Updated: 2011-07-12

Qigong is commonly considered as mysterious and profound. Deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture -- especially in the unique concepts of the Yin and Yang, five elements of nature and Jingluo (main and collateral channels) in the human body -- it is inseparable from ancient Chinese philosophy, medicine and religion.

According to Chinese philosophy, everything, including the universe, is interrelated and in a state of constant flux where human organisms are microcosms of the universe. Everything is inter-related and interacts with the five basic elements -- wood, fire, earth, gold (or metal) and water, constantly interacting among the opposing and unifying forces - the Yin and Yang. Health is achieved when equilibrium is maintained; sickness appears when the balance is broken. This is the basic law governs all humans and nature.

It is said that the Qi flows through all of the Yin and Yang organs. A deficiency of Qi in any organ means the organ is out of balance. The inter-relatedness of all organs ensures that the Qi flows properly throughout the body. One has to reach a peaceful state of mind and be in harmony with his or her surroundings to maintain good health.

Qigong is a health-oriented art involving the body and mind that helps prevent disease and cures illnesses, making life more pleasant. Qigong smoothes the process of delivering oxygen to cells, reduces stress and improves bowel functions. Good for treating mental disabilities and stress, the Qi exercises bring one to a state of meditation where distress and anxiety are driven away and positive thinking with great confidence is affirmed. In this state, concentration can also be easily achieved. Through the exercises one gains control of his or her body and develops good feelings about life. This, in turn, stimulates the circulation of blood and the Qi .

To achieve this, the practitioner must adjust his mind, posture and breathing and act on the whole organism. On one hand, this actively self-regulates the functional activities of the organism and maintains a dynamic equilibrium. On the other hand, it enables the body to produce an "energy-storing" reaction, reduce energy consumption and increase energy accumulation, which helps regulate the Yin and Yang and smooth the channels and collaterals to emit the external Qi .

The easy and convenient exercises add to the popularity of Qigong, which can be performed virtually anywhere and at any time, requiring little more than an open mind. The exercises themselves are generally slow and gentle, and are thus suitable for people of varying ages and health conditions. The elderly and even people suffering from ailments can benefit from Qigong .

Chinese doctors have applied Qigong in hospitals and clinics to treat individuals suffering from a variety of ailments, including arthritis, asthma, bowel problems, constipation, diabetes, gastritis, headaches, heart disease, hypertension, lower back pain, sleeplessness, stress, obesity, neurasthenia and even cancer. The exercises can help treat aphasia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease and post-stroke syndrome. They are also especially useful in alleviating chronic pain and chronic disorders of the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Today, millions of Chinese are practicing Qigong -- some for treatment and most for exercise. Qigong allows people to experience higher levels of energy and stamina and is believed to slow down the aging process. While Qigong may not be effective in treating acute illnesses or medical emergencies, it is ideal for preventing some diseases and treating certain chronic conditions or disabilities.


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