Qigong or “energy cultivation” is a system of breathing and movement exercises practiced for health maintenance and increased vitality. Forms of traditional Chinese qigong consist of focused intention, physical movement, and mind-body integration to increase the flow of qi.
Qigong forms were originally created in ancient China and descended through various schools (Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, Neo-Confucian, Chinese medicine, and traditional Chinese martial arts). Modern qigong practices can be categorized as medical, martial or spiritual with overlap between the branches. All styles have similar principles: Posture, breathing techniques and mental focus.
Healing qigong (medical) is the preventative aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Medical qigong is taught for primarily health maintenance purposes but may be tailored for curative intervention. Various forms of qigong are also taught in conjunction with Chinese martial arts, and are prevalent in advanced internal martial arts training. Spiritual qigong developed from Taoism and Buddhism and emphasizes tranquility and self-awareness.
Qigong body movements draw on natural range of joint motion as well as movements in replication of various animals. Health benefits of regular qigong practice include: Improved balance, flexibility, concentration, circulation, increased strength and energy, reduced stress and lowered blood pressure, slower respiratory rate, decreased obsessive-compulsive Type A tendencies, and prevention of illness. Qigong may be beneficial for various diseases and ailments (cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, headaches, arthritis, and asthma).
A consistent practice of qigong promotes longevity and has a long-term effect of reestablishing the body/mind/soul connection. Consult the yellow pages for martial arts academies. The National Qigong Association (www.nqa.org) has a directory of regional instructors. For additional information contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305)595-9500.