Qigong is a traditional Chinese practice comprising meditation, controlled breathing, and gentle movements to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It’s a portmanteau of two Chinese terms, Qi, meaning vital energy, and Gong, meaning cultivation or mastery. Therefore, Qigong translates to ‘mastery of energy.’
Like Tai Chi, many believe that Qigong is a remedy for numerous health complications, such as chronic fatigue, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, insomnia, etc. However, science doesn’t back these claims.
Despite the lack of proof, many people are practising Qigong. This article discusses various Qigong meditation techniques and their benefits.
Qigong Meditation Techniques
The two techniques in Qigong meditation are active (yang) and passive (ying). Active or dynamic Qigong prioritises controlled movements. On the other hand, passive methods emphasise controlled breathing and maintaining a still posture. Some characteristics shared across the two techniques include controlled breathing, maintaining posture, relaxation, and visualisation.
You can practise active or passive Qigong at home or at the therapist’s office. However, most people prefer meditating at home, alone.
As the name suggests, this technique encourages activity and vibrancy. It focuses on voluntary movements and breathing to boost your energy.
Meditation involves repeated body movements. Mediation instructors claim that coordinated body movements improve muscle flexibility and balance while draining lymphatic and blood vessels.
You can mistake active Qigong for yoga, as the two meditation techniques share some qualities. Both encourage voluntary movement. However, yoga emphasises stretching and holding poses, whereas dynamic Qigong involves repeating activities until positive yang energy reaches every part of your body.
While active Qigong focuses on mastering physical energy, passive Qigong seeks to cultivate mental energy through controlled breaths and stillness. Essentially, your body remains motionless as your mind processes thoughts to generate and harness the power of yin energy.
The two main types of passive Qigong are mental focusing (ru king) and visualisation (cunsi). You can practise passive Qigong while lying down, sitting, or standing. Some claim that standing increases power and vitality during meditation.
Alternatively, you can perform deep breaths to intensify your passive meditation sessions. This technique is called embryonic breathing.
The Benefits of Qigong Meditation
Qigong meditation has several benefits. Some have scientific backing, while others don’t. They include:
· Improved Balance
Qigong mediation improves muscular strength, flexibility, and balance by focusing on controlled, repetitive body movements. Research shows that its practitioners significantly improve balance and gait 12 weeks after starting.
· Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Like other meditation practices, Qigong reduces stress and anxiety. The calmness during controlled breathing eases your tension and slows down the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which responds to stressful thoughts. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
· Lowers the Risk of Chronic Illnesses
Qigong meditation alleviates the symptoms of heart disease and diabetes. However, doctors believe that more research is needed before the practice is used to treat chronic conditions.
· Improves Focus
The rising cost of living and other stresses affect people’s focus in today’s world. You can improve your concentration through regular practice.
Although some of its benefits lack scientific backing, Qigong mediation is helpful to its practitioners. It enhances overall health and lowers the risk of disease. More importantly, it doesn’t require expensive resources to start.