Chigong refers to any number of movement sets or standing postures which serve as both physical exercise and meditation. They can be strictly health related or an integral part of Chinese martial arts (neigong) as seen most notably in Taijiquan (tai chi), and Baguazhang, and Hsing Yi Chuan.
In Chinese medicine, Chigong circulates and generates Chi energy to the vital organs and channel pathways to increase health and vitality. If acupuncture is akin to fine tuning the body’s circuitry, and herbs are like charging the battery, Chigong would be like increasing the voltage that propels Chi through the body. It is not uncommon to feel parts of the body heat up and extremities start “buzzing” when doing Chigong.
Chigong is both a self practice for health and a system of energy therapy to help others.
But what if you don’t believe in Chi or energy? That’s okay too – you don’t have to. Some acupuncturists believe the word “Chi” has been mistranslated; they state it would be more accurately defined as “function”. So when we’re talking about the Chi of the lungs, we’re talking how well the lungs are functioning…and how we can improve that function.
So what are the functions Chigong improves? According to a comprehensive review published by the National Institute for Health, consistent Chigong practice improved bone density in post menopausal women, cardiopulmonary function, physical function, immune and anti-inflammatory effects, balance, self efficacy, psychological health, and quality of life. The fact that all these benefits can contained in one exercise is a time saver to say the least.
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I have been practicing Chigong for 25 years. Consequently, I have accumulated several Chigongs for different conditions. Chigong exercises can be prescribed and taught to patients who require or wish to assist their healing process.
There is also a branch of Chigong involving a practitioner using Chi to facilitate healing of a patient. This is known as medical Chigong (as opposed to self healing Chigong). I practice medical Chigong in conjunction with Brennan Healing Science and Matrix Energetics.