More than exercise qigong involves lifestyle, diet, emotional wellbeing and spiritual practice. It can help with depression, lower blood pressure and relieve chronic pain

Qigong has been practiced in China since around 500BC. Rock faces found in China and Tibet show ancient drawings of qigong-like exercises. Today, qigong is still a major component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is believed to clear the body meridians of obstructions to health and to restore the body's own natural healing capabilities. Taoist and Buddist philosophies incorporate qigong into many of their mind and body healing routines.

The Asian Mind-Body-Spirit Healers

Qi means life energy and gong means practice. Both qigong and tai chi are methods of balancing the flow of qi via breath, gentle movements and meditation. With its origins in ancient Chinese shamanic beliefs and magical revelations, qigong is often thought of as mysterious to us Westerners. In the past Chinese shamans used qigong exercises and meditations to communicate with the higher powers and boost their own healing powers. Folk stories tell of qigong masters lighting fires by simply projecting their energy.

Qi Flow

One popular version of qigong in the West is Tai Chi which is a form of slow, dance-like movements designed to invigorate the body and mind. There are over one thousand exercises from simple slow movements to more complicated techniques where practitioners use qi flow and healing from a distance. Some forms of qigong target specific body areas such as health imbalances, stress relief and health assessments.

Qigong provides the structure for most modern martial arts forms. Qigong can be seen in the boxing arenas of Asia and groups doing their morning exercises throughout parks in China. Its popularity is growing in the West due to the stress relieving benefits for mind, body and spirit.

Health Benefits of Practising Qigong Forms of Exercise

Hundreds of Asian studies confirm that Qigong is excellent for the mind body connections with remarkable healing powers. There are even reports of people being cured from cancer.

Benefits include:

  • Reducing high blood pressure - studies have shown those taking blood-pressure lowering drugs and practicing qigong have more balanced blood pressure than those just taking medication.
  • Accelerating the elimination of toxins and waste in a natural detoxification process.
  • Increasing circulation - qigong has proved helpful for those with angina, migraines and cold hands or feet.
  • Balancing brain chemistry and reducing anxiety - proven to aid with obsessive compulsive disorders and depression.
  • Improving posture, flexibility, balance and strength - this can reduce and prevent falling injuries in the elderly.
  • Blocking the damaging effects of free radicals - qigong has antioxidant effects, stimulates SOD (Super Oxide Dismutase) production and enhances the body's oxygen and nutrient uptake.
  • Fighting cancer by boosting the immune system
  • Relieving chronic pain caused by injuries, surgery, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Qigong is more than just exercise. It involves lifestyle, diet, emotional wellbeing and spiritual practice.
The copyright of the article Health Benefits of Qigong and T'ai Chi in Tai Chi is owned by Fiona Wilkinson.