Qigong pronounced "Chi Goung"; is an ancient Chinese energy healing art. Qi (or chi) means air, breath of life, life force, or vital energy. Gong means work, self-discipline, achievement, or mastery. This art combines physical exercises, breathing exercises, and meditation, which is mind concentration and mind relaxation. Qigong is a discipline whose practice allows us to gain control over the life force that courses throughout our bodies. There are more than 3,000 varieties of qigong, and five major qigong traditions: the Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, martial arts, and medical. Qigong is thus a soft form of a related set of disciplines that includes Taiji (Tai Chi Quan) and the hard form of Kung Fu as martial arts. Here introduced mainly is Medical Qigong.
Medical Qigong is "the cultivation and deliberate control of a higher form of vital energy" (Dong & Esser 1990:xi).
Medical Qigong is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture and Tuina (Chinese massage). They are all included in the basic curriculums at the Chinese medical schools and universities in China. The difference is Qigong practice is also very popular for self-healing and health maintenance.
Medical qigong involves Physical exercises, breathing exercises, combined with meditation. Qigong physical exercises are always combined with breathing exercises and meditation, while breathing exercises can be combined with meditation in the still states and without movements. From this way, Qigong practice is mainly divided into two major types:
Dynamic Qigong including Tai Chi consists of numerous different types of flexible and relaxing exercises.
Static Qigong, which has characteristics of meditation and breathing exercises and without movements.
The breathing exercises help the state of meditation, and vice versa. One is aware of what is going on, but not too aware, fully relaxed but not in a trance. In a qigong state, cares and troubles wash away. Replacing them are positive images, increased confidence, and enhanced spirit. Eventually, there will be no distractions, depressing thoughts or worries. Through meditation one gains feelings of happiness. This in turn stimulates circulation of blood and Qi, or life force. If one is ill, over time the body's functions are thus able to return to normal. If one is not ill, the existing sense of wellness and well-being increases. People of all ages can learn to practice Qigong, and so develop and maintain internal vigor and good health.
Qigong therapy is very popular in Chinese hospitals. Qigong doctors are special trained Chinese medical doctors, who generally have practiced Qigong for many years. They treat patients by projecting their own energy to heal patients.
Medical Qigong is not only for treating and curing an existing illness but also preventing the onset of disease. A lot of people like to practice Qigong because they feel better and perform better after practice. They experience higher levels of energy and stamina. Qigong is good for longevity by slowing down the ageing process. Qigong is least effective against acute illness or medical emergencies. It is more effective for treating chronic conditions or disabilities. It is even better for preventing disease.
The Chinese have found qigong an effective way to treat substance abuse and obesity. This gentle art improves delivery of oxygen to the body's cells, reduces stress, and improves bowel functioning. Chinese doctors have applied qigong in hospitals and clinics to treat individuals suffering from a variety of ailments. These include allergies, arthritis, asthma, bowel problems, constipation, diabetes, gastritis, gout, headaches, heart disease, and hypertension. Qigong is also very effective for treating dysmenorrhea, PMS, irregular menstruation, menopause, and many other gynecological conditions. The list goes on: chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lower back, and many different kinds of pain, meniere's disease, myopia, obesity, neurasthenia, paralysis induced by external injury, retinopathy (deterioration of the back of the eye), rheumatism, sciatic neuralgia, sleeplessness, stress, ulcers, and peripheral vascular disease. Qigong can successfully treat cancer and reduce or eliminate side effects from radiation and chemotherapy. It is helpful in treating aphasia (loss or impairment of ability to speak), cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and post-stroke syndrome. It is especially useful in treating any kind of chronic pain, and chronic disorders of the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
Qigong can help one fight virtually any disease. Through qigong, patients can cure many of the 50% of all diseases that Western doctors dismiss as untreatably 'psychosomatic.' If you try qigong to treat an existing illness, do so if possible under the guidance of a licensed Chinese medical doctor. Don't try it completely on your own. Beginners need professional supervision. Here the doctor or qigong practitioner acts as an advisor and teacher, rather than a Western-style repair technician. The patient must be an active partner in the health care process.
In addition to providing cures, qigong helps people prevent the onset of diseases. This can save money and prevent suffering. Qigong increases strength, improves resistance to infectious diseases, premature senility, and helps assure a long life. Qigong practice can greatly reduce the danger of stroke. It can improve blood sugar levels for diabetics. Because it normalizes the level of sex hormones, it can correct sexual impotence and frigidity. Its stress relieving effects improve one's sex life -- both quantity and quality. Practice of qigong can speed up recovery from surgery, and sports related injuries by up to 50% (McGee w/Chow 1994:17-9).
Qigong offers individuals a way to achieve a relaxed, harmonious state of dynamic equilibrium. It typically improves your overall health status, allowing you to maintain a life free from pain, and full of vigor and grace. Qigong is a proper therapeutic practice with which to address virtually any chronic health problem. It is good and more effective if you practice Qigong and the various forms of Chinese medical massage (Tuina) together.
What are benefits of Qigong?
Boosting Qi (Vital energy)
Help sleep and relieving anxiety.
Improving body immunity and resistance.
Promoting Qi and blood circulation.
Promoting and regulating digestion.
Beauty facial complexion and lose weight.
Improving Sexual life.
Prevent disease and prolong life.
Besides,these include allergies, arthritis, asthma, bowel problems, constipation, diabetes, gastritis, gout, headaches, heart disease, and hypertension.
Is there any precautions for Qigong practice?
The place to practice Qigong should be quiet and peaceful, with proper light, fresh air, attractive scenery, and without noises or irritating odors. Outdoor-practice should be avoided during windy or rainy weather.
Do not too hungry or too full when practicing Qigong. Use a restroom before practice. The clothes should be loose fitingt. The shoes should be comfortable exercise shoes.
Avoid sexual intercourse for at least one hour before and after a qigong session.
Because qigong thins blood and increases circulation, women should not practice during menstruation unless guided by a Chinese medical doctor who is also a Qigong master for treating certain kinds of menstrual problems. If you have internal bleeding or bleeding after tooth extraction or trauma, avoid qigong exercises until the condition disappears. Consult your Qigong doctor if you feel dizzy after Qigong practice. Qigong is not for severely disturbed mental patients, pregnant women or people suffering from acute infectious diseases.
People often want to try Qigong as quickly as possible to emit external Qi like a qigong master through the eyes, fingertips or palms. This can be dangerous. One should not attempt it, except after long years of practice, and only then under close supervision of a qigong master or Chinese medical doctor. Do not be in any hurry to emit your Qi. It can dangerously deplete your own vitality. There are limits to what you can learn about qigong from reading. One really should begin to practice this art by enrolling in a course or joining an organized group.
Are there any special Qigong exercises for special health conditions?
Hypertension (high blood pressure), hypotension (lower blood pressure), insomnia, impotence, heavy menstruation, for example, have specific preferred Qigong exercises. There are many Qigong forms for different health conditions, even special Qigong methods that can be practiced by persons with specific disabilities. It is a good idea to see a Chinese medical doctor, making sure he or she is a Qigong doctor, to have a physical evaluation before learning any kind Qigong forms. Improper Qigong forms and improper practice may cause problems.