Five Reasons to Practice Qigong Today

The ancient art of qigong offers an array of health benefits that can instantly improve both your mood and physical health!

Feb 8, 2020

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Now that the world has embraced the benefits of yoga, it’s time to welcome yoga’s modest but powerful cousin- qigong- into the spotlight. While not as well known as yoga, qigong offers an impressive list of health benefits that work wonders for both emotional and physical wellbeing.

Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) is an ancient Chinese healing practice that balances and restores energy in the body through slow movement, breath work, and visual meditation.

Practice boosts health by increasing body-awareness to help release blockages in the body. This is done through an integrated technique that aids the flow of energy through vital pathways. According to the Qigong Institute, millions of people in China and throughout the world, practice qigong daily to improve their health and achieve clarity, peace-of-mind, and focus.

This centuries-old system of coordinated body posture and movement is associated with physical and mental health benefits that take in improved focus, digestion, balance, posture, circulation, and much more. Check out our list of five reasons to practice qigong today:

1. Reduce symptoms of depression

Several studies have shown that individuals who practice Qigong experience fewer symptoms of depression.

A study from the MD Anderson Cancer Center at The University of Texas, for instance, found that women practicing qigong while undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer reported a decrease in depression and an increase in overall quality of life.

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2. Balance emotions and cut down on stress

A 2011 study published in the Mindfulness Journal found that participants who practiced qigong during an 8-week period experienced lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels and lower blood pressure than the control group.

Practicing Qigong is also associated with more balanced emotions and improved sleep.

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3. Enhance focus and memory

Paying attention to detail is an integral part of qigong, which is why it is hardly surprising that daily practice can strengthen both focus and memory.

Testing with an electroencephalogram (EEG) that records brain activity, a study found that both mental and physical qigong exercises increased attention, focus, and presence.

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4. Get migraine relief

A significant aim of qigong is increasing blood flow, which is partly done by rubbing one’s hands and feet together. According to World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, the increased awareness of the warmth and blood flow of one’s hands and feet during practice may explain the relationship between migraine relief and qigong.

Qigong also relieves headaches by releasing tensions that build up in both the neck and face.

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5. Target free radicals and increase longevity

Free radicals are unstable atoms linked to aging and illness. A Chinese study of 200 participants showed that those who practiced qigong for 30 minutes a day or more had significantly higher levels of superoxide dismutase, which is an enzyme that destroys free radicals.

Qi gong has thrived for over 2,000 years because it is a process that holistically improves mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Within moments of practicing this slow, deliberate, and mindful technique, a sense of calm groundedness overtakes the senses, filling the body with a relaxed and centered sense of peace. But don’t take our word for it- try it out. YouTube is full of free tutorials for beginners for you to explore! 

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HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.