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Qi Gong is 1 of the 5 branches of Chinese Medicine. The others are Acupuncture, Pharmacopoeia, Dietetics, Massages. Practicing Qi Gong (QG) helps maintaining and improving the health of the “body-mind” as a whole. With time, practicing even only some few simple basics, will bring positive effects on your global condition, provided that you ensure to be regular, moderate and persistent.
The Chinese ideogram is made of 2 elements.
Gong: both the actual technical training and the goal we aim at when practicing
Qi: energy, “breath of life”
The quotation marks suggest the difficulty to translate with accuracy into just one single Western word the Eastern concept of «Qi» which includes several notions whose the two most obvious, vitality and breathing, give only an incomplete idea.
Hiria Ottino, TCM pratician, anthropologist and sinologist, writes for the Larousse Dictionary of Chinese Medicine:
«Qi is the fundamental material substance, or simply, the essence that, by the impulse of its energy, allows animated or inanimate «things» and all living organisms in the world to exist and develop in the forms in which they occur».
Overall, QG therefore consists of technical work to develop the level of mastery of the energy.
It includes mainly 3 types of exercises:
Most exercises have a very colorful or poetic name that helps us to visualize and develop the perception of the Qi movements during- and beyond- the practice.
The flow of Qi has never been measured nor quantified by official science but it is nevertheless concretely perceived and experienced when our QG practice allows body/Jing, breathing/Qi and mind focus/Yi to converge in such a way that it creates a very natural state felt as being harmonius and peaceful.
We thus feel more at one within and with the world around us.
The slow undulating and flowing movements of QG helps the body-mind to relax, thus increasing both our strength and our focus.
Regular, moderate and persistent QG practice progressively permeates our daily life improving our resistance to stress, our sense of balance, our level of activity, our creativity and our inner joy.
Qi Gong is a way of creating good health in its broadest sense:
Gentler than Tai Ji, Qi Gong, is often used as warm-up and/or relaxation, before and/or after the Tai Ji practice.
But Qi Gong by itself is mostly valued for its holistic healing virtues: beyond the mere teaching offered all over the world, there are medical Qi Gong therapists and clinics.
It also supports one’s inner growth: body-mind balance, self-knowledge, meditation, spiritual awakening.