What is qigong?
Qigong (pronounced “chee gung”) refers to a diverse set of practices that coordinate body, breath, and mind.
Qigong is one of the major branches of Chinese Medicine (CM) which includes food therapy, massage (tuina), acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine.
Why practice qigong?
Who can practice qigong?
Qigong is a very gentle system of exercise using flowing movements, natural breathing methods and relaxed awareness. So it can be practiced by anyone irrespective of age, race, religion, and fitness levels.
One of the uniquely marvellous things about Qigong is that you can improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing through practicing a gentle, simple and very enjoyable set of exercises for between 10-15 minutes each day.
It’s very easy to learn. The foundational practices can be learned in a day. The results come through practicing consistently everyday.
What are the benefits of practicing qigong?
There is a lot of scientific research showing the positive impact of practicing qigong.
The reported benefits are summarised here :
Is qigong safe to practice?
Under the guidance of a good teacher the practice of qigong is very safe.
I have been in the practice of medicine, initially as a medical doctor (GP) and then as a Classical Acupuncturist, for nearly 20 years. During this time I have studied and practiced with a few excellent teachers of qigong. I have safely prescribed medical qigong to my patients to complement their treatments and enhance their recovery.
Drawing from my personal practice and clinical experience I teach a very safe and effective method of qigong.
Are there any side effects?
Overall the side effects are minor (such as insomnia or headaches). In extremely rare cases, there may be an exacerbation of a pre-existing psychological disturbance.
All these side effects can be remedied with proper instruction and simple methods. On balance these side effects, although uncomfortable, are still much safer than many over the counter or prescription medications.
What does qì gōng (氣 功) mean?
Qi means “vital energy”, and gong means “cultivation”. Essentially qigong means the art of cultivating vital-energy.
What is Qi?
On a practical level Qi is the animating force behind creative processes. Qi the energy arising from any form of interaction or relationship between things.
So this energy can be that of the sun influencing life process on earth, that keeps planets in orbit, influences atmospheric pressures, influences tidal systems, interaction between people. It is also the energy that enhances life processes such as extracting nutrients from food, functioning of the immune system, or the energy exchange of our cells. This is all qi.
Is it religious?
Qigong is a non-religious method of personal cultivation of body & mind.
In the early days of qigong (1100 B.C. to 206 B.C.) the art had no religious associations.
The principles of qigong were later used by Buddhist and Daoist practitioners and integrated into these schools to enhance their spiritual cultivation.
We may discover that we enter into a deeply relaxed and expanded state of awareness during practice. This is a very pleasant and natural effect of qigong practice which may facilitate a spiritual experience.