What is Qigong

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Practicing Qigong is a wonderful way to optimize the body, breath, and mind, but before you delve into this new practice, it is important to understand what possible health benefits it holds.

What is Qigong?

Qigong is a traditional Chinese system of movements and postures that are intended to balance your qi (chi) and expand your mental clarity. Also known as chi kung or chi gong, this series of postures and moves are intended to balance your body, mind, and breath using meditative elements, focus, and physical control of your form. Similar to tai chi, another popular Eastern system of meditative movements, the measured flow of the body from one posture into another is believed to help achieve a peaceful state of mind, better energy movement in the body, and therefore, improved health and wellness. Although still most popular in China and nearby regions, qigong is practiced in many other parts of the world, both for martial arts training, naturopathic healing, self-cultivation, relaxation, and exercise. [1] [2]

Woman doing a qigong pose outdoors

Qigong is also known as qi gong, chi kung, or chi gung. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Qigong Benefits

The many benefits of qigong that are still being widely studied include preventing joint injuries, reducing stress, and balancing hormone levels, among others.

Muscle Loosening

As you age, your flexibility begins to suffer, which can lead to less willingness to be physically active, thus making the problem even worse. When you practice qigong, however, you will be increasing the range of motion in your joints, which can help to reduce inflammation and boost your mobility and quality of life. [3]

Strengthen Nerves

Studies have found that this type of exercise, along with tai chi, is particularly good for treating the autonomic nervous system. The philosophical and physical elements of this exercise are all centered on increasing the flow of energy and information through the body. Neurotransmitter levels can balance, microcirculation can increase, and more blood flowing to the brain and nervous system centers will improve performance. [4]

Vascular Function

Having sluggish blood is terrible for energy levels and also increases your risk of certain cardiovascular disease. It has been shown that using qigong can improve the function of your vascular system, speeding up the flow of blood between critical organs, cutting down on inflammation, and ensuring that resources and oxygen are delivered smoothly throughout the body. [5]

Joint Injury

If you have suffered a joint injury, a surgery, or suffer from arthritis, this may be one of the best exercises for you to adopt. It is a low-impact practice, which will prevent re-injury, but it is also dynamic and stimulating for the tissues in your joints, which can speed the healing process. [6]

Hormone Balance

Research on qigong has shown that regular practice is able to increase the production of sex hormones, such as testosterone in men and estrogen in women. This is good for normal bodily function, but also important if you experience a drop in your sex drive as you age.

Stress Levels

Stress and anxiety can be deadly, but using this relaxing form of exercise can measurably reduce your stress hormone levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your body. This will cut down on bodily inflammation and protect against certain chronic diseases. [7]

Mental Clarity

The meditative aspects of this practice will provide you with mental clarity, increased powers of concentration, and focus, and a lower risk of neurodegenerative disease.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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