06It may sound like the name of a Star Wars character or an exotic spice you’d find in the back of your kitchen cupboard, but Qigong (pronounced CHEE-gong) is actually a type of exercise and technique increasingly prevalent healing techniques that date back thousands of years.
Movements are slow and breathing is omnipresent. Qi Gong is a physical activity straight from China whose use is known to act on physical fitness, respiratory capacity and stress reduction.
During a session, which lasts between 45 minutes and 1 hour, the exercises are performed by the practitioner by swinging slowly from one leg to another. In accordance with the philosophy linked to Qi Gong, the two legs symbolize Ying and Yang. The breath, deep and slowed down, accompanies each gesture and arouses a contemplative spirit.
QI GONG IN FIGURES.
LiveScience defines Qigong as an “ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique that involves meditation, controlled breathing, and movement exercises,” while Dr. Qigong does not refer to a single type of exercise, but rather to “many types of gentle movements and meditation practices”. According to the National Qigong Association, “Qigong practices can be categorized as ‘martial, medical and/or spiritual’.
More specific information about Qigong can be gleaned by breaking down its name. As LiveScience continues, “Qi is a concept which, in traditional Chinese culture, roughly refers to vital energy, information, breath or spirit. The second sign of Qigong, “gong”, is synonymous with culture or mastery. Qigong is therefore sometimes translated as “cultivation of vital energy” or “control of your energy”.
Like yoga, Qigong is both mental and physical exercise. Although experts claim that there are over 3,000 different styles of Qigong, ranging from a slow and steady pace to vigorous aerobic training, they share common characteristics including: the integration of stances and body exercises fluid and stationary; a link between breathing and movement; and a strong focus on mindfulness.
THE BENEFITS OF QIGONG
Although the meaning of its name may seem elusive, more and more research confirms the many extraordinary benefits of this gentle, yet effective exercise.
This exercise is open to all physical conditions and falls into the category of body-mind exercises, the effects of which are felt in both the moral and physical state.
Its benefits on the body are widely accepted by the medical academy, so that Qi Gong is considered as a complementary treatment. Qi Gong can be practiced in the context of fitness training, but also to accompany people suffering from serious illnesses.
According to a comprehensive review of research on the benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi (considered by some a form of Qigong and by others a separate practice) published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, these holistic healing techniques oriental foods are linked to health improvements in multiple psychological and physiological domains, including the following:
- cardiopulmonary effects.
- physical function.
- Falls and associated risk factors.
- Life quality.
- Psychological symptoms.
- Immune function.
WHO SHOULD TRY QIGONG?
Qigong is suitable for anyone, regardless of fitness level. Regardless of your current abilities, you can enjoy the many benefits of Qigong and become stronger at the same time. In addition, Qigong is particularly beneficial to people suffering from:
- High levels of anxiety and chronic stress.
- Heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Muscle aches.
- Joint pain, osteoarthritis and tendonitis.
- Fatigue, lack of energy and sleep disturbances.
- Susceptibility to infection or disease.
- Circulatory, lymphatic or digestive problems.
This senior-friendly exercise is also great for people just starting a fitness program or recovering from an injury.
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Qi Gong, a Chinese practice like no other!
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