People in China have been practicing qigong for health for hundreds of years. Many around the world have learned about the benefits of qigong through information on the Internet. The breathing and exercise patterns of qigong have helped many to ease pain and stress, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, improve circulation, and increase stamina. Many believe that people who practice qigong for health can benefit physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.
Qigong is based on the ancient Chinese concept that an energy called qi flows through everything in the universe. Adherents of qigong believe that qi flows through the body along pathways called meridians, and these pathways can become blocked. When blockages occur, ill health follows. By practicing the breathing patterns and movements of qigong for health, these blockages can be removed. The qi can then move freely through the body once again, restoring the person to a state of health.
There are different styles of qigong, and they all share some things in common. All forms involve certain patterns of breathing to create a state of mindfulness. Some qigong styles incorporate slow, circular body movements similar to tai chi, while others utilize more rapid movements reminiscent of kung fu. All forms of qigong can improve balance, create a sense of calm, and make the practitioner feel better both mentally and physically.
Scientific studies have demonstrated that those who practice qigong for health experience some benefits. One study done in China showed that people who regularly engaged in qigong increased the number of T lymphocytes, or T-cells, in their bodies. T-cells are known to enhance the immune system by helping it destroy bacteria.
One study performed in China showed that people who regularly performed qigong for three months increased their breathing capacity. The people who participated in the study also reported the cessation of neck and back pain. All who had high blood pressure experienced a drop of 10-15 points for both the top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic) readings. Study participants also claimed an increase in their energy levels.
Case studies have shown other benefits of practicing qigong for health. Elderly people who perform the exercises demonstrate greater strength and flexibility. Qigong adherents also report that it can reduce the symptoms of insomnia, nausea, fibromyalgia, and prevent arteriosclerosis, strokes, and cardiovascular disease.