Qigong

 

 

Chronic Pain ResourcesSome forms of it even incorporate martial arts. It is a practice of cultivating life force energy just like acupuncture, but people can actually do it themselves, without needing a practitioner. Qigong can help with all areas of health: mental, physical and spiritual health.

 

The word Qigong (pronounced "chee gong") is a combination of two ideas: "Qi" means air, breath of life, or vital energy of the body, and "gong" means the self-discipline skill of working, cultivating, and balancing Qi (QIGONG INSTITUTE).

 

QIGONG INSTITUTE/Introduction to the Practice of Qigong/FAQ. Retrieved from: https://www.qigonginstitute.org/category/4/getting-started

 

NQA(National Qigong Association)/What is Qigong?. Retrieved from: https://www.nqa.org/what-is-qigong-         

University of Minnesota: Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing/Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/qigong

 

Great Grand Master Kellen Chia. (2011, October 23). TAI CHI SOCIETY/The Difference Between Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from: http://www.taichisociety.net/difference-between-tai-chi-qigong.html

Qigong can help a person with disease prevention, as well as working on self-healing from an illness. There is evidence that focused breathing can bring the body into an alkaline balanced state, which can provide major health benefits for the body.

 

Qigong works to fix imbalances in a person’s body such as the deep emotions of anger, anxiety, depression, and grief. Additionally, it can help with injuries, trauma, unhealthy diets, a lack of exercise, and etc. It can also just bring a sense of joy, vitality and peacefulness.

 

Here are some more specific explanations of the benefits of Qigong:

  • Physical BenefitsChronic Pain Resources
    Qigong provides physical benefits such as flexibility, strength, loosening muscles, and creating balance in the muscles and joints through the movements. Qigong has a different effect on muscles than typical aerobics and stretching exercises that build flexibility and strength. Qigong is more of an internal exercise that leads to effortless power and looseness. The goal of qigong is not muscular strength, but rather relaxed power by loosening muscles without fighting or straining them. 
  • Strengthens Organs
    Qigong can strengthen and balance all the internal organs. Different techniques can strengthen specific organs. Even someone not suffering from a serious illness can benefit, since everyone is born with some weaker organs. Qigong actually strengthens the heart and lungs even more than aerobic exercise. This is due to the deep, slow breathing and energy movements working together to move oxygen deeper into tissues than typical exercises.
  • Strengthens the Nerves
    Qigong primarily works through the nervous system. With practice, nerves are strengthened and awareness of the body increases. Due to the profound effects on the nervous system, people with motor problems and poor coordination can really benefit. The spinal nerves benefit from qigong, and they play an important role in a person’s overall health. Strengthening the nervous system also leads to improving regular stress, along with improving the damage from long-term stress.
  • Vascular Function
    Qigong is often prescribed for both high and low blood pressure in China. It can also help increase circulation. The dynamic movement of Qigong benefits your lymphatic system and improves the flow of blood both in your arteries and specifically in the veins which rely on movement to promote the flow of blood (mindvalley).
  • Chronically Sick
    The ease of doing Qigong and the simplicity of it makes it a beneficial exercise for the chronically ill. Severely, chronically sick patients usually can’t handle aerobic exercise or even strength training. Qigong, however, has many techniques specifically designed for the weak and immobile, techniques which increase physical capacities without requiring movement (Frantzis, 2018). Many cancer patients have found it useful not to treat their condition specifically, but for help with recovery. The combination of gentle movement, deep focused breathing, and mindful focus creates a state of bliss, balance, and calmness that will break the yoke of a modern-day stressful lifestyle (mindvalley).
  • Prevents Injuries to Bones, Joints, and Ligaments
    Qigong teaches better balance; it also teaches how to turn correctly without straining, to move your joints without locking them and how to relax during a fall (Frantzis, 2018). Qigong is great for flexibility, it is like a combination of acupuncture and a stretch. Fluids and energy circulate better within the body, which improves the weaker areas. With regular practice the likelihood of injury declines.
  • Helps with Recovery from Injuries
    Qigong helps energy and fluids to flow easily through the body, which helps improve the body’s natural healing abilities. This will also activate the lymph system to clear out waste, improving the immune system. Practitioners of qigong learn to avoid strain and stay well within their 70 percent capacity, and, in particular, not to overstrain if there is already some pain or restriction (Frantzis, 2018). With the 70 percent rule in place, recovery can happen at a pace that will allow for a fuller recovery. Qigong is great for relaxation, which is a benefit because it helps the body to be less tense. If uninjured areas are tense, they will utilize too much of the energy that is actually needed to heal injured parts of the body. Tension can also lead to injury.
  • Improves Stress
    Qigong can help with relieving stress from deep inside the body, along with surface level stress. There are even specific movements that a person can try for their specific problem such as anger, depression, frustration, sadness, or a combination of emotions. Our world is very stressed. Many people live in a constant state of stress without being aware of it. Qigong can help with creating that relaxation response that doesn’t always happen naturally.

    Improving stress levels will also lead to improved sleep.
  • Qigong can help with Sedentary Workers
    Qigong exercises can help people who sit for long periods of time to focus better, and feel comfortable for longer.
  • Improves Cardiovascular and Respiratory Function

NQA(National Qigong Association)/What is Qigong?. Retrieved from:

https://www.nqa.org/what-is-qigong-         

University of Minnesota: Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing/Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/qigong

 

mindvalley/Qigong Benefits That Bring Fulfillment To Your Life. Retrieved from:https://blog.mindvalley.com/qigong-benefits/

 

Frantzis, Bruce. (2018, February 9). Energy Arts/Qigong Benefits. Retrieved from:

https://www.energyarts.com/qigong-benefits/

It can help with health conditions including:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Illness
  • Depression
  • Digestion
  • Headaches
  • High & Low Blood Pressure
  • Injury
  • Sinus Congestion
  • Stress
  • Trauma

University of Minnesota: Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing/Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/qigong

 

Although it is suitable for injured and chronically sick people to practice, it would be beneficial to work with a Qigong teacher for beginners. The likelihood of injury is very low though.

Medical Qigong shares a lot of theories found in Traditional Chinese medicine with similar treatments and methods for diagnosis. It is the oldest of the four branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the energetic foundation from which acupunctureherbal medicine, and Chinese massage (tui na) originated (University of Minnesota). Movements are supposed to improve the flow of Qi, and massage the internal organs with slow and relaxed physical exercises. There are two forms of medical qigong: Self-Healing and Qi Emission.

 

Chronic Pain ResourcesWith Self-Healing qigong people perform qigong exercises to improve health, address any illnesses, and prevent diseases.

 

With Qi Emission, a practitioner emits Qi for healing. Similar to Reiki, practitioners control Qi and emit it through placing hands above a person or lightly touching them. They might also utilize massage, acupuncture, tools (metals or stones), energizing items (stones, teas, metals, or water), and distant healing (emitting energy to someone many miles away).

 

Meditation Qigong has many techniques and methods. Most meditation Qigong entails visualization, focusing the Qi to move to a specific part of the body, or focusing on breathing patterns, sounds, specific ideas, images and concepts (Chia, 2011). This form of qigong is often utilized in Chinese martial arts. Meditation can be done sitting, standing, or lying down. There are three types of meditation: moving, still, and sitting. Moving meditation is about paying attention to energy within movements, posture, breathing, and position transitions. Still meditation is when postures are held for longer periods of time, similar to yoga. Lastly, sitting meditation focuses on the breath, paying attention to the body and mind.

 

Martial Qigong helps people who practice martial arts to improve their power. The Qigong training typically involves repeatedly tensing and then loosening the muscles, combined with deep, long breaths often incorporating reversed abdominal breathing (Chia, 2011). It is required to be reasonable fit before attempting it, otherwise it could damage the body’s systems. It can lead to stronger muscles, tendons, and ligaments, while also improving the function of internal organs.

 

Spiritual Qigong is another form of Qigong more popular in China. This Qigong has religious influences of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. This type of qigong uses mantras, mudras (hand positions), sitting meditations, and prayers to pursue enlightenment (University of Minnesota). It is all about harmony, tranquility, and self-awareness with nature and self.

 

University of Minnesota: Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing/Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/qigong

 

Chia, Great Grand Master Kellen. (2011, October 23). TAI CHI SOCIETY/The Difference Between Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from: http://www.taichisociety.net/difference-between-tai-chi-qigong.html

 

NQA(National Qigong Association)/What is Qigong?. Retrieved from:

https://www.nqa.org/what-is-qigong-     

How Does Qigong Work

 

Chronic Pain ResourcesReceiving a Qigong treatment is similar to receiving an acupuncture treatment, or even physical exercise that helps reduce emotional stress. It uses the same meridian lines as acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It enhances our ability to feel the Life Force underlying the physical world and to deepen our communication with it (NQA). The practice of qigong helps stimulate the meridians, and the flow of energy improves the body’s natural ability to heal.

 

Our bodies are always working to keep us in a constant state of homeostasis, where everything in the body is in balance. The body is continuously battling the fight-flight reaction vs. the relaxation response. However, when the body becomes overstressed this relaxation response is more difficult to achieve. This is a problem since many people in today’s world are living in a continuous state of stress without full awareness of it. Qigong helps the body to achieve that relaxation response returning the body to homeostasis.

 

How does Qi Work

 

To understand Qigong, it is important to first understand how Qi works. The ‘Qi’ in Qigong stands for the life force energy that is in every living thing. Qi is the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi flows along the meridians in the body, and it must flow freely throughout the body in order for a person to be in a healthy state. Too much Qi can cause internal organs to become exhausted, and blocked Qi prevents other parts of the body from getting what they need. Qigong not only balances the Qi, but also removes access, improves shortages, and helps the flow throughout the body.

 

Qigong is a combination of meditation, posture, movement, self-massage, breathing techniques, guided imagery, and focused intent.

 

Great Grand Master Kellen Chia. (2011, October 23). TAI CHI SOCIETY/The Difference Between Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from: http://www.taichisociety.net/difference-between-tai-chi-qigong.html

 

University of Minnesota: Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing/Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/qigong

 

Dr. Nagel, Denise. (2016, June 22). HUFFPOST/Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/health-benefits-of-tai-ch_b_7641712

NQA(National Qigong Association)/What is Qigong?. Retrieved from:

https://www.nqa.org/what-is-qigong-    

Qigong Origins

  • Qigong Origins

    For hundreds of years, Qigong was taught only in Buddhist temples.

Qigong originates from China, and it has been around for over 5,000 years. Qigong was introduced around 1122 B.C., around the time India’s Buddhist and meditation practices were introduced to the Chinese people. This infusion brought Qigong practice and meditation into the second period, the religious Qigong era, which lasted until the Liang dynasty, when it was discovered that Qigong could be used for martial purposes (Dr. Yang, 2018). Martial Qigong was developed around principles of Buddhist and Daoist Qigong. Qigong is also referred to as “Dao Yin” referring to leading and guiding energy, along with “Nei Gong” referring to inner work.

 

QigongHuang Ti (The Yellow Emperor) made huge contributions to the health practices of Qigong. He is the creator of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, a text written around 300 B.C. that is still considered the bible of Chinese Medicine.

 

During 206 B.C. to 502 A.D. there was both medical Qigong focused on improving health, and a form of religious Qigong. Qigong during this time was influenced by India’s Buddhism and yoga meditation techniques. For hundreds of years, Qigong was taught only in Buddhist temples, and it was a long time before it became available to the general population. It was passed down among generations, but not taught to laymen. Thousands of different styles were developed in secret. A few examples of distinct styles are Tai Chi, Animal Frolics, Eight Pieces of Brocade, Swimming Dragon, Microcosmic Orbit, and Six Syllable Secret (Holden Qigong). For some physicians, Qigong was their primary form of Chinese Medicine. Then, herbs and acupuncture were used when Qigong was ineffective in restoring balance in the body.

 

Development of Tai Chi

 

The creation of Tai Chi was supposedly developed by a Daoist named Chang San-Feng sometime between 960-1279 A.D. during the Song Dynasty. In 1026 A.D., Dr. Wang Wei-Yi’s established theories and principles of Acupuncture. He made great contributions to the development of Qigong with a better understanding of how Qi circulates in the body.

 

Recent History and Spread of Qigong Worldwide


Around 1911 after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, Chinese Qigong practices were combined with the Qigong practices of countries such as India, Japan, and other countries Qigong practices. The first book that mentioned Qi was likely “The Book of Changes” which mentioned three natural energies. These energies include di (Earth), Tian (Heaven), and Ren (Man). People would study the relationship of the three in order to learn Qigong. Various Qigong styles are now being taught openly, and many formerly secret documents are being published (Dr. Yang, 2018). During the 1990’s Qigong received world-wide recognition, with international conferences in California and Canada. In 1997, it was estimated that there were over one-hundred-thousand qigong practitioners outside of China, with several thousand of those being in the United States and Canada (Holden Qigong). It has become one of the most popular healing exercises in the world along with yoga.

 

Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming. (2008, February 28). YMAA/A Brief History of Qigong. Retrieved from: https://ymaa.com/articles/history/history-qigong

 

HOLDEN QIGONG/History of Qigong. Retrieved from:

https://www.holdenqigong.com/history-of-qigong/

 

IQIM (The Institute of Qigong & Integrative Medicine)/Brief History of Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.iqim.org/about/history-of-qigong/

 

In 1985, the government approved formation of the China Qigong Science Association. Since then hundreds of controlled scientific studies of qigong have been carried out, all showing positive benefits of the practice (Holden Qigong).

 

There are many studies showing the effectiveness of Qigong for helping with various health issues. Here are just a few of them:

 

Mayo Clinic ~ New Research Shows Qigong Can Relieve Chronic Pain

 

Studies to support Qigong for: Hypertension, Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, and Stress An Evidence-based Review of Qi Gong by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration

 

Effects of Qigong on symptom management in cancer patients: A systematic review.

 

Managing stress and anxiety through qigong exercise in healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

 

Efficacy of Tai Chi and qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis.

 

Qigong Exercises for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

 

Qigong and Fibromyalgia circa 2017.

 

Qigong Exercise and Arthritis.

 

This study shows the effectiveness of Qigong for multiple health conditions. A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi

 

HOLDEN QIGONG/History of Qigong. Retrieved from:

https://www.holdenqigong.com/history-of-qigong/

Chronic Pain ResourcesThere are four levels of Qigong instructors. A level 1 instructor has just the initial training of at least 200 hours. At level 2 an instructor can understand technical form well and increase students inner Qi-awareness. With at least 350 hours of documented formal training, this would definitely be a suitable instructor. Level 3 is an Advanced Qigong Instructor, and they will have to ability to generate Qi and absorb it from the atmosphere. This requires 500 hours of formal training that is documented. The last level is the Senior Qigong Teacher with over 1000 hours of formal training. They must also have 10 years teaching teachers, and must go through an interview process to qualify for this designation. Before working with a Qigong teacher, find out what level of certification they possess. To read more about these certifications visit: Qigong Awareness or the NQA.

 

Here are a couple of directories you can use to find a Qigong practitioner:

 

Qigong Institute

NQA (National Qigong Association)

Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi

International Medical Qigong College

 

To find exercises you can learn on your own visit:

 

 Qigong Institute: Getting Started with Qigong    

 

Clinical Qigong for Healing

There is also separate training for becoming a Clinical Qigong Practitioner. The clinical practitioners can control and emit Qi to heal a person, and may provide recommended exercises to do, as well. There are a lot of requirements for being a Clinical Qigong Practitioner, and you can read about those on the NQA website. There are only two levels for clinical practitioners.

 

Qigong Awareness/Certification Programs. Retrieved from: https://qigongawareness.com/certification-programs/

 

NQA(National Qigong Association)/What is Qigong?/NQA Certification Program. Retrieved from:

https://www.nqa.org/what-is-qigong-         

Chronic Pain Resourcesou don’t have to be in the best physical condition, it is not requirement to be flexible, and exercises can even be modified to not require a person to stand. All you need is patience to learn them.

 

Many people find it to have some commonalities to yoga, but it is typically easier and doesn’t require you to complete exercises on the floor. No equipment is needed, and exercises can be done at home, at a gym, or even outside. 

 

To begin Qigong a person has to learn physical movements combined with specific breathing techniques. Once they learn the form, the next step is to find the subtle flow or fluctuation of energy within the postures, movements, breathing patterns, and transitions (University of Minnesota). This is referred to as moving meditation. Along with the moving meditation, there are postures that are held for a period of time to strengthen limbs and increase energy flow. This is called still meditation. The last form people learn is sitting meditation. It is all about focusing on the breath, body, and mind, and may also involve visualization.

 

Dr. Nagel, Denise. (2016, June 22). HUFFPOST/Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/health-benefits-of-tai-ch_b_7641712

University of Minnesota: Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing/Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/qigong

 

Great Grand Master Kellen Chia. (2011, October 23). TAI CHI SOCIETY/The Difference Between Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from: http://www.taichisociety.net/difference-between-tai-chi-qigong.html

 

NQA(National Qigong Association)/What is Qigong?/NQA Certification Program. Retrieved from:

https://www.nqa.org/what-is-qigong-     

University of Minnesota: Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing/Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/qigong

Dr. Nagel, Denise. (2016, June 22). HUFFPOST/Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/health-benefits-of-tai-ch_b_7641712

Frantzis, Bruce. (2018, February 9). Energy Arts/Qigong Benefits. Retrieved from:

https://www.energyarts.com/qigong-benefits/

mindvalley/Qigong Benefits That Bring Fulfillment To Your Life. Retrieved from:https://blog.mindvalley.com/qigong-benefits/

Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming. (2008, February 28). YMAA/A Brief History of Qigong. Retrieved from: https://ymaa.com/articles/history/history-qigong

IQIM (The Institute of Qigong & Integrative Medicine)/Brief History of Qigong. Retrieved from: https://www.iqim.org/about/history-of-qigong/

 

HOLDEN QIGONG/History of Qigong. Retrieved from:

https://www.holdenqigong.com/history-of-qigong/

 

QIGONG INSTITUTE/Introduction to the Practice of Qigong/FAQ. Retrieved from: https://www.qigonginstitute.org/category/4/getting-started

 

Qigong Awareness/Certification Programs. Retrieved from: https://qigongawareness.com/certification-programs/