Qigong at Geelong Chinese Medicine Clinic
A literal translation of the Chinese character Qi is air or breath. It is the energy that circulates within the body. Gong is the term used for any study or training which requires a lot of energy and time, work or self-discipline, or arts. Thus Qigong is arts of Qi, and a method to build up Qi.
It is known that the beginnings of the Chinese art of Qigong have a history that goes back thousands of years, though only a few historical documents remain today.
Qigong practices are designed to guide and induce the free flow of energy/ Qi throughout the body via integrated physical movement, mental cultivation and regulated breathing. These exercises once learnt can also bring about increased muscular efficiency, balance and coordination, improved breathing and blood flow, greater flexibility, a calm mind and improved immune system.
In China for many hundreds of years, many different practices of Qigong have arisen but they all come from the same fundamental theories based on the observation of nature.
In traditional Chinese medicine the flow of energy Qi along channels or meridians in the body is viewed as central to a person’s health and wellbeing, with illness being attributed to restricted or blocked Qi flow within the body. This concept provides the basis for acupuncture and Qigong.
Qigong emphasizes the cultivation of health through the removal of blockages in the mind and body. As observed by the ancient Chinese, running water never turns stale and a door hinge never gets worm eaten.
What is the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong?
Qigong is a training system that helps to generate a smooth flow of Qi (internal energy) inside the body and then circulate it through the entire body. Qigong practices may differ through their focuses, medical/health promotion, martial or even spiritual.
During the Song dynasty (960-1279 A.D.), a Daoist named Chang San-Feng is believed to have created a martial art Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), which means ‘grand ultimate fist’. Tai Chi shares Qigong internal Qi/energy principles because it emphasizes on working with qi.
When practiced slowly, Tai Chi is a form of Qigong (energy work) with Qigong health benefits, but Tai Chi is also a martial art. In every movement of Tai Chi, you can find a martial arts application that can be used for self-defence. Some forms of Qigong do promote physical characteristics useful for martial arts, but in comparison, Qigong lacks the attack and defence principles contained in the Tai Chi postures. So, to sum up, Qigong & Tai Chi work off the same principles. Tai Chi just expresses the ability to cultivate, circulate and harmonize Qi in relation to martial arts.
What are the health benefits of Qi Gong and Tai Chi?
While, there are over 500 research studies on qigong, and over 1800 studies on tai chi, there are many challenges and complexities in studying and proving benefits of such practices, but the evidence for the health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi is encouraging.
Here are some of the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong as indicated through clinical trial evidence.
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Improved Balance
- Depression and Anxiety Relief
- Improved Quality of Sleep
- Chronic Pain Relief
- Improved Muscle Strength
- Increased Bone Density
- Better Quality of Life
- Stronger Immune System
- Reduced Inflammation
- Improved Cognitive Performance
- Arthritis Relief
- Better Cardiopulmonary Fitness
A video demonstration of the Qigong movements by Master Liu De Ming,