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WHAT IS QIGONG? Click
to read the longer article What
(also spelled Ch'i Kung) is a powerful system of healing and energy
medicine from China. It is the art and science of using breathing
techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen,
and circulate the life energy (qi). Qigong practice leads to better
health and vitality and a tranquil state of mind.
In the past qigong was called nei gong (inner work) or dao yin (guiding energy). Today, the original ancient word for qigong is being revived: yang sheng. Yang sheng means "nurturing" (yang) "life" (sheng). This beautiful term includes not only healing exercises and meditations but also any practices that contribute to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. Nor is yang sheng restricted to personal well-being. To nurture life is to live in a way that cares for the life around us, all of nature.
How do I say it?
Qi pronounce chee
Gong pronounce gung, as in lung
How old is Qigong?
The documented history of qigong goes back approximately 2,500 years.
However Chinese archaeologists and historians have found references
to qigong-like techniques at least five thousand years old.
What about Taiji Quan (Tai Chi)?
Taiji Quan is a style of qigong. It is graceful, relaxed, slow,
and fluid, like a slow- motion dance. Unlike some qigong methods
that exercise specific systems or parts of the body-- nervous system,
endocrine system, heart, kidneys-- Taiji Quan is a whole body, whole
mind exercise. It treats health systemically, restoring the body
to its original "program", uncorrupted by stress, pollution,
and disease. The Qigong Research & Practice Center offers training
in all aspects and levels of Taiji Quan.
Why study Qigong?
Qigong has four major areas of application:
Lesser Known Categories
- Healing Qigong (Yi Gong). Healing Qigong (sometimes
translated "Medical Qigong") is the preventive and self-healing
aspect of Chinese medicine. We are all exposed to stress. Qigong
teaches us how to control our reactions to stress so that life
events do not cause such symptoms as high blood pressure, frustration,
or anxiety. Healthy people practice qigong to become super-healthy.
Healers use qigong to prevent "healer burn-out" and
to maintain a positive presence.
- External Qi Healing (Wai Qi Zhi Liao). Qigong includes
a sophisticated system of health assessment and non-contact treatment
called External Qi Healing (EQH). The healer learns to tap into
a well of healing energy in nature and "funnel" it through
his or her body. Unlike some purely intuitive systems, EQH includes
exercises that increase sensitivity to energy fields and efficacy
of treatment. The more you practice External Qi Healing exercises
and meditations, the more effective your healing treatment. External
Qi Healing techniques may be used as a stand alone form of wellness
treatment or may be combined with massage, acupuncture, Therapeutic
Touch, osteopathy, or any other form of body-work. Because treatment
is generally performed at a distance from the body, EQH does not
violate psychotherapists' professional ethics (which do not allow
touching the patient) and is thus an ideal adjunct to body-centered
- Sports Qigong (Wu Gong). In sports and martial arts,
qigong is the key to strength, stamina, coordination, speed, flexibility,
balance, and resistance to injury. Qigong exercises can improve
performance in any sport, improving the golf drive, tackling ability
in football, accuracy in tennis, and stamina in swimming.
- Spiritual Qigong (Fo Gong, Tao Gong). As a spiritual
discipline, qigong leads to self-awareness, tranquillity, and
harmony with nature. The spiritual aspect of qigong evolved from
Taoism and Buddhism.
Art Qigong. In the arts, qigong leads to aesthetic sensitivity.
Nature uses our eyes to see herself. The qigong practitioner feels
such oneness with nature that he or she feels as though the beautiful
pine tree is expressing itself through the brush or poem. Students
of theater, mime, and other expressive arts practice qigong to increase
confidence, physical and emotional control, and expressive ability.
Business Qigong. In the business world, qigong can lead
to greater integrity, defined by brilliant Law Professor Julian
Gresser as, "...a sense of connectedness, coherence, wholeness,
and vitality. Integrity is the capacity of every living thing to
hold its own in the face of entropy, disorder, and uncertainty,
its link to the living world, its ability to carry on its life,
however humble." (Piloting Through Choas, p. 8) Qigong practitioners
are more resistant to stress; make better decisions; encourage credibility,
confidence and team spirit; and are far more efficient. Most importantly,
qigong is the ideal therapy for "hurry sickness"-- the
habitual sense of time urgency-- a major risk factor for heart disease
and accelerated aging.
Who can benefit?
Because qigong includes both dynamic and gentle techniques that
can be practiced from standing, seated, or supine postures, it is
suitable for young and old. Practices can be tailored to individual
needs making it an ideal aid to recovery from illness or injury.
Qigong is a form of complementary medicine. It works well with other
forms of therapy and should never be used as a substitute for necessary
treatment by a physician.
Is Qigong scientific?
Both China and the U.S. have hosted conferences for academic exchange
of qigong research. Qigong has been shown to improve posture and
respiration, induce the relaxation response, cause favorable changes
in blood chemistry, and improve self-awareness and concentration.
Research suggests that Qigong may be beneficial for Asthma, Arthritis,
Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Headaches,
Pain, and a wide variety of common ailments. External Qi Healing
is effective for the same range of illnesses as acupuncture.
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