinese-Americans showed significant improvement in depression and a 40% remission rate after a 12-week qi gong program. Another trial conducted in Korea showed significant reduction in stress and anxiety after a 4-week qigong program. An Australian study of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus patients found that a 12-week qi gong program resulted in significant improvements in weight, waist circumference, leg strength, and insulin resistance, compared to a control group.
Just about anyone can practice qi gong. It is applicable for a broad range of fitness levels, given its foundation on meditative posture, gentle movement, and breath. With the approval of your doctor, you can safely try qi gong with almost no risk of injury. As with other modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine, each individual’s experience will be different, depending on your receptivity to the exercise and your healing objective. The only way to truly know how beneficial it will be is to give it a try.
Qi gong instruction is accessible in many communities throughout the country. Qualified instructors are available and eager to share their knowledge. If you’re interested, you just have to find one you resonate with and give it a try.
At all three Tao of Wellness locations, we offer private qi gong sessions upon request. The Wellness Living Store (wellnesslivingstore.com) also offers qi gong classes on a regular basis. Instructional DVDs of various qi gong sequences are available for purchase at all locations.
Qi gong is a beautiful, meditative practice that empowers you to play an active role in your own health, wellness, and longevity.