Qigong (Chi Kung)
Qì (Chi 氣) is the Chinese character for air, breath, life-force, or life-essence. Gōng (Kung 功) is the character for effort, work, and labor. Thus Qigong (or Chi Kung), translates into "the work of harvesting one’s life energy."
Qìgōng (氣功) [pronounced "chee-goong"] is a traditional form of Chinese energy exercise for the body, mind and spirit. At least five thousand years old, it is a system for improving and maintaining health, balance, and self-regulation.
Qigong literally means "breath work," and is a distillation of several ancient healing systems. The practice of Qigong is based on the cultivation and balance of "Qi," which roughly translates to "bioenergy."
This concept is at the core of most every aspect of Chinese culture, including art, architecture, philosophy, sports, and science.
Anyone can learn Qigong. Many people practice it simply because it makes them feel good, perform better, experience higher levels of energy and stamina, and reach their level of optimal health. Qigong can improve sports performance, prevent jet lag, and supercharge the immune system.
This practice has been shown to super-oxygenate the cells of the body. It can reduce stress, improve bowel function, and relieve the symptoms of insomnia and other sleep disorders. Qigong also is used to control pain; it can relieve acute and chronic pain, reduce the pain of childbirth, and speed recovery from sports or other injuries. In addition, Qigong can increase the effectiveness of Western medications, may reduce the side effects of this medicine, and even allow the use of smaller doses.
It is widely accepted that exercise can promote health and prevent illnesses. Western exercise, however, concentrates on muscular/skeletal development through the application of stress and load to build up strength. In other words, it works from the outside inward. Qigong, on the other hand, works from the inside of the body, outward. It connects the body and spirit, focusing on breathing, concentration and physical movements.
Benefits of Qigong:
- Strengthens immune system
- Increases flexibility
- Increases the efficiency of respiration and metabolism
- Reduces stress
- Improves overall health