4 mins read
Origin and History
Qigong is an ancient Chinese therapy for treating ailments mostly restricted to mind, body and breath. Additionally, it also includes philosophy, martial arts and medicine to some extent. Scholars pretext Qigong to inculcate balance ‘chi’ in life, the term close to the concept called ‘life energy.’
On more technical grounds, Qigong is believed to allow access to awareness and one’s innate nature. Being developed in China, this ancient therapy typically involves meditation, coordination and deep breathing to relax body’s internal mechanisms. Traditionally, the treatment has been perceived to be more ‘secretive’ in its diverse essence.
Benefits of Qigong
While the benefits of this treatment are numerous, modern day science does not recognize Qigong as a commercial therapy with any scientific effects on the ailments. However, some of the most apparent benefits associated with the treatment have been listed below.
- Builds up internal power
- Helps loosen muscle for more productive outgrowth
- Strengthens nerves and helps provide adequate nourishment
- Increases stamina, vitality and reduces stress
- Improves pulmonary and lymphatic system
- Enhances vascular function
- More effective in meditators and sedentary workers
- Helps reduce recovery time and aftermath of surgeries
Current research facts
Although the effects of the therapy are quite apparent, there has not been much of documented evidence to support the same. Clinical research to evaluate the effectiveness of Qigong was conducted in cases of physical function, cardiopulmonary disorders, immune disorders, and inflammation and bone density. However, no comprehensive conclusion could be drawn to establish Qigong as ‘effective’ in the above mentioned ailments. Various systematic and conductive reviews state Qigong as ineffective. This was attributed to few of the characteristics of the study – small sampling size, lack of tools for evaluating efficacy and biased risk factor.
How Is Qigong practiced?
Qigong, being an integral part of ancient Chinese therapy, aims at providing relief from the topical events such as pain, migraine, arthritis and headache. The therapy mostly involves use of meditation, acupressure, acupuncture and herbs in some of the cases. Additionally, on a more specified scale, Qigong is mostly applied either as a static or dynamic therapy. While static therapy typically involves holding the posture for a given amount of time, dynamic therapy involves constant, regular and coordinated motion so as to keep track of breathing and awareness.
Who requires Qigong?
With Qigong mostly focusing on enhancing self-awareness and body’s energy potential, people who are on regular medicine and post-surgical intervention could benefit from the treatment. Although not established, the therapy has been found to be effective in heart patients, arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, joint stiffness, etc.
Precautions, contraindications and interactions
In general, exercises and the meditation associated with Qigong are mostly non-risky. However, caution must be exercised in the following cases:
- Elderly people, pregnant or lactating women
- People who have not exercised in a while
- People on regular medication
- People with low bone density.
- Special emphasis and consultation is required in cancer and heart patients, owing to their weak heart muscles and weak immunity.
More information can be obtained from the professionals who are trained in Qigong and practice it actively. Ensure that you find the right practitioner to derive the best possible options into therapy.
- Haak T, Scott B. The effect of Qigong on fibromyalgia (FMS): a controlled randomized study. Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(8):625-33. PMID:17852292
- Schmitz-Hübsch T, Pyfer D, et al. Qigong exercise for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: a randomized, controlled pilot study. Mov Disord. 2006 Apr;21(4):543-8. PMID:16229022
- Deutsch JE. Complementary Therapies for Physical Therapy: A Clinical Decision-making. 1st ed. Germany; Elsevier Publishing.
- Lee MS, Pittler MH, Ernst E. External qigong for pain conditions: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. J Pain. 2007 Nov;8(11):827-31. PMID:17690012