Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers the whole person (mind, physical body, and spirit) when addressing health. It is grounded in the laws of nature and understands that our body can heal itself.
We are inherently whole, and we respond to the environment around us. TCM practitioners observe how the body balances the nervous system’s physical response to create functional balance in the body.
Acupuncture is used to address the root cause of what is out of balance in our bodies, and by adding Qigong to our routines, we can amplify the effects of acupuncture treatments.
Qi (vital energy/life force) gong (skill cultivated through steady practice) is a broad term used to describe various training paths that all have inherent benefits but differ in methodology. These paths focus on many topics and can be grouped into health, clinical, martial, and spiritual categories.
Qigong is rooted in Taoist philosophy and TCM, and it is estimated to have been around for over 5,000 years. It is a mind-body-spirit practice that integrates posture, movement, breathing, sound, self-massage, and focused intent.
There are thousands of Qigong styles across Chinese culture, each with its philosophy about movement and energy. One of the central ideas behind Qigong is that discomfort and sickness are a symptom of imbalanced energy within a person.
Qigong helps activate qi to correct energy imbalances, massages internal organs, promotes circulation and regulates body function. It involves doing repetitive movements that stretch, strengthen, balance, increase circulation of bodily fluids, and build awareness of how the body moves.
Through these movements, the flow of energy through the meridians is opened, the same meridians that are used in acupuncture.
Qigong can have tremendous effects on physical and psychological health. Some benefits include and are not limited to:
Cardiovascular and pulmonary function
Various studies showed that Qigong significantly reduced blood pressure when compared to an inactive control
In 2004, a study found improvements in several immune-related blood markers after a one month Qigong training intervention compared to usual care
In response to flu vaccinations, antibody levels were found to be significantly increased in a group that practiced Qigong compared to a non-active group
Interleukin-6, a marker for inflammation, was regulated in response to Qigong compared to a non-active group
Somatic symptoms (physical symptoms that are a result of stress or anxiety)
Qigong is potentially linked to improving sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, reducing heart rate variability and overall heart rate
Improves quality of life
Quality of life is measured as a person’s perceived physical health, psychological state, personal beliefs, social relationships, and romantic relationships to relevant features of their environment
Several studies across a diverse group of participants (including healthy adults, patients with cancer, post-stroke, and arthritis) found that Qigong improved at least one aspect of life compared to non-active groups.
Self-efficacy is defined as the confidence someone feels when performing tasks and behaviors and their perceived ability to overcome barriers associated with performing them
This was significantly improved after performing Qigong as compared to a non-exercise group, especially in respect to the perception of ability to handle stress or novel experiences.
Reduces stress biomarkers
A study focused on observing biomarkers related to stress responses found that norepinephrine, epinephrine, and blood cortisol levels were significantly decreased in response to Qigong compared to a non-exercise group
If Qigong sounds like something you want to try, there are many ways to get involved. Here in Salt Lake City, Sifu Toni Lock is currently teaching Qigong virtually to students who want to learn. Sifu (“See-fu”) means teacher in Chinese.
Sifu Lock began studying T’ai Chi and Qigong in the fall of 1997, with Master Sifu Jerry Gardner, co-owner of Red Lotus School of Movement. In January of 2009, she earned the title of Sifu and promised to share and teach T’ai Chi and Qigong for the rest of her life.
“Whether you aren’t sleeping, you’re stressed, diagnosed, divorced, whatever you are healing from – give this a chance. It’s a moving meditation that helps us move in life. The practice teaches you to be strong but soft, living with soft edges,” said Sifu Lock, in an interview with CATALYST magazine (#6)
Follow the links below to sign up for virtual Qigong classes:
Chi Moments – Sifu Lock’s website
Red Butte Garden – Classes running during February 2021, Tuesday Evenings from 6:30PM – 7:30PM
Mountain Yoga Sandy – Sunday’s at 11:00AM
Huntsman Cancer Institute – Open to HCI patients, staff, caregivers, and University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics staff and faculty.
If you are interested in diving deeper into how Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can support you, call Rachel at (801) 903-3905 to ask questions and set up an appointment.
Disclaimer: This guide is not a replacement for regular medical care or intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease; it is meant to support in addition to your standard wellness checkups with your doctor. Always seek your physician’s advice or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health-related program. If you are experiencing persistent and or life-threatening symptoms, contact your doctor right away or dial 9-1-1.