Traditional Chinese Medicine Practices: Qigong
I love Qigong!
I was first introduced to the practice when I thought I was signing up for a Tai Chi class, which is very similar to Active Qigong. In fact, what I signed up for was Meditative Qigong. I continued in the study of Qigong by completing a year long program of Energy Healing Qigong. My experience with Qigong changed my life, helping me to focus, ground, and heal, as well as help me form a deeper spiritual practice. I can't imagine my life without it!
Most Popular Method of Disease Prevention
Qigong is the most popular method of disease prevention in China. It is an ancient practice including flowing movement, gentle exercise, controlled breathing techniques, self-massage, and meditation, all used to cultivate and move the Qi or life energy through the body. Studies both in China and the US have shown that Qigong can reduce pain, anxiety, and depression. It is a practice that focuses on strengthening the immune system. It has also been found effective in treating hypertension, headaches, asthma, ulscers, arthritis, chronic pain, and some forms of cancer.
According to Chinese Medicine, health is the result of freely flowing Qi. Disease is the result of stagnant or low Qi caused by physical, emotional and environmental stress. Too much or too little Qi can create poor health, inflammation, tension, congestion, and weakness in the body.
We learned earlier that Qi means vital breath or life energy. Gong means “work.” So, the meaning of Qigong is “working with the life energy.” In Qigong the student learns to control the flow and distribution of Qi thus improving balance, health and harmony in the mind, body and spirit.
For Best Results
In order for the best results, Qigong should be practiced on a daily basis. It becomes a way of life. It doesn’t take long, 20-40 minutes is usually sufficient to feel the benefits. Qigong can be practiced standing, sitting or lying down so it is an ideal exercise for older adults and disabled individuals.
Qigong is broken down into three main applications:
- Martial Arts Qigong - exercise/external movement
- Spiritual Qigong - meditative and relaxing
- Medical Qigong including self healing and external Qi healing (similar to Therapeutic Touch.
Dong Gong, Jing Gong & Medical Qigong
The most popular type of Qigong is “dynamic” or “active” Qigong (Dong Gong). It is considered exercise and energetically "yang" because it is very active, moving the body while maintaining a quiet mind. There are many exercises to learn with fun names including the Five Animal Frolics and Turtle Breathing. Practicing this type of Qigong looks like slow, rhythmic, controlled dancing.
The other type of Qigong is “Tranquil" or “Passive” Qigong (Jing Gong). It is considered yin, meditative and spiritual. From the outside there is no movement but internally the mind is active and the Qi is controlled by concentration, visualization, and breathing. The body is still, yet the breath is moving. The mind is alert and paying attention to the Qi while the body is still and at rest.
Qigong is considered to be the way to prevent disease, improve health, and make recovery from illness or injury quicker. Qigong is a practice so that each person can take control of his or her own health and wellness.
Medical Qigong includes self healing Qigong which includes specific exercises, practices and meditations for the patient to follow. There is also an energy healing Qigong known as Was Qi Zhi Liao, external Qi Healing. It is an ancient Chinese method of Healing Touch and a branch of Medical Qigong. Meditative Qigong is always practiced as a compliment to Medical Qigong.
In order to practice External Qi Healing, the practitioner must be able to control his or her own internal Qi flow before being considered ready to work with others. During a healing session, the practitioner places his/her hands on or near the client’s body, assesses the vitality of the client’s Qi, and then transmits healing Qi through the hands and breath. It is a very relaxing experience!
Other forms of Qigong include:
- Confucian Qigong - Improves one’s character
- Business Qigong - A practice to help employees feel less stressed, maintain health and improve productivity.
An Easy, Gentle Practice for Anyone
Qigong is a gentle practice, meant to be learned over time. Its meant to be practiced daily, preferably in the morning, before breakfast, which is considered the best time to plant the “seeds of the day.” One who practices Qigong will feel changes after only a few lessons but one will feel a life-time of health if practiced on a regular and consistent basis. The body is considered a garden of energy that should be tended to on a regular basis. Qigong is a wonderful practice to tend to your inner garden.
You can find more information about Qigong in the links below. Enjoy!