What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong = chi kung = ki gong = qigong is an ancient mind/body exercise scientifically proven to improve health and well-being. Qigong is often called energy medicine. While sources vary on dates, qi gong is believed to be about 5,000-10,000 years old. The Chinese words "qi gong" translate roughly to mean "vitality discipline." While there are over 3,000 recognized systems of qi gong, all focus on increasing one's chi or vital energy to improve health both mental and physical. Some forms of qi gong are very strenuous while others are softer and more meditative. All styles of qi gong share the use of controlled breathing techniques, specific movements, healing imagery and self-massage.
It's believed that qi gong origins trace back to meditating monks who developed these physical disciplines to incorporate more movement into their meditation practices. Over time, qi gong developed into many styles to accomplish different physical and/or mental goals. Some practices are seated while others may be standing, lying down or walking. For this reason, qi gong is an excellent exercise for those with physical limitations such as arthritis, joint replacements, or lack of strength/stamina. While it is gentle enough for the elderly, it can be powerful enough for even the most seasoned of athletes. The slow, gentle movements of qi gong hide it's very powerful healing secrets. While qi gong is often simple and slow in movement, it can be quite challenging. Just because it's "soft" doesn't mean it's easy! Just as "soft" water can level an entire city, soft styles of qi gong pack a powerful punch.
Qi gong exercises are often used by martial artists to center and warm-up/cool down before and after more rigorous training routines. The benefits of qi gong are wide-ranging: from decreased blood pressure and cortisol levels to improved balance and coordination. There is even research evidence pointing to increased brain size with regular practice. Stress reduction is a major benefit from all styles of qi gong. Medical research by Kaiser Permanente has now PROVEN that mental stress CAUSES (not "contributes to" but CAUSES) up to 80% of all illness and disease. Since qi gong is a moving meditation, it's stress-reducing benefits cannot be denied; regular practice helps keep illness, injury and disease at bay.
The depth of qi gong goes much further than what is written here and can really only understood by what one experiences with consistent practice.
Click here to learn about qigong vs tai chi.