.: A Definition :.
Qigong is a mind-body discipline. It recombines what several hundred years of western medicine has carefully separated. As a result of the effectiveness of Qigong and other energy-based therapies (e.g. see D. Benor, M.D.’s Energy Medicine for the Internist), western medicine and scientists are beginning to realize that a person’s state of mind can affect their health. This should come as no surprise since according to the Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 report, seventy percent of diseases can be prevented, and other research shows that seventy to ninety percent of illness is due to stress.
Up until recently, placebos and “psychosomatic” illnesses were dismissed as byproducts of “legitimate” therapies, usually involving drugs, or made up problems that had no real physical basis or effect upon a person’s health. Not anymore. It’s been proven without a doubt that mental state can and does affect your health. Candace Pert’s ground-breaking Molecules of Emotion describes the genesis of an entirely new discipline in the field of neuroscience and medical biology: Psychoneuroimmunology, the interaction of the mind, body, emotions, and the immune system via the body’s own internal chemical signaling system. Understanding the combination of the protein-receptor cellular level communication mechanism (the endocrine system) and psychoneuroimmunology is the goal of psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology. Endocrinology is the study of the protein-based chemical communcation system that controls the body’s physiological processes. These processes are set in motion by a feedback system based upon energy where environmental signals affect molecular activity in the body. There is increasing evidence of the efficacy of mind-body therapies.
.: Currently :.
Modern science has demonstrated that electromagnetic fields of the body are generated during various biological processes, including rapid cell division; during natural growth processes, such as growth of bone cells; as well as following fracture, intense nervous activity associated with mental processes, and various pathological conditions, such as abnormal cell growth with diseases like cancer. The distinction between conservative medical practitioners and the new proponents of energy medicine is summed up well by one of the early researchers in the field, Dr. Glen Rein (1992), who wrote:
It is now well known that the human body emits a broad spectrum of electromagnetic and acoustic radiation. Traditional medicine looks at these as by-products of biochemical reactions in the body. They are not considered by most biomedical researchers to be involved with the basic functioning (or healing) of the body. The basic tenet of energy medicine is that these fields are not only involved with functioning of the physical/chemical body but regulate these processes. (p. 7).
For an excellent introduction to the history of Energy Medicine and how it is starting to play a fundamental role in the delivery of 21st Century medicine, read an excerpt from Energy Psychology.
REad More @ Qigong Institute
.: Futrhermore :.
The July/August issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion, 77 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on Qigong or Tai Chi interventions showed that these practices offer many physical and mental health advantages with benefits for the heart, immune system and overall quality of life. Published in peer-reviewed journals between 1993 and 2007 there were 6,410 combined participants in the studies.
“We see this as moving the understanding of the potential of Qigong and Tai Chi forward, with an emphasis on combining the evidence across these practices,” said co-author Linda Larkey, Ph.D., of Arizona State University College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation. The authors say that the review provides a “stronger evidence base” for bone health, cardio-respiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and psychological benefits. Qigong is a “very general term to describe exercises that will enhance qi flow or balance,” said Shin Lin, Ph.D., a professor at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. Qigong combines “qi” for energy and “gong” for work or exercise.
Tai Chi is much more specific, focusing on a series of 24 to 108 movements that have a long written history over 19 generations, said Lin, a member of the National Advisory Council for Complimentary and Alterative Medicine
“The research studies reviewed here showed that simplified routines that are more practical for RCTs are in fact quite effective in health enhancement.” With that in mind, individuals could “forego learning complicated routines except for cultural or artistic purposes,” said Lin, who had no affiliation with the review. Of the studies analyzed 27 considered psychological symptoms, 23 looked at falls and related risk factors, 19 looked at cardiopulmonary effects and 17 evaluated quality of life. Other included studies looked at bone density, physical function and immune function. Participants’ average age was 55, and for studies that looked at balance, 80 was the average age.Larkey said that there was not a way to “combine the studies statistically and determine effect sizes that is, how strong the evidence is for many of the outcomes reviewed since the interventions, study design quality and measures were so wide ranging.”
Nevertheless, she said, the authors found quite consistent evidence of several benefits from this particular category of exercise.
“Tai Chi and Qigong have many health benefits and therefore should be considered a high priority when one is selecting an exercise to practice,” Lin said.
Jahnke R, et al. A comprehensive review of health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi.Am J Health Promot 24(6), 2010.