Relaxes the Nervous System
Qigong is designed to relax the nervous system. The modern world is fast paced and through TVs, computers, and other electronic devices the body, mind and eyes are continuously stimulated and stressed. The constant electronic stimulation and other traumas from earlier experiences, often keep the body in a stressed out state of being. This can unconsciously stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (flight-flight) survival response and trigger its related stressful responses, including adrenaline and cortisol releases in our body. Unused adrenalin and cortisol can remain in muscles and over time may cause them to become hard and painful.
Qigong can serve as an effective counterbalance by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is associated with the body’s ability to relax, rest and release tension. In addition, qigong can move the fluids of the body which helps release and break up unreleased adrenalin and cortisol.
Breathing with the Diaphragm
Qigong uses diaphragmatic breathing with the intention to fully engage the lungs, massage the internal organs and relax and release tension in the surrounding tissues. Breathing should be relaxed and easy. To find a true master at the art of breathing become aware of how a baby breathes. Notice how relaxed they are and how their bellies and entire bodies move in rhythm with their breath.
In qigong, the mind set is focused on relaxing into alignment. The pain experienced in a standing or other position is simply the body’s way of communicating an alignment is not true and a clue as to where the weak link in our body may be. When the natural alignments of the body are true and integrated, sitting and standing can become easy and effortless.
Moving Fascia and Other Soft Tissues Efficiently Within the Body
As kinesthetic sensitivities develop qigong practices can help to integrate the movement of fascia and other soft tissues more efficiently within the body. Fascia is the thin sheet that holds muscles together and what also allows muscles to either move easily or get stuck. The next time you see a chicken breast look closely and you can see the thin wrap around the muscle. When the fascia is open and moving freeing muscles move with ease, when the fascia is tangled and stuck together muscles and other parts of the body can become constricted, do not move with ease and pain may result. Many times when people are experiencing muscle pain or tension it is simply the fascia that needs to be released.
Opening and Closing Joints
Further development of kinesthetic sensitivities within qigong can help to activate and integrate the natural pulsation of joints in the body. The space between bones is called the joint. When functioning properly joints have a natural springy function which help pump fluids throughout the body, absorbs shock and supports optimal body alignments. When the joints in our body are aligned and integrated, their natural pumping function can be restored.
The benefits of qigong can manifest through a regular and continuous practice. Over time, breathing can be improved, nerves can relax, kinesthetic sensitivities can be increased, body alignments can improve and soft tissues and joints can work in an integrative and efficient manner to provide the opportunity for optimal healing to the body. While it's not possilbe to provide any guarantees, in time the body can awaken and feel more alive.
The literal meaning of the word qigong is energy work. Qigong focus on how to to move energy (life force) smoothly through the body. The premise is if the qi in our bodies is blocked then we can experience pain, illness and many other negative states of being. When our qi is moving freely and smoothly we do not experience pain and the natural healing process of the body is more easily able to do its job.
From an anatomical and physiological perspective some of the ways qigong practices can support the natural healing process of the body is by focusing on the following:
Bringing Awareness to the Body
Qigong practices are designed to help bring awareness and attention to what is happening inside our body. It is extremely difficult to fix anything if we are completely unaware that it is happening. The first step to healing is recognizing that something needs to be healed. Qigong practices can provide the opportunity to take a pause from the nonstop activity in the world around us and to kinesthetically connect to and feel what our body needs for healing.
* Disclosure: Although I use the word "healing", the services I offer are not to be considered the practice of medicine, psychotherapy, or any other licensed healthcare practice. Please see my for more information.