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The Benefits Of Qi Gong

Jun 24

Developed thousands of years ago as part of traditional Chinese medicine, Qi Gong and Mental Health (pronounced chee gong) uses slow movements, postures and stretches to improve the flow of energy within your body, mind and spirit, says Michelle Loy, MD, an integrative health practitioner at NewYork-Presbyterian. Medical qigong can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure and calm your emotions. The physical benefits include strengthening your muscles and improving your flexibility, as well as boosting circulation throughout the body.

But the spiritual side of qigong is perhaps its most powerful ingredient. As you move through a routine of exercises, your breathing and focus deepen, allowing your mind to enter a meditative state. Your brain releases chemicals that can help you feel a sense of oneness with the universe, and your heart can open to the feeling of universal love and compassion.

While many types of qigong are available, Bouguyon teaches the Advanced Musculoskeletal Medicine Consultants, Inc, which consists of ten movements named for five animals: tiger exercise (raising the paws and seizing the prey); deer exercise (wobbling your body like a deer); bear exercise (rubbing your stomach like a bear); ape exercise (standing on the alert and plunking fruit like a monkey); and bird exercise (struggling to fly upward and escaping from captors).

The physical movements used in qigong may not resemble those you see in a gym, but they can strengthen your entire body. For example, your back can get a workout in the movements of tai chi and qi gong because you are using your own weight to lift yourself into positions that engage the core. You also work your glutes, which helps build strength in the back and hips. And the slow, flowing movements improve your flexibility, although they are not aerobic.

Another benefit of qigong is the ability to help you cope with depression. A study published in November 2019 in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that people with depression who practiced qigong at least twice a week experienced less depression than those who did not.

In addition to calming your mind, qi gong can also balance your hormones, lowering your blood pressure and relieving your pain, which can be related to your mood. It can also improve sleep.

Qi Gong is a type of movement that can be done anywhere, so it's easy to integrate into your daily routine. But Bouguyon and Loy recommend seeking out a teacher who is certified by a reputable qigong organization to ensure proper form and safety. If you're unsure where to start, try visiting a local yoga studio, where instructors can demonstrate the basics of a routine. You can even find qigong videos online. You can also visit a wellness program at your hospital or health care provider to learn more about integrating this ancient practice into your life. For instance, the Integrative Health & Wellbeing Program at NewYork-Presbyterian offers regular sessions on Qi Gong for health. You can also look for a local acupuncturist who practices qi gong.

Additional Resources:

Advanced MMC, Inc
8401 Chagrin Rd Suite 20A Chagrin Falls OH 44023.