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Qigong

Qigong (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 also called nei gong (inner work) and dao yin (guiding energy).

Qigong, or "exercising the Qi" -- the vital life force in one's body -- is considered to be a part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in preventive and therapeutic health care.

Qigong is commonly considered as mysterious and profound. Deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture -- especially in the unique concepts of the Yin and Yang, five elements of nature and Jingluo (main and collateral channels) in the human body -- it is inseparable from ancient Chinese philosophy, medicine and religion.

According to Chinese philosophy, everything, including the universe, is interrelated and in a state of constant flux where human organisms are microcosms of the universe. Everything is inter-related and interacts with the five basic elements -- wood, fire, earth, gold (or metal) and water, constantly interacting among the opposing and unifying forces - the Yin and Yang. Health is achieved when equilibrium is maintained; sickness appears when the balance is broken. This is the basic law governs all humans and nature.

It is said that the Qi flows through all of the Yin and Yang organs. A deficiency of Qi in any organ means the organ is out of balance. The inter-relatedness of all organs ensures that the Qi flows properly throughout the body. One has to reach a peaceful state of mind and be in harmony with his or her surroundings to maintain good health.

Qigong is a health-oriented art involving the body and mind that helps prevent disease and cures illnesses, making life more pleasant. Qigong smoothes the process of delivering oxygen to cells, reduces stress and improves bowel functions. Good for treating mental disabilities and stress, the Qi exercises bring one to a state of meditation where distress and anxiety are driven away and positive thinking with great confidence is affirmed. In this state, concentration can also be easily achieved. Through the exercises one gains control of his or her body and develops good feelings about life. This, in turn, stimulates the circulation of blood and the Qi .

To achieve this the practitioner must adjust his mind, posture and breathing and act on the whole organism. On one hand, this actively self-regulates the functional activities of the organism and maintains a dynamic equilibrium. On the other hand, it enables the body to produce an "energy-storing" reaction, reduce energy consumption and increase energy accumulation, which helps regulate the Yin and Yang and smooth the channels and collaterals to emit the external Qi .

The easy and convenient exercises add to the popularity of Qigong, which can be performed virtually anywhere and at any time, requiring little more than an open mind. The exercises themselves are generally slow and gentle, and are thus suitable for people of varying ages and health conditions. The elderly and even people suffering from ailments can benefit from Qigong .

Chinese doctors have applied Qigong in hospitals and clinics to treat individuals suffering from a variety of ailments, including arthritis, asthma, bowel problems, constipation, diabetes, gastritis, headaches, heart disease, hypertension, lower back pain, sleeplessness, stress, obesity, neurasthenia and even cancer. The exercises can help treat aphasia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease and post-stroke syndrome. They are also especially useful in alleviating chronic pain and chronic disorders of the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Today, millions of Chinese are practicing Qigong -- some for treatment and most for exercise. Qigong allows people to experience higher levels of energy and stamina and is believed to slow down the aging process. While Qigong may not be effective in treating acute illnesses or medical emergencies, it is ideal for preventing some diseases and treating certain chronic conditions or disabilities.

As an important concept in Chinese philosophy, Qi is defined as the motive force for human life and the basic substance of the universe. According to traditional Chinese medical theory, Qi refers not only to the air that people breathe in and out, but also to all the physiological functions of the body's organs and tissues.

Generally, the practice can be classified into two main types: quiescent Qigong and dynamic Qigong. The former requires practitioners to concentrate their minds to have the Qi moving along the Jingluo or the channels and collaterals; the latter involves body movements, with which a calmness of the mind can be reached. Five styles of Qigong have developed through the ages:

1)The Daoyin (guiding and inducing) Style

As one of the oldest styles, it is based on arm and leg movements combined with meditation and breathing. Daoyin of the physical body requires various postures such as sitting, standing, walking, lying and massaging. Mental Daoyin has to concentrate thoughts on one object so as to put the cerebral cortex in a special inhibiting state. Taiji is really a good example of Daoyin because of its sequence of supple, light and harmonious movements.

2)The Tuna (exhaling and inhaling) Style
This is a synthesis of different breathing techniques. The basic principle of this style is that one should try to replace the stale and stagnated air with fresh air, thus maintaining the normal functioning of the internal organs to keep fit.

3)The Quietism Style
This style requires practitioners to keep the body still, meditating to produce beneficial Qi. In so doing, the mind can be brought into a state of peace.

4)The Cunxiang Style
According to this style, practitioners should make good use of their imagination. They should meditate with eyes closed, seeking inner harmony and remaining aware of, and in touch with, the outer world (reality). This style is almost within the realm of psychology.

5)The Neidan Style
As an active form of Qigong, this style postulates that through exercise, Qi can circulate throughout the body via the collateral channels, ensuring health and longevity.

Varied as they are, these five styles have one principle in common, that is, regulating the breathing, the mind and the physical body by way of making full use of Qi and the combination of Qi and physical body.

Traditional Chinese medical theory holds that Qigong, as a folk sport or an art, has many practical functions. For example, by practicing Qigong, people can keep fit in both mind and body and adjust the functions of the nervous, respiratory, digestive, blood circulation and endocrine systems. Oigong can greatly improve one's strength. There are many stories about Qigong masters with extraordinary strength. One of such stories has it that the late Shaolin monk Hai Deng was well known for his ability to use his index finger like a sharp knife, at one time demonstrating this by sticking his finger through a thick sack of grain. More interestingly, practicing Qigong also results in a personality change. Typically, practitioners become less prone to anger and more easy- going. In short, Qigong is especially good as a form of health-care for the people, as a way to lose weight, and as a method for improving one's general appearance.

Although a sophisticated system, Qigong is becoming part of world culture. Today, it can be seen in many countries like Japan, Korea, Australia and the United States. Its value is being recognized by more and more people. It is possible that Qigong, one of China's national treasures, with its unique characteristics and marvelous functions, will play an important role in improving people's health and promoting world culture

The Magic of Qigong Therapy

Qigong, or "exercising the Qi" -- the vital life force in one's body -- is considered to be a part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in preventive and therapeutic health care.

Qigong is commonly considered as mysterious and profound. Deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture -- especially in the unique concepts of the Yin and Yang, five elements of nature and Jingluo (main and collateral channels) in the human body -- it is inseparable from ancient Chinese philosophy, medicine and religion.

According to Chinese philosophy, everything, including the universe, is interrelated and in a state of constant flux where human organisms are microcosms of the universe. Everything is inter-related and interacts with the five basic elements -- wood, fire, earth, gold (or metal) and water, constantly interacting among the opposing and unifying forces - the Yin and Yang. Health is achieved when equilibrium is maintained; sickness appears when the balance is broken. This is the basic law governs all humans and nature.

It is said that the Qi flows through all of the Yin and Yang organs. A deficiency of Qi in any organ means the organ is out of balance. The inter-relatedness of all organs ensures that the Qi flows properly throughout the body. One has to reach a peaceful state of mind and be in harmony with his or her surroundings to maintain good health.

Qigong is a health-oriented art involving the body and mind that helps prevent disease and cures illnesses, making life more pleasant. Qigong smoothes the process of delivering oxygen to cells, reduces stress and improves bowel functions. Good for treating mental disabilities and stress, the Qi exercises bring one to a state of meditation where distress and anxiety are driven away and positive thinking with great confidence is affirmed. In this state, concentration can also be easily achieved. Through the exercises one gains control of his or her body and develops good feelings about life. This, in turn, stimulates the circulation of blood and the Qi .

To achieve this the practitioner must adjust his mind, posture and breathing and act on the whole organism. On one hand, this actively self-regulates the functional activities of the organism and maintains a dynamic equilibrium. On the other hand, it enables the body to produce an "energy-storing" reaction, reduce energy consumption and increase energy accumulation, which helps regulate the Yin and Yang and smooth the channels and collaterals to emit the external Qi .

The easy and convenient exercises add to the popularity of Qigong, which can be performed virtually anywhere and at any time, requiring little more than an open mind. The exercises themselves are generally slow and gentle, and are thus suitable for people of varying ages and health conditions. The elderly and even people suffering from ailments can benefit from Qigong .

Chinese doctors have applied Qigong in hospitals and clinics to treat individuals suffering from a variety of ailments, including arthritis, asthma, bowel problems, constipation, diabetes, gastritis, headaches, heart disease, hypertension, lower back pain, sleeplessness, stress, obesity, neurasthenia and even cancer. The exercises can help treat aphasia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease and post-stroke syndrome. They are also especially useful in alleviating chronic pain and chronic disorders of the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Today, millions of Chinese are practicing Qigong -- some for treatment and most for exercise. Qigong allows people to experience higher levels of energy and stamina and is believed to slow down the aging process. While Qigong may not be effective in treating acute illnesses or medical emergencies, it is ideal for preventing some diseases and treating certain chronic conditions or disabilities.