Known as the mother of Chinese medicine, Qigong (pronounced chee-gong or chee-kung) is an ancient mind-body discipline that integrates postures, breathing, and focused intention. Qi Gong is the ancient Chinese art of relaxing, rejuvenating, and healing the body and mind. It consists of exercises that boost the flow of qi (pronounced chee), the universal life force (energy) within the body.
After spending two days a week for ten years with a well respected colleague, Dr. Huimin Wang, my acupuncturist and my friend for life, I began to truly understand what I once thought to be weird, “out there” medicine. The proof for me was in the results I experienced after his treatments. I’ve learned so much from the good doctor and often call him for patient/client consults when either massage or western medicine do not provide a total remedy for those who seek our help.
Dr. Wang has taught me that qi flows through the body along channels called meridians. As long as this flow is smooth, the body remains healthy. But any blockage or imbalance of qi can quickly result in illness.
It is unknown how qi gong actually works, but many suspect that the mechanism is hormonal in nature. I’ve talked with three clients who practice qi gong and they have related to me that after several years of practice, they seldom, if ever, get a cold.
Dr. Simon Wang, MD, PhD and co-author of QiGong for Health & Longevity states that qigong has also been shown to be effective in many clinical studies.
In a controlled study at the Shanghai Hypertension Research Institute, subjects showed improved cerebral blood flow after 12 months of qi gong training. Headaches, high blood pressure and several other ailments are associated with reduced blood flow in the brain. The same study showed reduced levels of blood lactate, suggesting a beneficial reduction in metabolic rate.
Studies show that QiGong experiences a marked rise in alpha brain waves, and the waves study conducted at the Traditional Medical College in Bejing showed the clear association with a calm, alert state of mind.
How to Practice QiGong
There are many types of qigong and all involve the flow of qi via meditation, breathing exercises and self-massage. You can practice while standing, sitting or lying down and, of course, anywhere you can find peace and quiet.
Outdoors is the optimal place to practice because the flow of qi is stimulated by fresh air and close proximity to plants.
All relaxation techniques are more beneficial when performed everyday on a life-long basis. Strive to devote 20 minutes each morning to learning qigong, and within two months you should feel calmer and more refreshed.
Relaxing Your Mind
Lie in bed or sit cross-legged on the bed or floor. Relax. Concentrate on breathing naturally for one to two minutes. Next, concentrate on “guiding” qi to an area that you visualize deep within your brain, just behind your forehead. Think of this area as a glowing red or yellow light or think of it as a green meadow or ocean waves, for example. After concentrating on your image for about five minutes, a sense of calm should wash over you.
Rubbing Your Hands
Shift your focus from your head to your palms. Gently rub your palms together for a minute or two. Then use one palm to rub the back of the other hand for a minute or two. Reverse hands and repeat, breathing naturally throughout the exercise.
Bathing Your Face
Close your eyes. Gently press the tip of your tongue against the back of your upper front teeth. Cover your face with your palms, fingers pointing upward. Using both hands, rub your face from forehead to chin. Then rub your face again from chin to forehead. Repeat 20 times until your hands and face feel warm.
Rubbing Dan Tian
The Dan Tian point, located in your lower abdomen, is one of the most important of all qi cavities.
Close your eyes. Using your right palm, rub your abdomen just below the navel, in a tight, circular pattern. Repeat 20 times.
Rubbing Yong Quan
Yong Quan is a key cavity in the center of the sole of each foot.
Place the fingers of your left hand against the bottom of your right foot, at the point where the arch meets the ball of the foot. Rub rapidly in a circular motion 20 times, concentrating on the Yong Quan point. Switch to your right hand and left foot and repeat.
Hopefully, with practice, you will find these simple techniques to be a helpful stepping stone to living a happy, peaceful, healthy life.
LMT, Facial Specialist
Words of Wisdom:
“Worry is helpful only when it spurs us to take action and solve a problem.”