Qigong (chee-gong), an ancient Chinese technique for strengthening the body, dates back nearly 5,000 years ago when it was formerly known as Daoyin, Tuina, Neiquan and Jingzuo. “Qi” means the vital energy, the energy of the universe, while “gong” means to gather with skill or make an effort to do something. Thus, qigong is to gather energy from the universe with practiced skill. There are over 3,000 forms of qigong with tai chi being the most commonly known form. Like tai chi, qigong appears to be a gentle slow rhythmic movement usually done while standing. The practitioner is using mental imagery, breath and movement to gather qi and bring it into the body.
The results of practicing qigong are similar to what one would experience with a Human Touch chair; both calm the mind, energize the body and help to create a sense of balance both literal and figurative. While qigong is still associated with the closely guarded martial arts and meditation routines formerly practiced by Taoist and Buddhist monks, today millions of people regularly practice qigong as a health maintenance exercise that is widely available to the general public.
Daoyin, as shown in the picture below, is the first motion of the qigong process and focuses solely on the transferring and pulling of natural body movement. Daoyin was first discovered in Mawangdui, a site consisting of tombs near Changsha in Hunan province, China. Ancient Chinese acupuncturists and daoyists practiced Daoyin faithfully, believing in the eternal life without any disease. Today, people across the globe are in the pursuit of longevity and healthy living which is why they are turning to these ancient Chinese remedies.
Recent studies have shown that controlled breathing, like that of qigong helps to regulate equilibrium between excitation and inhibition of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The practice increases inner strength and improves organ function, thus strengthening the body’s resistance to disease and promoting better health. For those who suffer from Neurasthenia, a condition that causes fatigue, anxiety and depression, practicing qigong has proven to enhance relaxation and allow patients to experience a more restful sleep.
Much like qigong, the Human Touch chairs induce a state of relaxation that clears the mind of daily stresses and offers a wide range of health benefits. Check back next month for an introduction to another qigong exercise that we will practice together!
Dr. Hoon Kim