by Dr. Amy Wiesner
Many people have heard of qi gong, though they probably aren’t sure what exactly it is. For thousands of years, it’s been used in China to promote both mental and physical well-being.
The definition of qi gong is two-fold. “Qi” refers to our vital force or life energy; “gong” means to cultivate. Therefore, qi gong is a discipline which cultivates our qi. This is a form of energy medicine, like acupuncture, as qi isn’t quantifiable. Nevertheless, in China, being able to direct and manipulate qi by using Traditional Chinese Medicine has been successful form of medicine for thousands of years. Qi gong uses gentle movements with meditation and breathing control to balance the body.
One might ask what the difference between tai chi and qi gong is. Tai chi is a more martial form of cultivating qi--it is more physical. Qi gong is about gentle movements.
There have been many studies over many years regarding the health benefits of qi gong. These studies have shown that a regular qi gong practice can decrease hypertension, strengthen the heart, decrease stroke occurrence, increase bone density, positively affect cancer and cancer patients and increase brain function and brain regulation.
There are many forms of qi gong, but to get started on some movements, go here. Qi gong is a beautiful and soothing practice that has lasting benefits for both the mind and body.
Even better, you can do it anywhere. No need to hop in the car and drive to the gym spewing fumes into the air. Qi gong goes wherever you go.
Image courtesy of cancer.ucsf.edu.