Qigong is an ancient form of exercise and meditation, aimed at enhancing the immune system and cultivating the body’s flow of energy, or Qi (pronounced Chi). Gong means to train, refine, or practice. So Qigong refers to the refinement of Qi. Qigong heals the body and centers the mind, using movement, breathing and sounds to improve flexibility and circulation, and to reduce stress. Many different forms of Qigong are practiced, from the meditative to the rigorous.
History of Qigong
The exact origins of Qigong are not known, simply because it is such an ancient form of exercise. What is known is that Qigong originated in China, thousands of years ago – before the birth of Christ. The earliest written record of Qigong-like exercises being practiced is from the Chou dynasty, between 1100 and 221 BC.
Philosophy of Qigong
There are more than 3,300 different forms and styles of Qigong, each with their own specific philosophy. However, the basic philosophy shared between the various practices of Qigong is that the Universe’s energies flow through all things, including humans. This energy can become unbalanced or stagnant, causing sickness and disharmony. When our energies are flowing as they should be, the result is happiness and health.
Getting Started with Qigong
Before learning the exercises, it is important to learn how to breathe correctly (most people breathe improperly!). Qigong exercises begin with meditation, to warm-up and relax the body. This is done through deep breathing and sometimes the visualization of light and energy (qi).
Once the meditation has been completed, you will be led through a series of poses, stretches and exercises. These will vary depending on which form of Qigong you are practicing.
Qigong can be practiced as often as you wish. Many people like to start most days by practicing Qigong, as it can relieve stiffness and improve mental acuity for the day ahead. You can practice Qigong anytime you wish, however, it is said that the best times to do so are:
- 11PM to 1AM
Qigong instructor training can be done by taking a 100-hour course, either in person or by correspondence. Medical Qigong instructor/healer instruction is also available. This course is more rigorous and qualifies the graduate to heal as well as teach Qigong.
Qigong can be practiced in a group, or at home. Instructional videos are available for around $30 each. Various training centers offer daily Qigong classes, which you can take when you wish, or you can take a daylong workshop to learn the movements. The cost ranges from $15 - $40 dollars. Most facilities will offer a discounted rate if you purchase several classes at once. Many insurance companies will cover Qigong as an alternative therapy – check with your insurance provider to see if it’s covered by your plan.
How Qigong can help Fibromyalgia Symptoms
By improving breathing and posture, and stretching out the body, Qigong can help to improve the following fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Breathing Issues
- Myofacial pain
- Sleep Disorders