Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.
The word Qigong (Chi Kung) is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe.
The second word, Gong, pronounced kung, means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through practice. Together, Qigong (Chi Kung) means cultivating energy, it is a system for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality.
Qigong practices can be classified as martial, medical, or spiritual. All have three things in common: they all involve a posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus. Some practices increase the Qi; others circulate it, or use it to cleanse and heal the body. Practices vary from the soft internal styles such as Tai Chi, to the external, vigorous styles such as Kung Fu.
Many health care professionals recommend Qigong as an important form of alternative complementary medicine.
Qigong creates an awareness of ourselves that are not part of traditional exercise programmes. For example, most other forms of exercise do not involve the meridian system used in acupuncture, nor do they emphasise the importance of adding mindful intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. When these dimensions are added, the benefits of exercise increase.
There are a wide variety of Qigong practices. They can interest and benefit everyone, from the most physically challenged to the super athlete. Since Qigong can be practiced anywhere or at any time, there is no need to buy special clothing or to join a health club.
Anyone can enrich their lives by adding Qigong to their daily routine. Children learning to channel their energy and develop increased concentration; office workers learning Qigong to reduce stress; seniors participating in gentle movements to enhance balance and their quality of life.
Finally, the gentle movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. It encourages a positive outlook on life.