(pronounced “chee-gong” or “chee gung,” – qigong, also: ch’i Kung, Chi Gung)
The ‘qi’ in the word ‘qigong’ embodies the concept of vital life force energy of the body, and ‘gung’ is the work or effort expended in practice, or, the cultivation of qi.
Qigong is an ancient medical or health practice to cultivate the life essence that the Chinese call qi (“chee”). It is currently becoming more well known in this country, just as yoga became familiar here decades ago. Qigong is energy work.
It has four major areas of training emphasis, which are breathing, posture or alignment, mind or intention, and sounds for healing. Of these four approaches, the mind helps to regulate the body, breathing, and vocalization.
Qigong also embodies the sciences, Traditional Chinese medicine, and has roots in Eastern philosophical aspects of the arts. Other elements of the culture include theories of yin yang, or the two opposing yet reciprocal energies, the five elements theory (i.e., metal, wood, water, fire, earth), the study and theory of circulation channels in the body, and breathing exercises.
The National Qigong Institute writes that Qigong is a five-thousand-year-old health method combining slow movements and mental concentration and breathing to increase and balance a person’s vital, or life energy.
Eastern medicine, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, puts attention on prevention before an illness or imbalance arises, and aims to keep the body in homeostasis. The medical applications of qigong and TCM strive to help a person achieve a balance of body and mind. Scientific research has documented the amazing benefits that qigong practices can have on an individual.
Qigong is a technology of self-initiated healing. Both ancient and contemporary philosophers have pointed to our naturally occurring self-healing capacity, and contemporary science has confirmed the spontaneous function of self-repair and self-restoration. This self-healing system has been shown to boost a person’s inner healing process, allowing them to live a life filled with more joy, and fewer health issues and chronic conditions. These conditions include cardiovascular and respiratory function, muscle strength, balance, high blood pressure, arthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, asthma, back pain, and cancer. Practice helps many physical, emotional and neurological issues, including pain management, anxiety, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, metabolic regulation, insomnia, and gait stability.
Many specific conditions are known to be improved by use of qigong methods. These include disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, MS, diabetes, hypertension, microcirculatory disfunction, arthritis, auto-immune diseases, and poor balance.
Harmony in Movement suggests a stable state of equilibrium, as well as embracing the pursuit of optimum health.