What is Qigong?
Qigong (the Qi is pronounced "Chi")
Qigong is a series of gentle exercises that loosen the joints and promote the flow of Chi through the body.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that there is a flow of energy, or Chi, around the body. This energy flows in a number of meridians, and only if this flow is unimpeded with the person be well. There are many ways of correcting the flow of energy, probably the best know is acupuncture, where the flow of energy or Chi is altered to correct problems. There are a number of other ways of correcting energy flow, and Qigong is one of them.
Qigong comes in many different forms, the major divisions that we use are those exercises where the body is held still, and the energy allowed to flow, commonly know as "standing post" exercises, and those where there are movements of the body used to stimulate the energy flow.
We start with the simple movement exercises, these gently warm up the muscles and "energise" the body and develop balance. We do add in some standing post exercises but to be able to hold these positions for more than a few minutes requires considerable physical and mental discipline, and it takes some months of training to reach the required levels.
The Chinese believe that regular exercise of Qigong will keep the body strong and resistant to diseases, and it is widely used as a complement to other Martial Arts disciplines. Tai Chi practitioners use these postures to promote Chi as a preparation for the form.
Why Study Qigong?
Qi gong is the preventive and self-healing aspect of Chinese medicine. We are all exposed to stress. Qigong teaches us how to control our reactions to stress so that life events do not cause such symptoms as high blood pressure, frustration, or anxiety. Healthy people practice Qigong to become super-healthy. Qigong exercises can improve performance in any sport, improving the golf drive, tackling ability in football, accuracy in tennis, and stamina in swimming. As a spiritual discipline, Qigong leads to self-awareness, tranquillity, and harmony with nature.
Who can benefit?
Because Qigong includes both dynamic and gentle techniques that can be practiced from standing or seated postures, it is suitable for young and old. Practices can be tailored to individual needs making it an ideal aid to recovery from illness or injury. Qigong is a form of complementary medicine. It works well with other forms of therapy and should never be used as a substitute for necessary treatment by a physician.
Is Qigong Scientific?
Both China and the U.S. have hosted conferences for academic exchange of Qi gong research. Qigong has been shown to improve posture and respiration, induce the relaxation response, cause favourable changes in blood chemistry, and improve self-awareness and concentration. Research suggests that Qigong may be beneficial for Asthma, Arthritis, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Headaches, Pain, and a wide variety of common ailments. External Qi Healing is effective for the same range of illnesses as acupuncture.