The Rejuvenating Power of Qi Gong
The way I found the Rejuvenating Power of Qi Gong takes me back in the 1980s, my son married a Taiwanese woman whose brother-in-law, Richard, taught tai chi and qigong at the United Nations. My wife was an adjunct professor of modern dance at a local college. She had contracted chronic fatigue syndrome, a complex disorder of the central nervous system that affects the entire body, causing constant, overwhelming tiredness.
Her doctors said it was nearly impossible to cure, and that she would probably not be able to dance again. When Richard heard about this, he offered to help. He told my wife that in Taiwan, medical practitioners often prescribed something called qigong exercises to help cure a variety of maladies. She knew nothing about qigong but was eager to try anything that could possibly help her.
Richard and my wife began to practice qigong three times a week. Her symptoms quickly began to disappear. After a few months, she was able to resume teaching on a part time basis. And after a year, she was back to full time work. She was convinced that practicing qigong caused her recovery.
What is Qi Gong?
The written history of Chinese qigong goes back approximately 2,500 years, but scholars have found references to such techniques at least 5,000 years old. Other Asian cultures have a history of similar meditative exercises.
In Mandarin Chinese, qigong means “breath work/technique.” The ancient Chinese believed that the human body contains a huge network of pathways through which vital energy, called qi, circulates and animates every living being.
Qi Gong employs meditation, subtle movements, visualization, and breathing techniques. It can harmonize and strengthen the functioning of all of the body’s internal organs and systems. In addition to a variety of rejuvenating effects, qigong also induces calm mental and emotional states that are beneficial to our longevity.
Qi Gong is the forerunner of tai chi, a form of moving meditation. Acupuncture uses the circulation of qi to treat ailments. Martial arts sch as Kung Fu teach how to focus one’s qi and direct it outwards. Meditative qigong is used to cultivate the circulation of qi throughout the practitioner’s energy system.
How The Rejuvenating Power of Qi Gong Improves Your Health
In ancient China, qigong was the traditional treatment for most ailments. Today, there is more than anecdotal evidence that qigong has a positive impact on our health. In the Journal of the National Qi Gong Association, Dr. CJ Rhoads of Kutztown University reported that Tai Chi exercises, (a form of qigong) had a beneficial effect on cognitive decline by evoking “significant changes in the brain’s white matter network in older women.”
Qi Gong has the potential to play a role in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of respiratory infections, such as COVID-19. Potential effects of practicing qigong include stress reduction, emotion regulation, strengthening of respiratory muscles, reduction of inflammation, and enhanced immune function.
American Journal of Geriatric Psychiartry – Article May 2020
Qi Gong has been successfully used for the treatment of hypertension and for the management of anxiety associated with pain. It has also been suggested but not proven as a possible treatment for kidney disease.
How to Practice Qi Gong
I have been practicing both Chinese- and Korean-style qigong for many years and discovered that qi is an energy that you can feel. I was trained as a physicist and I understand energy and the various forms it takes. Although I know nothing about the physics of qi, when I do the exercises, I become aware of its presence throughout my body. It feels like a rubbery elastic medium which resists compression. Friends who also practice qigong report the same experience.
I have found that even a few minutes of qigong practice upon awakening and/or before going to sleep helps me in many ways: it calms me down, strengthens my body, and focuses my attention. And if I’ve had too much wine with dinner, five minutes of qigong clears my mind and refreshes me.
There are numerous qigong videos available on the Web featuring a variety of movements. Here is just one basic movement you can try without any formal training:
- Stand relaxed, with your arms at your sides.
- Take a few deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Slowly raise your arms away from your body with palms down.
- When your arms are parallel to the floor rotate them so that your palms are now up and continue the movement until they meet over your head.
- With your palms touching, slowly lower your hands in front of your head and face. Continue to lower them until your waist, and then let them hang at the sides of your body.
The entire movement should take 25 to 30 seconds. Repeat it at least five times. Be aware of any unusual sensations in your palms, especially when raising your arms and at the end of the exercise.
When you’re finished, close your eyes and move your palms slowly together then apart at waist height without them touching. Breathe deeply and focus your mind on the movement.