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Qigong

What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What To Expect
What Is It Used For?
Side Effects/Cautions
Recommended Books
Recommended CDs


What Is It?
Qigong (pronounced “chee-gung”) is an ancient Chinese discipline that incorporates movement, breathing, meditation and visualisation to strengthen the flow of qi, the vital energy central to wellbeing in traditional Chinese medicine. The exercises practised within this discipline help to improve flexibility, balance and overall wellbeing, and can relieve a wide variety of physical, mental and emotional ailments.

There are two types of Qigong: internal qigong is a do-it-yourself practice which has become popular in the West. People learn Qigong exercises at classes or from books or videos, and can practise at home, modifying the exercises to suit their physical abilities. External qigong (practised mainly in China) is a type of psychic therapy which involves a qigong master transferring qi to another person to promote healing.

How Does It Work?
Qigong, like other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is based on the idea that a vital energy, qi, flows through the body along 14 invisible channels called meridians. These meridians link together different parts of the body, and illness is thought to be caused by blockages in the flow of qi, or imbalances in certain parts of the body. The aim of qigong is to restore balance and health by removing blockages and stimulating the flow of qi throughout the body.

The exercises performed in qigong are thought to stimulate the circulatory system, promoting the elimination of wastes from the body, and the increased flow of lymphatic fluid improves the functioning of the immune system. Some proponents say that qigong increases the amount of disease-fighting white blood cells, and improves the supply of oxygen to the body. It may also stimulate the body’s natural painkillers (endorphins). Qigong promotes relaxation, so may help bring down the heart rate and blood pressure. The movement exercises can also help to strengthen and tone muscles, promoting physical wellbeing.

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What To Expect
While you can teach yourself qigong exercises from a book or video, training from an instructor, either in a class setting or one-to-one, can help you gain the most benefit.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing while practising qigong. It is best practised on an empty stomach. Classes will vary in structure, and may start with a standing meditation, or simple movements to loosen up the body. Other exercises include controlled breathing, where you will learn to breathe from the diaphragm while visualising qi flowing into your body with each breath, visualisation, where you will visualise qi flowing to all parts of the body, and movement exercises which incorporate breathing, visualisation and meditation. Some movements are very simple to do, while others are quite complex and require much concentration. Exercises can be performed standing, sitting, lying down, or while walking.

Qigong classes generally meet once a week for 8-10 weeks, or you can learn the discipline during intensive weekend or week-long courses. Most benefit comes from practising qigong every day for at least 30 minutes.

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What Is It Used For?
Qigong can be helpful for relieving stress, anxiety, tension headaches, insomnia and high blood pressure. It can improve circulation and promote general fitness and wellbeing. Although not scientifically proven, proponents of qigong claim it can treat a range of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, AIDS, diabetes, menstrual problems and impotence.

Side Effects/Cautions
Qigong should be avoided by those with a tendency towards dizziness, and people who are suffering severe mental or emotional disturbance.

Pregnant women should avoid qigong, unless practising under the guidance of a trained master.

Qigong may thin the blood and increase circulation, so it should be avoided if heavy bleeding might be a problem, for instance after surgery, or if suffering from internal injuries.

References

Find a Qigong Instructor

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Recommended Books

Prices are in US Dollars

 

Qigong Empowerment: A Guide to Medical, Taoist, Buddhist, Wushu Energy Cultivation
Shou-Yu Liang

Qigong Empowerment is the most unique and complete volume ever written in the English language on Qigong (Chi Kung), the attainment of energy. It is a volume that you can refer to over and over again for all your energy studies. This book includes all the major energy training schools in ancient China: 1. Medical Qigong theories and training methods to strengthen the organs and to rejuvenate overall health. 2. Taoist Qigong cultivation and training outline, from the basic to the most profound methods, to foster Essence, Qi, and Spirit. 3. Buddhist Qigong empowering methods to develop the Esoteric Abilities of the Body, Speech, and Mind. 4. Emitting, Absorbing, and Healing Qigong to develop your healing ability. 5. Wushu (martial arts) Iron Shirt, Iron Palm, Iron Fist Qigong for developing your ultimate physical potential.

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The Healing Promise of Qi: Creating Extraordinary Wellness Through Qigong and Tai Chi
Roger Jahnke

Developed over millennia in China, qigong (literally, life force + mastery, or refinement) is a set of techniques used to increase your vitality, longevity, and sexual potency as well as achieve and maintain optimal health and inner peace. In the groundbreaking The Healing Promise of Qi, Dr. Roger Jahnke, internationally respected doctor of Chinese medicine and author of the bestselling The Healer Within, clearly and simply explains the concepts of qigong in practical terms.
With the help of 125 superbly rendered illustrations, he describes a multitude of simple qigong tools, practices, and techniques for accessing and utilizing the incredible power of qi. Rather than focus on a particular form of qigong, Dr. Jahnke presents concise, easy-to-follow techniques from among the more than 25 traditional and modern forms that he has mastered and taught to thousands of people across the United States and Canada.

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Qi Gong For Beginners: Eight Easy Movements For Vibrant Health
Stanley D. Wilson

"Qui Gong is one of the most important movement meditation techniques. If all Americans learned just the 'Eight Silken Movements' and practiced them daily, we could reduce health costs by 50 percent...."--C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., Founder Shealy Institute for Comprehensive Health Care, and Founding President, American Holistic Medical Association. An exercise program that can actually release blocks to healing and get you centered...in six minutes a day. The simple, no impact, but very powerful movements of Qui Gong can do that--and more, from increasing longevity to boosting the immune system. And this beautifully illustrated guide, written especially for beginners, will introduce you to this ancient art that balances and strengthens the life force. Try it, and look forward to extraordinary health benefits!

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Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20-Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy
Shoshanna Katzman

Shoshanna Katzman introduces readers to the practice of qigong through her graceful twenty-minute program that incorporates postures, breath, sound, visualization, and self-massage. This revitalizing workout will help women of all ages maintain youthful skin, eyes, and hair; improve fitness; and renew energy. Readers can then customize their routine, as the author explains how to apply the healing powers of qigong - along with herbal and dietary remedies - to specific age-related concerns such as arthritis, osteoporosis, menopause, weight gain, and decreased sexual vitality.

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 More Qigong Books

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Recommended CDs

 

Anthology of QiGong Relaxation Therapy & Mind Expansion (Stress Relief, Anxiety Relief, Depression Relief, Heath & Fitness, Meditation, Enhancement Therapy)
Bill Douglas

Qigong Relaxation Therapy & Mind Expansion is THE ULTIMATE DE-STRESSING program, using soothing enjoyable visualization and breathing techniques you do sitting down. This 72 minute 4 track CD audio program can be used at home or anywhere since all you need is a CD player. Track 1 provides explanation and a breathing technique that will leave you immediately calmer, clearer, relaxed, and yet more energized. Track 2 is a profoundly beneficial deep stress unloading technique you'll treasure for life. Track 3 builds on that to add an even deeper experience. Track 4 employs a breathing relaxation method great for those days your mind can't stop spinning.

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The Power of Qi: Qigong Meditations for Better Health and Spiritual Well-Being
Ken Cohen

Every day, millions of people in China practice a series of lifegiving exercises based on qi, the vital energy of the universe. The Power of Qi is a complete two-part curriculum on CD for using qi to cultivate strength, vitality, and longevity. Taught by internationally recognized qigong master Ken Cohen, this enhanced edition contains shakuhachi flute meditation music, and qigong practices on video.

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