With a regular practice, qigong benefits can be felt almost immediately. Pronounced “chee-gung”, qigong is an ancient form of Chinese yoga that cultivates “qi” (life energy) also known as chi and incorporates deep breathing and stretching. Chinese shamans, Taoists and Buddhist monks originally practiced qigong thousands of years ago as a way to seek peace and harmony with nature.
The Difference between Qigong and Tai Chi
A lot of people confuse qigong and tai chi, but they are different. Tai chi connects a series of movements much like a dance, while qigong is just simple and gentle movements done individually. The movements are easy, but it works both the body and mind to their fullest potential.
37 Qigong Benefits
If you can incorporate some qigong movements into your daily morning routine after waking, you can start reaping the rewards. You can start with a short routine that won’t take more than a few minutes. Towards the bottom of this post, you’ll find a couple of easy to follow qigong routines, one standing and one sitting that can get you started.
Below are 37 qigong benefits you can experience by practicing this gentle mind-body exercise.
Qigong Benefits for Mental Health
- Reduces stress. Qigong is an exercise that works both the body and the mind. As you chi flows through practice, your mind and body begin to relax and as you being to relax, your stress reduces.
- Balances emotions. As your stress reduces, your emotions become balanced and you’re able to develop a clear and tranquil mind. These benefits can help those suffering from depression and anxiety.
- Improves overall well-being. Because qigong strengthens the body and the mind, a regular practice will give you an improved sense of well-being.
- Increases focus. Studies of qigong practitioners have found a boost in beta waves which indicate a strong focus and sharpening of the mind.
- Improves memory. Given that qigong sharpens our focus, it helps to improve our memory.
- Improves quality of life for cancer patients. Studies have shown that qigong can help improve the quality of life for cancer patients by helping to reduce stress and fatigue. It has also helped with improving sleep, balance and strength.
- Increased Energy and Vitality. Qigong improves chi flow which naturally leads to increased energy and vitality.
Qigong Benefits for Physical Health
- Aids in digestion. Your digestive organs get massaged during this practice which brings more oxygenated blood to them. This improves the overall function of the digestive system.
- Builds bone density. Studies have shown increase in bone density amongst qigong practitioners, most noticeably in post-menopausal women.
- Builds the immune system. A study conducted showed that practicing qigong increased the monocyte and lymphocyte quantities which are 2 white blood cell types that make up most of the lymphatic immune system.
- Builds power. Qigong is an internal art that builds “relaxed power”. Instead of fighting and straining like in traditional western exercises, it loosens you up and allows the energy to flow.
- Clears your skin. Practicing qigong allows your body to eliminate toxins which in turn, gives you a clearer complexion.
- Lowers blood pressure. In a 30 year study, researchers found that qigong practitioners were able to decrease their blood pressure medication or get off the blood pressure drugs altogether.
- Decreases stroke risk. In the same blood pressure study, researchers also found that these same qigong practitioners enjoyed a reduced risk of stroke.
- Destroys free radicals. In a study done on healthy individuals and individual suffering from a variety of diseases, the concentration of free radicals was dramatically reduced for all individuals through qigong treatment.
- Improves sleep. The deep relaxation and mental quiet you get from practicing qigong help you to enjoy a deeper and more restorative sleep.
- Slows respiration. Practicing qigong over the long term slows down breathing. This slowing of the respiration allows us to take in more oxygen.
- Improves asthma. An added benefit of slowing down the breathing is that qi blockages in the lungs are relieved. It’s believed that these qi blockages are the root cause of asthma.
- Improves cardio-pulmonary function. The slow deep breathing of qigong strengthens both the heart and the lungs.
- Improves circulation. By increasing the elasticity of the blood vessels, the practice of qigong helps to improve circulation.
- Improves flexibility. The movements of qigong have been shown to increase the flexibility of its practitioners.
- Improves kidney function. Qigong has an exercise that targets the kidneys. It stimulates the qi within the kidneys which allows them to heal in patients with chronic kidney disease.
- Improves posture. The muscles used for respiration are also the muscles that support the posture. Because of qigong’s focus on correct deep and relaxed breathing, the posture is also improved.
- Improves skin elasticity. Free radicals are a major cause of tissue degeneration and because qigong destroys free radicals, it helps to improve skin elasticity.
- Increases balance. Due to qigong’s low impact deliberate movements, it can help to improve the practitioners balance.
- Speeds recovery. One can practice qigong after injury or surgery. Doing the gentle movements using your uninjured parts can help speed recovery by increasing circulation and energy flow to all parts of the body.
- Loosens muscles. As qigong builds relaxed power, it helps to loosen the muscles.
- Lowers resting heart rate. A study of a 12-week qigong training program and at the conclusion, the qigong practitioners experienced a significantly improved heart rate.
- Normalizes EKG. Deliberate control of the autonomic nervous system which regulates the heart rate helps to normalize the EKG.
- Prevents joint injury. The better balance you learn from practicing qigong teaches you how to move without straining or locking your joints. It’s gentle stretches which increase flexibility are also helpful for preventing joint injury.
- Prevents muscle spasms. As mentioned earlier, qigong also helps to develop slow and deep breathing which opens constricted blood vessels. This process helps to reduce muscle spasms.
- Reduces pain. Pain is often associated with qi blockages. Practicing qigong removes those blockages, allowing for the flow of qi which reduces pain.
- Relieves bronchitis. A regular qigong practice can relieve bronchitis because it opens and strengthens the lungs.
- Relieves migraines. Another great qigong benefit is that it can help to relieve migraines by building deep relaxing, strengthening organs and bringing back internal balance.
- Accessible to the seriously ill and bedridden. A wide assortment of people with a wide variety of physical capabilities can practice qigong because it is a very gentle practice. A person in a weakened condition can perform these exercises sitting or lying down and it’ll enable him or her to strengthen her body and internal organs.
- Strengthens ligaments. In the same way that it strengthens joints, qigong can strengthen ligaments.
- Strengthens nerves. Qi (or chi) flows along the nerves and qigong’s techniques strengthens the mind-body connection. With continued qigong practice, body awareness grows, putting us in touch with our nervous system. This in turn makes our nerves stronger.
4 Minute Standing Qigong Routine
Try this 4 minute qigong routine to get started experiencing qigong’s health benefits. The movements are very simple and gentle; perfect for beginners. Here is the link for this video if you’re unable to view it on this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaEZVfhn07o&feature=youtu.be
Sitting Qigong Routine
If you’re uncomfortable standing, try doing a sitting qigong routine seen in the video below. Here is the link for this video if you’re unable to view it on this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P3INdTkBII&feature=youtu.be
As you can see, qigong has quite a few benefits. Old, young and even the bedridden can experience improved mental and physical health by practicing this gentle art. If you’ve been practicing yourself, please share your experiences and any qigong benefits you’ve experienced first-hand in the comments below.
Please be aware: We are not medical professionals and this post is not intended to be professional medical advice. The information on this post and website are intended for informational purposes only. If you have any health concerns, please see a medical professional.