Qigong (pronounced chee kung), literally means “energy cultivation.” Qigong, and the more familiar Tai Chi, have the same basic property in common – Qi (life energy) – but, as explained by one expert, Great Grand Master Kellen Chia, “while low-level Tai Chi is solely a physical exercise, at a higher level it transcends into a Qigong discipline.”
Qigong is over 5,000 years old and has over 10,000 different forms. It is foundational to Chinese culture as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). On its fundamental level Qigong combines alignment, movement, breathing and self-massage, which in turn helps the autonomic nervous system go from the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) state to the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) state. Simply put, by practicing Qigong we reach a calm state which allows the body to de-stress; and that’s a very good thing as about 90% of diseases can be traced to stress.
As in Western Medicine, there are doctors of TCM whose medical practices are specialized, be it gastro, cardio, cancer, psychiatry, etc. Another thing Western Medicine and TCM have in common is what practitioners of all disciplines tell their patients who are in good health (and would like to stay that way):
• Get good sleep
• Eat good foods
• Drink good fluids
By practicing Qigong, particularly a “standing Qigong,” we help our bodies with balance and mental focus. If you have ever seen a group doing Tai Chi you are in the Qigong ballpark. Qigong is the mother of all Chinese martial arts; however, in a standing Qigong there is NO complicated footwork. The focus is more on the internal body and the heart/mind connection rather than on intricate footwork, movement and the integrated brain plasticity that Tai Chi demands.