Qigong is a meditative art-form that is practiced by proponents of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has a number of physiological and psychological benefits. Quitting translates as “Life Energy Work, with the “Qi” referring to the body’s life energy.
History of Qigong
Qigong has grown over thousands of years, adapted and tweaked by its proponents. It is said to date back several thousands of years and has ties with early Buddhist and Daoist practices. It existed as many separate meditative practices for thousands of years, but in the 1950s the Chinese Government, under Chairman Mao, went about categorizing all of these practices under the Qigong umbrella. This was just one of the many changes that the Mao Zedong made to Traditional Chinese Medicine practices during this time, including the creation of the term Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Qigong in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Qigong, much like standard meditation, can be used as both a preventative medicine and a cure. A stable, well-balanced mind and body is a big part of TCM, and Qigong can help to achieve that. As well as relaxing and centering the mind, Qigong can purge the body, improve posture, and generally aid in overall wellbeing.
The focus of Qigong is not physical exercise, but the movement of the body’s life-force, Qi. It promotes the flow of Qi through the body’s meridian lines, and this is essential to maintaining good health. If the body or the mind is sluggish, fatigued or generally not performing as it should, then Qigong can help to change things. However, Qigong is best used as a means of prevention, and it is recommended that everybody practice Qigong for at least 20 minutes everyday.
You don’t have to follow Traditional Chinese Medicine to practice or benefit from Qigong. There have been many scientific studies done on Qigong and the general consensus is that it works and that it can help with most of, if not all of the issues presented above. This really is a cure-all and a great barrier against many kinds of illness, and it is something that is so easy to perform, something that costs nothing and something takes very little time.
Benefits of Qigong
Maintaining the flow of Qi is the main benefit to practicing Qigong, but there are also a number of direct benefits that can help you both mentally and physically. Like standard meditation, Qigong can help with mindfulness, it can help to center you, to rid you of stress and pressure. This in turn will lower blood pressure, decrease your heart rate and help with the cardiovascular functions.
Although Qigong is not an exercise as such, the movements involved and the positions and postures used do help to strengthen your core muscles, and to build and tone other muscles. If you are agitated or frustrated, or if you have a muscle injury, Qigong can also help to loosen and relax those muscles. It is even used by athletes and by martial artists, aiding with their mental focus as well as their physical capabilities.
As it helps to restore the balance of Yin and Yang and to promote the flow of Qi throughout the body, Qigong can also help to strength you organs. This is why it is recommended to people suffering from illnesses and diseases that directly affect one or more of their organs. The illnesses that it can benefit the most, however, are those where pain is a major symptom. This includes any form of chronic back or leg pain.
Qigong is also very useful in those who have spent a lot of time under bed rest, those who spend a lot of time sitting or lying down, and those who can’t undergo sterns exercise. Not only are the movements gentle enough to be performed safely by such patients, but the additional benefits that Qigong can bring will also help you bolster their overall wellbeing.
How to Practice Qigong
Although Qigong is a little more complicated than standard meditation, it is still very easy to perform. Like Yoga and other forms of movement meditation, Qigong involves the use of certain poses and movements, and these can be learned from an expert practitioner, or from videos and illustrations.
The movements are slow and methodical, aiming to control and direct the body’s life force. Like Tai Chi, they look like slow-motion martial art moves, and like meditation, it is important to focus on your breath as these moves are performed.
Before you begin, you should find you body’s balance point. This is your center, and it is how you stay balanced as you practice. You then need to focus within yourself, much like you would do with standard meditation. You can do this by breathing slowly and focusing on your breath, and you can it by performing sitting meditation beforehand. You can also close your eyes.
You should also ensure that you keep your head slightly raised, and in line with your spine. Posture complaints are common in the modern age. This is because many of us are often hunched over desks, or slouched on sofas. Dropping or lowering your head is therefore a natural response, but keeping it straight is essential.
Although Qigong will assist with clearing your mind, you may also want to achieve that calming state before you begin.