What is medical qi gong?
Medical Qi gong is a gentle exercise system that involves smooth, rhythmic movements to retrain the body and the sensori-motor cortex (the part of our brain that maps our movements and sensations). Qi gong teaches us to move our bodies in a fluid motion minimizing the risk of injury while maintaining balance and focus. Qi gong can be used to strengthen the mind-body connection, assisting in downregulation of the nervous system. Qi gong can assist in the healing of many conditions such as: back pain, joint pain, neck pain, arthritis, anxiety, insomnia and stress.
Qi gong’s gentle movements are non-invasive and benefit the body by stretching and strengthening muscles, improving balance, flexibility and reducing inflammation within joints. Breathing techniques in Qi gong emphasize slow breathing deep within the diaphragm with a relaxed posture and straight spine. These breathing exercises calm the body, reducing stress, tension and anxiety. Qi gong is an exercise for individuals of all fitness levels. Its gentle movements and deep breathing may allow it to sometimes feel effortless. The slow movements are controlled and easy to learn and follow. As with all body retraining exercises, especially those focused on retraining the sensori-motor cortex (or the sensation and movement maps on the brain), completing a pre-exercise and post-exercise comparison is the best way to practice Qi gong. Qi gong students can feel immediate benefits as they complete this pre- and post-exercise comparison.
Many of the common moves within a Qi gong practice are performed in a standing position. However, most moves can be modified and performed while in a seated position. Thus, individuals with health issues, those in wheelchairs, those unable to stand, or senior patients recovering from injury, can modify the practice and perform it in a seated position, with great benefit.
Finally, Qi Gong is a novel, fun and interesting exercise program that provides new information to the nervous system. When movement is threatening for your patients, Qi gong allows you to address these movement problems in a new and interesting way with out any preconceived success or failure. We operate via prediction (see The McGurk effect), so when we participate in a ‘novel” exercise program, especially one as gentle and effective as Qi gong, then our nervous systems are given the chance to “re-map” the sensori-motor cortex, decreasing the need for protection (tension) in that body part.
The Qi gong routines featured on this website have been adapted and interwoven with imagery exercises to address sensori-motor smudging. There are four routines including:
Upper Qi gong
Lower Qi gong
Organ Qi gong
Breathing Qi gong
Each routine has been created based on the ability of each exercise to address and re-map the majority of the neural pathways of that part of the body, and the major movements of that body quadrant.
If further routines are desired, Lee Holden, a Qi gong master, has created lovely Qi gong routines for stress, sleep, back pain, digestive concerns and more. His DVD routines can be purchased at www.leeholden.com