What is Qi Gong?
Breathing, Movement & Meditation
Qi Gong (also spelled Chi Kung) is a powerful system of healing and energy from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy (Qi). Qi Gong practice leads to better health and vitality and a tranquil state of mind.
Qi Gong integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. Qi (pronounced chee) is usually translated to mean the vital life force that flows through all things in the universe. Gong (pronounced gung) means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together Qi Gong means cultivating energy. It is a system for health maintenance, healing and increasing your vitality.
When you are in a stressful state, your sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) is very active. Your breathing is more shallow and rapid, your heartbeat is quicker, your digestion and elimination are not as effective and your muscles are tense.
When your practice Qi Gong Meditation you are activating your parasympathetic nervous system or your relaxation response.
- Your breathing is deeper, full and slow.
- Your heartbeat is slower and more regular.
- Your digestion and elimination is more complete.
- Your smooth muscles relax.
Qi Gong breathing together with a relaxed mind is an easy way to cultivate health and longevity.
Meditation is not something you try to do. It is a process you allow to happen.
Qi Gong Meditation breathing massages your internal organs, achieves deep relaxation, detoxifies your body and strengthens your immune system.
The imagery used in Qi Gong has massive benefits. Physiologically these images lead to the slowing of brainwaves to alpha and theta, very deep states of consciousness.
When your mind focuses on a particular part of the body, the blood flow to that part increases and cells receive more oxygen and other nutrients in abundance. Qi Gong Meditation excels at putting loving energy into your internal organs while increasing positive energy flow to your:
- Kidneys…our source of energy and life.
In Qi Gong Meditation we learn to put loving energy into our organs. This raises the energy level of your internal organs much higher.
Experimental evidence suggests the following healing effects of Qi Gong exercises and meditations:
- significant pain reduction from Fibromyalgia and arthritis
- decreases stress response, Type A, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, depression.
- improves memory and interpersonal sensitivity
- better targeting of antigens
- significant anti-cancer effect
improves posture, balance, strength, stamina, flexibility
- improves blood pressure, vital capacity
- improves cholesterol and hormone levels
- promote kidney function
- improves mental acuity
- improves vision and hearing
- promote skin elasticity
- improves bone density
- enhances immune function and digestion
- promote balance, flexibility, strength and libido
- destroys free radicals (major cause of tissue degeneration) by stimulating activity of super oxide dismutase
- lower resting heart rate
- normalized EKG, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels
- slower respiratory rate
- improves gaseous exchange
- Qigong versus exercise therapy for chronic low back pain in adults – a randomized controlled non-inferiority trial.
- Effect of qigong training on fatigue in haemodialysis patients: A non-randomized controlled trial.
- Effects of single and weekly seated Qigong on blood pressure and quality of life in long-term care.
- Managing stress and anxiety through qigong exercise in healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
- The effect of qigong on depressive and anxiety symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
- The benefits of medical qigong in patients with cancer: a descriptive pilot study.
- Health benefits of qigong or tai chi for cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analyses.
- Levels of fatigue and distress in senior prostate cancer survivors enrolled in a 12-week randomized controlled trial of Qigong.
- A systematic review and meta-analysis of qigong for the fibromyalgia syndrome.
- Effects of qigong exercise on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-like illness: a randomized controlled trial.
- The sustaining effects of Tai chi Qigong on physiological health for COPD patients: a randomized controlled trial.
Some believe that as a complement to Western medicine, qigong can help the body heal itself, retarding or even reversing the effects of certain diseases linked to aging. Here are a few examples of findings from small studies showing qigong benefits:
High blood pressure
In a study lasting 20 years, patients with hypertension — whether in the control or qigong group — were given drugs to control blood pressure. At first, participants in both groups had a drop in blood pressure. But blood pressure in the qigong group stabilized over time. They even were able to lower their use of blood pressure drugs. By contrast, the control group had an increase in blood pressure, requiring greater use of drugs.
Just 30 minutes of daily qigong training for one month might produce a tangible impact on the body’s immune system. In one study, blood samples taken the day before training started and after it was completed showed a statistically significant difference in white blood cell counts.
In one study looking atmortality, among patients who’d suffered a stroke, 86 in the qigong group survived compared with 68 in the control group. That was after a period of 30 years. Compared to the control group, patients practicing qigong had a 50% reduction in death from any cause, death from stroke, and sickness related to stroke. However, it’s not clear if the qigong participants were already healthier, making them more likely to live longer.
One small pilot study showed fewer symptoms and improvement in function among patients with fibromyalgia who were practicing qigong. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can cause widespread pain and fatigue. Larger trials are needed to confirm the results.
Alcohol and smoking are prohibited during activities.
There are several precautions you need to consider before participating in Qi Gong:
Although Qi Gong is generally safe, consult with your medical practitioner before starting. This is particularly important if you have any problems with your joints, spine or heart, if you are pregnant, if you have any fractures, or if you have severe osteoporosis.
There are no specific contraindications with Qi Gong. As with all exercise; care must be taken to work within the specific abilities. If you are experiencing too much dizziness or discomfort with the activity, please inform your Qi Gong practitioner.