I am always interested in any form of exercise or movement that helps the body perform better. It’s one reason that I chose to investigate the ancient practice of Qigong. It is an ancient technique used to balance the body’s energy and improve health. It’s similar to Tai Chi. The energy force is called Qi or Chi, based on the technique used. Qigong uses the term Qi, while Tai Chi uses Chi. Both are done slowly, both focus on relaxation, but the form, energy manipulation and posture of Qigong is different. There are three categories of Qigong; medical, meditation and martial Qigong.
Medical Qigong is often practiced in Chinese hospitals and is one of the four branches of traditional Chinese Medicine.
There are two types of medical Qigong. One type is done personally to keep the Qi forces flowing, while another type uses a practitioner that has studied the use of qigong and the body’s electromagnetic energy. He or she uses his or her own energy to unblock the bio-energy and correct any imbalances, then prescribes specific movements for the patient. The other form of medical Qigong is done by the patient. It may be a preventive or rejuvenating practice or to help eliminate the problems caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, injury, aging, surgery or pent up emotions. It uses breathing techniques, movement and mental intention to correct physical problems.
Qigong can be used to calm the mind and as a form of meditation.
Just like yoga, qigong can be a healthy form of exercise, or used for spiritual enlightenment and meditation. It is just as effective as a relaxation technique as yoga and does use many of the features of yoga, such as breathing techniques. It uses visualization, also, to focus the Qi energy to a specific location. Some of the meditation is used for the martial arts, but some of it allows the person to focus healing energy to the palms of the hands for others and for self healing.
Take up the challenge of using Qigong martial arts.
This strenuous activity is a supplement to the martial arts. It uses the forces of Qi energy to boost the power of the practicianer. While there are a few benefits for healing, Martial Qigong is mostly used to improve fighting abilities and strengthen the body. It’s not meant for those out of shape and is extremely strenuous. For instance, one posture has the practitioner standing on one leg for as long as ten minutes or more. That’s tough to do no matter how fit you are.
- One benefit of Qigong over Tai Chi is that it’s far easier to learn. The forms are not as precise and patterned more after the practitioner’s normal body movement.
- Even though it’s used for medicine and meditation, the Qigong movements are also extremely good exercise for loosening the muscles and building muscle power. The slow movements make it good for people of all fitness levels.
- Qigong can be practiced by people who are bedridden. The movements lend themselves to be done in any position. This is often used in Chinese hospitals as a last resort for cancer patients.
- Qigong is a low impact exercise that can be used to build healing power while the body is recuperating from injury.