For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine has practiced and enjoyed Qigong health benefits, but these relaxing methods may go beyond general well being and expand into help with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and many other mental disorders as well. These psychological benefits of Qigong are not just an emotional response in our heads. They have been backed with clinical studies.
What is Qigong?
Qigong, pronounced “Chee gung”, is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been around for thousands of years. While the practice is intricate and some aspects are highly recommended to be done only under the guidance of an experienced Qigong Master, in brief, it is about energy flow along meridians, energy channels, throughout the body. The thought is that when a meridian is blocked, healing energy cannot flow. Qigong attempts to unblock this healthy flow of energy. The use of flowing movements, energy, and breathing brings the body into harmony with exercises that are similar to Tai Chi. There are two types of Qigong – internal and external, or emission.
The practice consists of steps that include meditating, cleansing, strengthening or recharging, circulating, and dispersing by using movements, meditations, and sounds. The slow movements and meditative state used with Qigong has been linked to more relaxed breathing, which in turn alter the autonomic system to restore health and balance throughout the autonomic nervous and other systems in the body. When it comes to mental health, Qigong approaches it as a disharmony of yin and yang. The belief is that our energy systems function well when yin and yang are harmonized.
Qigong and depression
Depression and anxiety are among some of the most common ailments where Qigong offers benefits for mental health. Clinical studies associate the use of Qigong with many beneficial effects on psychological well-being, especially reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some highly respected medical studies clearly reveal the benefits of Qigong on depression.
In the western world, clinical depression is often treated with anti-depressants and counseling. While this may seem to help some, there is evidence revealed in an extensive study that only half of those taking medication for depression are relieved of their symptoms. With approximately 18 million Americans reported to suffer from depression, this means that more than 9 million continue to see no relief with mediation. The other half may want to turn to alternative practices like Qigong that uses a series of meditative exercises and physical movements to relax and bring the entire body back into harmony.
Qigong and Anxiety
PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other issues that deal with panic and anxiety has been on the rise in recent years with a reported 6.8 Million Americans dealing with some form of debilitating anxiety. The good news is that medical findings are discovering that Qigong for mental health may be a viable solution.
Additional mental health help
Qigong has and can be used on complex psychological disorders such as schizophrenia or psychotic behavior, but it is highly recommended that it be used under the guidance of a trained and experienced Qigong Master for these types of issues. In these cases, emission, also known as external, Qigong is recommended.
Overall health benefits of Qigong
One of the added bonuses that goes hand-in-hand with Qigong is the trickling results to the entire body. It may help alleviate stress, which in return could reduce blood pressure and result in healthier lifestyles. Since, at the very least, the practice of Qigong tends to relieve stress and promote relaxation, it only makes sense that the lingering and long-term results would also affect other areas of overall health in a positive way.
Though the practice is typically considered to be very safe and beneficial, make sure you are under the guidance of someone who has undergone medical Qigong training.
Want more advice from our fully trained and highly skilled Qigong instructors, or a partner in care to provide hands-on help for all your mental issue? Qigong is more than exercise, It’s a healing practice for the body. Our Qigong training is an excellent way to maintain your mind, heal your body, and reconnect with your spirit. For inquiries and to register for classes, please call us at +1 206-290-6072.
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Research and reports on the health benefits of Qigong:
Mental Disorders – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917559/
Abbott R, Lavretsky H. Tai Chi and Qigong for the Treatment and Prevention of Mental Disorders. Complementary and Integrative Therapies for Psychiatric Disorders 2013;36(1):109-119. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2013.01.011 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0193953X13000129
Qigong and suicide prevention – Ismail K, Tsang HW. Qigong and suicide prevention. Br J Psychiatry 2003;Mar, 182:266-267
Depression in the elderly – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12461764Tsang HW, Mok CK, Au Yeung YT, Chan SY. The effect of Qigong on general and psychosocial health of elderly with chronic physical illnesses: a randomized clinical trial. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2003;May, 18(5):441-449