Qi is the Mandarin term for “life energy” - the animating power flowing within all of life. We can sense this in ourselves and in nature. Gong means work or cultivation. Qi Gong is a way of working with our vital life energy. Qi Gong exercises are designed to cultivate our Qi, to increase its flow and distribution and to improve the health of our body and minds.
The heath benefits of Qi Gong have been known in China for thousands of years. Over the past 40 years, Western science has been studying and documenting the beneficial aspects of these simple stimulative movements.
In July of 2015 the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reviewed nine studies of Tai Chi (the most popular and well known form of Qi Gong in America) and found those that practice regularly “appear to have a protective effect against age-related cognitive decline.” Coupled with the physical benefits of Qi Gong practice we have access to a complete system for gently caring for our total body and mind.
Physical benefits go beyond the strengthening of muscles and balance. Qi Gong exercises open the Six Gates—the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. According to Chinese medicine, these major joints are the gateways of Qi for our complex human system, encouraging the smooth flow of energy and blood throughout the body. Qi is the determining factor in health; each organ and each area of the body depend on a regular, vigorous stream of qi to function properly. Qi is the motive force for blood. Qi is both energy and information for every cell.
When joints are stiff or frozen, the gates “close,” impeding Qi flow both near and far from the joint. Rather than view the problem of tight, painful joints as local, isolated, and limited, we need to understand that the effects are wide-ranging and influence the health base of the entire body. Soft, gentle, relaxed movement of joints results in better hydration, more joint space, and release of irritating toxins—important factors for alleviating or preventing arthritis. Qi Gong Exercises are completely adaptable to each individual’s health status, as are all the exercises we teach.