Qigong, or chi gong, is an ancient Chinese form of exercise and treatment that is older than acupuncture or taiji. It developed as a way to enhance health and longevity primarily for the ruling and scholarly classes of society, but found its way to the common people after the Cultural Revolution in China after 1976.

There are about 100,000 different schools of qigong, each with its particular set of forms or exercises and treatments. A wide variety of skill development can be obtained with qigong practice, including medical treatment, beauty enhancement, artistic ability, spiritual growth, intelligence, physical power and many other abilities. Most focus on improving health, happiness and harmonious living.

Like acupuncture, qigong helps to improve how energy flows in the body through specific channels called meridians. These channels are specific to organ systems and help with the function of the organs as well as helping coordinate function with other organs in the body.

For example, brain function relies on the proper functioning of the lungs for oxygen, the heart for circulation of blood, the digestive organs for nutrition, the liver for energy production and detoxification, and the kidneys for elimination of wastes. Improving blood flow, eliminating wastes and enhancing energy production all lead to better organ function and health.

One unique feature of qigong is the emphasis of enhancing the message system of the body, paying attention to the thoughts one has while doing the exercises. Directing the flow of energy in specific directions, thinking positive thoughts and using visual imagery are all part of the practice.

There are a number of scientific studies showing the validity of doing these types of actions in the treatment of cancer and many other illnesses, changing conditions in the body, and even enhancing growth of plants. “Messages from Water” by Masaru Emoto and “The Secret Life of Your Cells by Robert Stone are some books that discuss these studies.

In my experience, I have seen people benefit from qigong in many ways: lower blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels, increased bone density, improved kidney function (one person was able to get off dialysis), improved hearing, improved lung function (no longer had chronic bronchitis after two years of unsuccessful medical treatment), decreased joint pain, improved memory, improved sleep and happiness. These are just a few benefits.

Qigong is fairly easy to do and can reap many benefits in a short period of time. Interested in doing exercise for your organs? It doesn’t require needles, encourages positive thinking, aims to reverse or slow down the aging process, and can be done anywhere without equipment.

Contact our office for a schedule of ongoing qigong classes. Your first class is FREE.

Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for over 30 years, specializing in Integrative Manual Therapy utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 100, Alhambra, CA 91801. Call (626) 576-0591 for a free consultation, or visit www.yonemoto.com for more information.

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