Qigong is an ancient form of meditation that combines slow movements and breathing techniques to promote health and well-being.
Although qigong meditation has become popular among celebrities and influencers, research regarding its effectiveness is lacking.
Learn about the potential benefits of qigong meditation and whether it is worth trying.
What is qigong meditation?
Qigong is derived from two words: “qi,” which means breath or vital life force, and “gong,” which means skill harnessed through steady practice. Qigong therefore emphasizes the continuous practice of harnessing the power of qi in the body.
This ancient Chinese practice is based on the belief that the flow of healing energy or qi can lead to optimal physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological health—and that blockages or disruptions in that flow can lead to health problems.
Through controlled breathing, gentle movements, and meditation, qigong aims to allow qi to flow throughout your body.
What are different types of qigong meditation?
Qigong meditation can be divided into categories based on purpose and whether it is active or passive.
Qigong can be divided into three broad categories based on the goal of this practice:
- Medical qigong: Focuses on healing and is further divided into two categories based on the need of a teacher or therapist:
- Internal qigong: Also called self-treatment, a form of qigong that is practiced alone to heal yourself.
- External qigong: Also called qi emission, involves the guidance of a trained qigong practitioner to direct or emit their qi to you through touching you or moving their hands over your body without touching.
- Spiritual qigong: Done for the purpose of spiritual growth or enlightenment.
- Martial (sports) qigong: Done to improve physical ability, strength, and dexterity.
Qigong can be divided into two categories based on whether it involves active or passive movement.
- Active qigong: Also called dynamic qigong or dong gong, involves coordinated, intentional, yet gentle body movements.
- Passive qigong: Does not involve active body movements but instead involves breathing techniques, stillness, and meditation to enhance the flow of qi through the body.
How is qigong meditation done?
Qigong meditation techniques differ depending on the type. However, basic guidelines usually involve a combination of the following:
- Breathing techniques
- Certain postures and movements (in the case of active qigong)
- Guided imagery (a relaxation technique that involves focusing on positive images in your mind under the guidance of a trainer or teacher)
Although the movements are quite gentle, it is recommended to consult your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions before you start qigong.
7 potential health benefits of qigong meditation
Although there is no sufficient scientific proof to support the health benefits of qigong meditation, practitioners believe that the practice can result in the following:
1. Improved mental health
2. Improved stamina
Qigong may improve concentration, strength, balance, and stamina.
3. Better heart health
4. Healthier bones
According to some studies, the slow, coordinated movements and postures of qigong meditation may help improve bone mass, reduce stress on joints, and improve range of motion.
5. Pain relief
6. Improved immunity
Studies suggest that regular qigong meditation helps strengthen the immune system, which can help the body fight infections and prevent chronic health conditions.
7. Lowered risk of chronic disease
Qigong is often suggested as an alternative treatment approach for chronic health conditions, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. Many patients report that it helps them feel better and improves their response to treatment.
Types of Qigong. https://www.medicalqigong.org/index.php/icmq-news/resources/44-resources/96-types-of-qigong
A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/
The difference between tai chi and qi gong. https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/the-difference-between-tai-chi-and-qi-gong
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