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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Traditions, Society >> Chinese Medicine

Qi Gong: Alternative to Aerobics

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seventy percent of diseases are preventable, yet most people have no idea of how to do this. Western-style aerobic exercises or workouts at the gym are not enough to be truly well. Most exercises focus on building muscles or endurance but Qi Gong (Chi Kung) focuses on the whole body, physical, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The benefits of Qi Gong are so many that it has been made part of the Chinese national health care system and is practiced by millions of people across the world.

Qi Gong can be used for health reasons, for self-cultivation, to enhance vitality and develop internal force, to promote youthfulness and longevity and to expand the mind and intellect. During personal practice, slow and graceful movements combined with relaxed breathing and mental concentration is used to balance and increase a person's life force or energy (qi). The benefits of exercise increase massively when breathing techniques and focused intention are added to physical movement. Thus it is an excellent way to keep fit and lose weight. It can be completely tailored to your abilities from dynamic, intricate workouts and sequences to simple non-strenuous movements and meditation. Depending on how it is practiced, it can be invigorating or very relaxing. It gives an overall sense of well-being and improves coordination and balance and builds self-esteem and confidence. Also, because the movements require coordination between right and left limbs, it balances the right and left sides of the brain. The movements combined with breathing techniques encourage efficient use of oxygen for digestion and metabolism balancing.

Qi Gong is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is accepted as a complementary treatment option. The practitioner transforms their 'chi' energy into healing energy and addresses the root cause of illness and disease, treating the patient as a whole. Qi Gong improves blood circulation and enhances the body's immune function as well as aiding in the regeneration and regulation of the nervous, digestive, lymphatic and circulatory/cardiovascular systems and the body's internal organs. It is used as a preventative and curative method and can be used for general health maintenance, physical rehabilitation, bone density and balance, cancer treatment, arthritis, back pains, diabetes, hypertension and stress. While not scientifically proven, research on thousands of patients has suggested that Qi Gong lowers blood pressure, pulse rates, metabolic rates and oxygen demand. It also seems to trigger the body's relaxation response by reducing the level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls neurological activity. An ancient history, devout following and amazing case studies is proof enough without the science!

This article was submitted by Anthony Monteith. Anthony is a recognized Chi Kung/Qi Gong instructor with He has been practicing various forms of energy work for 20 years, and has recently started a college training course in Dublin, Waterford and Galway. He is also a qualified master practitioner of Tuina and Acupuncture