The NQA Research and Education Committee is happy to provide qigong instructors with this handout to that describes what is qigong and some of its benefits. Revised 2018.
What is Qigong?
Qigong can be described as a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one's mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing technique, self-massage, sound, and focused intent. There are likely thousands of qigong styles, schools, traditions, forms, and lineages, each with practical applications and different theories about Qi (“subtle breath” or “vital energy”) and Gong (“skill cultivated through steady practice”).
What are the Benefits of Qigong?
Qigong opens the flow of energy in meridians used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It enhances our ability to feel the Life Force underlying the physical world and to deepen our communication with it.
Physically, slow gentle qigong movements warm tendons, ligaments, and muscles; tonify vital organs and connective tissue; and promote circulation of body fluids (blood, synovial, lymph). Thousands of studies have shown qigong effective in helping to heal life challenges ranging from high blood pressure and chronic illness to emotional frustration, mental stress, and spiritual crisis.
A Path to Health
All Qigong begins as a personal journey of self-discovery through the use of movement, breath, and intention. Although some practitioners may independently determine how and what to practice, the NQA also recognizes the benefits of working with an experienced teacher. There are a number of different paths of cultivation including Health, Clinical, Martial, and Spiritual.
Qigong can be a highly effective health care practice.
Many healthcare professionals recommend Qigong as an important form of alternative complementary medicine.
Qigong creates an awareness of our internal health that are not part of traditional exercise programs. Most exercises do not involve the meridian system used in acupuncture nor do they emphasize the importance of adding mind intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. When these dimensions are added, the benefits of exercise increase exponentially.
The gentle, rhythmic movements of consistent Qigong practice can reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. Some practices have also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions.
People do Qigong to maintain health, heal their bodies, calm their minds, and reconnect with their spirit.
When these three aspects of our being are integrated, it encourages a positive outlook on life and helps eliminate harmful attitudes and behaviors. It also creates a balanced lifestyle, which brings greater harmony, stability, and enjoyment.
There are a wide variety of Qigong practices. They vary from the simple, internal forms to the more complex and challenging external styles. They can interest and benefit everyone, from the most physically challenged to the super athlete. There are Qigong classes for children, senior citizens, and every age group in between. Since Qigong can be practiced anywhere or at any time, there is no need to buy special clothing or to join a health club, however when learning Qigong it is helpful to start with a group or class.
Qigong's great appeal is that everyone can benefit, regardless of ability, age, belief system or life circumstances.
When an individual or group assumes responsibility and takes action for their health and healing, we all benefit.