Sometimes called “chi gung” or “chi kung,” qigong is an exercise method that incorporates both moving and still meditation, massage, and even meditation using sound. Part of the 3,000-year-old traditional healing system in China, the effectiveness of qigong has benefited millions of people for thousands of years along with acupuncture and herbal formulas. As language and cultural barriers continue to fade between the East and West, our world becomes smaller and healing methods like qigong are welcomed into our part of the globe.
Qigong focuses on both internal and external movements to help move the body’s “chi” or life energy. Internal involves moving the blood and energy through the inside of the body through meditation and mindfulness. External movements involve physically moving the body through slow, methodical motions and stretches. As you move and use deep, diaphragmatic breathing, your awareness of how the body moves through space helps strengthen the chi. External agents such as the ingestion of herbs, massage, or interaction with other living organisms are also believed to help in the process of maintaining positive life energy.
For many people, qigong is used to help prevent chronic health problems such as back pain, poor circulation, and joint problems like arthritis. But qigong also provides mental clarity and helps clear away mental and emotional stress that plague today’s society. Achieving this clarity helps to regulate and balance the chi and allows you to perceive the world with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
It is believed that as you practice qigong and your mind and body become more vibrant, you may find that you are consciously able to direct your chi to areas of your body in need. Many people have found that they can direct their body to control their frustration, anxiety, and even their blood pressure by controlling their reaction to life’s stress. As the body tenses up, they are able to direct the chi (energy) to the tense part of their body to help it regain a normal state.
Because qigong includes both active and gentle techniques, both the young and old can see benefits from this ancient practice. Tailored to the individual’s needs, it can be performed from a standing or seated position and can even be accommodated for those suffering from injuries. However you use it, we are just thankful this ancient tradition has found its way into our part of the world.