All of which provide necessary information and feedback about ourselves and the world we inhabit. Much of the anxiety, stress, restlessness , and depression that plague us today are caused by being disconnected from our bodies. Humans no longer have instincts in the animal sense, powerful, unmistakable inner voices which tell them unequivocally what to do, when, where, how and with whom. Deciding only with our thoughts—without consciously connecting with our instincts, feelings, and intuitions—has dire consequences for both individuals and our species.
But borrowing methods like Zhan Zhuang we have the opportunity to reforge our mind with our body. They reconnected with their instincts by observing nature. These inner alchemists learned how to cultivate the natural energy inborn in all biological systems. Although there are thousands of forms of Qigong, most of them use a derivative of Zhan Zhuang as a foundational practice.
As the name implies, Zhan Zhuang is a standing practice where one stands still, in an upright posture, as if standing like a tree. It offers many of the mental benefits of mindfulness training. In Chinese medicine, there are eight vessels, twelve primary chi channels, and thousands of secondary channels branching out from the primary ones.
Yu Yong Nian. I spent over 15 years slouched over a book or keyboard before I started this practice when I was about After about six months of practice, almost all of this pain disappeared. By learning to bring some of your awareness to this region, you begin integrating your body with your mind. This helps you reconnect with your instincts and your gut feelings, leading to clearer thinking to make effective decisions.
It took me many months. As the practice progressed, I could isolate tension in different regions of my body and release them. This process continues still, years later. You stand still. Our cylinder is upright. This upright posture frees our forelimbs for grasping and manipulating nature. Zhan Zhuang practice makes systematic improvements in our ability to maintain proper equilibrium. This quality is found in babies. The next time you encounter a baby, pull their hands, arms and legs gently now!
Elasticity significantly increases the range of motion in your joints, spine and internal organs. It allows optimum movement within the joints and between the vertebrae of the spine. Constantly pulling and releasing the ligaments inside your body causes the natural and healthy movement of internal organs. It also massages them and makes them springier. Together these actions enhance blood and fluid flows, which are important factors in determining your health.
As elasticity increases, so too does the spiraling of energy. This movement causes the joints and spinal vertebrae to constantly pulse so that the spaces within them continually shrink and grow. Pulsing stimulates the flow of fluids inside the joints and between and within your vertebrae. Chinese call this pulsing action opening and closing.
This rhythmic movement keeps the soft tissues of the joints flexible and elastic. Arthritis and the loss of mobility and flexibility can make you prone to injury, or harden the ligaments. In contrast, keeping the body elastic and the fluids moving strongly in your joints helps you avoid many of the problems associated with aging. Bagua and tai chi train the entire body to move in a flowing, coordinated and continuous manner without abrupt starts or stops. Both arts create a smooth continuum of unceasing flow, much like a pendulum. They promote flow externally in your physical movements and internally within all the parts of your body—organs, ligaments, tendons, tissues, fluids and muscles.
Most people start out being very clunky and jerky with their movements: starting, stopping, freezing and beginning again. Ultimately, the ability to find the flow requires that all parts of your body—especially your nerves—are very relaxed.
Qigong is the latest health and fitness craze I won’t be trying | The Independent
Relaxation is necessary so that the flow of your fluids can be fairly smooth and circulate in an unrestricted way throughout your body. Chi flow in the body must also be reasonably smooth and balanced. This flow rarely comes from pure physical athleticism. Almost all athletes want to develop whole-body movement. The whole-body movements of bagua and tai chi are primarily generated from deep inside your body—reaching from the tips of your toes and fingers to the crown of your head. Tai chi movements are initiated from deep inside the hips and belly, and move through all the systems from the toes to fingers to head.
Bagua and tai chi train your body to move in any direction completely unimpeded. Your body can become like a piece of silk that moves absolutely smoothly as it flutters in the wind. Practicing bagua and tai chi can make your arms very heavy, literally with the strength of iron. Yet paradoxically, when they move with almost lightning speed, they look and feel virtually weightless and light.
All these qualities become simultaneously trained inside you as you practice bagua and tai chi. Their positive, regenerating effects are like circles coming in and moving out of circles that increase in size and strength. As your nervous system relaxes, the other body systems connected to your nervous system are continually upgraded, which in turn helps relax the nerves even more. If you are exceptionally healthy and fit, then you may use the skills you acquire from fitness-orientated bagua or tai chi to excel in high performance, whether in business, athletics, energy arts or anything on which you focus your intent.
Still, at 73, I can still move quite well and have managed to mitigate many years of beer, pipe tobacco and whiskey by my practice. These guys are the perfect example of strong people with bad health. They ruin their bodies quick. Excellent article. Simple and on point though, so everyone can understand. Well done friend and thank you cuz i can spread the word. Your email address will not be published. Western and Taoist Concepts of Exercise Western paradigms mistakenly lead people to believe that the only way to improve health is through high-intensity, high-impact aerobic exercises.
Health versus Fitness Traditional Chinese Medicine has long made a distinction between health and fitness. The Ideal Body The Western ideal of a healthy person is the Olympian athlete, standing tall and fully muscled. The more relaxed you are, the more energy you have. The Primary Positive Effects of Training Here are just a few of the many benefits of tai chi and bagua training: Release and Relax the Nervous System Anxiety and stress that leach into most people are due to habits of tension that lie deeply within the nerves of the body.
Where there is blood, there is life. As such, the potential effectiveness of traditional mind and body harmony exercises, Tai Chi, Health Qigong, and Yoga, on treating PD was studied by some of researchers [ 29 , 30 ]. The characteristics of Tai Chi and Health Qigong are slow, coherent, and aerobic low-intensity exercises that can relax body and mind. Tai Chi and Qigong are treated as a style of Chinese martial arts incorporating meditation, breathing, and physical movement. Exercising Tai Chi and Qigong serves many functions: relaxing body and mind, inducing pleasure and satiety, recharging metabolism, improving heart functions and slowing heart rates, and reducing blood pressure.
Used as physiotherapy, they have always been an essential part of Chinese traditional herbal medicine [ 31 ]. Some scholars think that Qigong emerged from methods used by the ancient Chinese and, actually, it was developed on the basis of traditional Chinese medicine by controlling the movement of Qi through meridian system in the body [ 32 ].
As people in the early stages of PD can still dance, run, and walk smoothly and can also do complex movements for several minutes when they are given appropriate emotional or visual cues, Health Qigong appears to be an appropriate exercise for PD patients to improve their symptoms. Among different types of balance exercises, Tai Chi is one of the most effective interventions that can be used by recreational therapists to improve balance and postural stability in older adults with PD [ 29 ].
Morris [ 33 ] showed that Tai Chi could improve balance, kinesthetic sense, and strength; hence, it may be prescribed as a sensorimotor agility program for patients with PD. Tai Chi and Qigong are exercises that both require the unification of the body and soul as their philosophical basis. Both are the two most popular Chinese medical exercises in improving balance, flexibility, relaxation, and postural stability worldwide [ 34 ].
Tai Chi and Qigong had been shown to improve health-related quality of life indicators and psychological health [ 35 ]. This type of exercise can relieve anxiety and depression and contribute to a sense of calm. There is growing evidence that physical and mental therapy helps eliminate negative emotions, reduce the symptoms of depression, and promote mental health. The use of mind-body therapies, such as Tai Chi, Yoga, Health Qigong, and meditation, is frequently reported as a means of coping with anxiety and depression [ 36 ].
In summary, Health Qigong is a traditional Chinese exercise that builds the practitioners mind and body by controlling the flow of Qi, comforting the body, and releasing pressure through movement. To PD patients, exercising Health Qigong is superior to taking medication because of its fewer side effects and a longer honeymoon effect.
Although different traditional exercises had been attempted as treatments for the PD patients, few people use them as an alternative approach for the treatment of PD disease which the present study is trying to focus on. As one of the Chinese traditional mind and body exercises which share similar functions with Tai Chi, Health Qigong as an alternative therapy exercise integrated into regular medical treatment of PD is receiving greater attention. In order to analyze the effectiveness of Chinese Health Qigong exercises on relieving symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the purposes of this study were to conduct an experiment to investigate the effects of Health Qigong on the treatment and releasing symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
The inclusion criteria for the recruitment of participants were as follows: 1 mild or moderate PD, 2 ability to walk independently, 3 normal state of mental health, 4 ability to follow instructions, 5 absence of other complications, and 6 ability to participate in physical exercise. The exclusion criteria included any previous practical experience with Health Qigong, a recent or planned change in medication, and signs of a central nervous system disease other than PD, such as aphasia or dementia as defined by the mini mental status examination.
Selected participants were randomly divided into two groups. The Health Qigong experiment group included 28 patients 11 men and 17 women and average age of Four instruments were used to measure the outcomes of the week Health Qigong program. They included the muscle hardness, the physical stability 9-holed instrument test, and the physical coordination test TUG and turn-over-jars tests. This study is mainly concerned with the effect of Health Qigong on PD treatment; thus, the items such as muscle hardness and elasticity, balance capacity, and physical coordination the most common and main symptoms of PD all needed to be measured and analyzed.
The following instruments were used for collecting data: myometry Myoton-3 for muscle hardness and elasticity and the BDWII to test physical stability. In addition, balance and physical coordination were measured through a TUG test, b eye-hand coordination turn-over-jars test, and c one-legged blind balance test. All data was collected by the lab technicians and the project assistants.
The participants were randomly divided into two groups. The control group received only drug therapy and participated in regular daily activities, and the experimental group participated in the Health Qigong program in addition to the drug therapy. Three measurements were conducted for the entire experiment period: pretest was conducted one week before starting the intervention of the Health Qigong exercise program, interim test was conducted four to five weeks after the intervention started, and the posttest was conducted immediately after the intervention.
All instruments were reliable and were operated and recorded by the experienced technicians. Ten Health Qigong movements targeted for Parkinsonism symptoms and movement patterns were selected and compiled as the Health Qigong program by the principle researcher of this study who has more than 12 years of teaching and research experiences in Qigong.
She selected 10 Qigong movements from a Health Qigong program based on the nature of these movements to match the characteristics of PD condition. The 10 movements' program then was sent to five well-renowned Qigong experts in the nation for consultation. The movement selection and compilation were examined and evaluated by the distinguished Health Qigong experts, who analyzed the feasibility and potential effectiveness of the 10 movements in relieving the symptoms of PD, and were confirmed by the five experts with minor changes.
Each movement was to be practiced three times, taking approximately minutes for the entire form, to improve PD's physical coordination, stability, balance, and muscle control.
The Health Qigong exercise program was conducted for 10 weeks, 5 days per week, with each session lasting for 60 minutes. Each session included 10 minutes of warm-up, 40 minutes of Health Qigong practice, and 10 minutes of relaxation at the end. Because PD patients were a special group, it became difficult to control the number of participants from both control and experiment groups. For different reasons, we lost some participants in the muscle hardness, action control capacity, one-legged blind balance, TUG, and hand-eye coordination turn-over-jars tests. According to the experiment design, the same test items between the control and experimental groups were tested during the pretest, interim test, and posttest, and the Repeated Measures ANOVA was used for the statistical analysis.
Compared with the muscle hardness index of the left pronator teres measured in the 2 groups at pretest, the interim test decreased from The range declined from Health Qigong exercise can improve the muscle hardness of the pronator teres in PD patients. The data provides the evidence that Health Qigong relaxes the body and relieves stiff muscles in PD patients.
Each patient had to flip the jars, one at a time, as fast as they could. The test was timed with a stopwatch. The patients observed how to perform the action and complete the specifications when the time was recorded. The value of right hand-eye coordination test between control and experimental groups. On the left side for the experimental group, the average declined from 8.
The index for the experimental group before and after the hand-eye coordination test on the left side showed significant effects. Significant differences were also shown for the right side of the 2 groups between the pretest and interim test and for the left side of the experimental group between the pretest and posttest. These results illustrate that Health Qigong exercise could significantly improve the hand-eye coordination of PD patients. A timed TUG test was used to test patient's balance, gait, and stride while walking. The patient sits on the chair, and the timer is started once the patient stands up.
The timer is stopped at this point. In the experiment, the testers recorded the completed time and observed the patient's balance, gait, and stride while walking. The average TUG test index for all patients at the pretest, interim test, and posttest was The TUG test results for the control group showed no significant changes. In the experimental group, the average time went from These data show that the stability of the experimental group had increased significantly.
This illustrates that Health Qigong exercise could significantly improve physical coordination and gait in patients with PD. The physical stability 9-holed instrument test was used to evaluate upper limb ability; the results of the physical stability test for the experimental and control groups are shown in Table 5. The left-side results for the control group at the pretest, interim test, and posttest were 2.
The right-side results for the control group at the pretest, interim test, and posttest were 2. The left-side results for the experimental group at the pretest, interim test, and posttest were 3. None of these results were statistically significant. These results showed that there was no significant effect on the stability of PD patients through Health Qigong exercise. The results of the one-legged blind balance test for the experimental and control groups are shown in Table 6.
One-legged blind balance test on the left side between control and experimental groups. One-legged blind balance eyes test on the right side between control and experimental groups. On the left side for the experimental group, the one-legged blind balance test average increased from 7. On the right side for the experimental group, the average increased from 6.
From this data, the ability to stand on one foot had increased significantly for the experimental group. This illustrates that Health Qigong exercise could significantly improve balance in patients with PD. The purposes of this study were to investigate the effects of Health Qigong as a treatment on releasing symptoms of Parkinson's disease PD. To address these purposes, four instruments or tests were used to collect data muscle hardness, the TUG test, the turn-over-jars test, and one-legged blind balance test , and the results of measurements on muscle hardness, physical coordination, stability, and balance were examined and presented in the previous section.
In the following sections, the results shown above will be further discussed item by item. An increase in muscle tension leads to a decrease in the range of motion and flexibility in PD patients.
Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong
Therefore, lowering muscle tension is an essential rehabilitation goal for PD patients. Muscle tension disorder in PD patients may be a result of abnormal exercise, inhibiting cortical systems and reducing incoming sensory integration. PD patients should perform the correct relaxation exercises, rebuild the cortical system, and strengthen motor sensory system functions to lower muscle tension and hardness. In this experiment, the differences in muscle hardness were statistically significant within various timings. The timings and groups reflected each other, and the timings were different between the experimental and control groups.
The muscle hardness of the experimental group tended to decline.
Effects of Health Qigong Exercises on Relieving Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
In other words, muscle tension in the right and left pronator teres decreased after 10 weeks of Health Qigong exercise; furthermore, the longer the time lasted, the faster the hardness level declined. Therefore, Health Qigong exercise significantly improved the muscle hardness of the pronator teres in PD patients. The longer the time is, the better the effects are. The explanations of the significant results are as follows: the actions of Health Qigong exercise are slow and soft and the feature is relaxing across the whole process and tensional in special timing.
Health Qigong practitioners tried to relax their body during the entire exercise process. In the experiment, Qigong relaxation exercises were included before each session. Patients sat on chairs with a backrest, closed their eyes, and followed the step-by-step suggestions of the coach to relax various parts of their body, eventually achieving full-body relaxation. Health Qigong exercise can increase brain electrical activity and amplitude.
The status of Qigong is not between sleep and sanity, instead of a special exciting status. Qigong meditation leads the human cerebral cortex into a special status with a low psychological load and low energy consumption. This status is critical for lowering muscle tension. Hand-eye coordination refers to coordinating vision with subtle hand actions.
The nerve cells of PD patients generally drop out. Because most PD patients are elderly or middle-aged, the number of peripheral nerve motor units is declared after they are 60 years old. Physiological aging of the nervous system in PD patients can affect a person's motor functions and intelligence.
The aging of the movement-related cerebral cortex, subcortical structures, cerebellum, neurotransmitters, peripheral motor units, and muscles leads to poor hand-eye coordination, increased reaction times, and uncoordinated actions. Another symptom of PD patients is slowness of movement. The initial manifestation is slowness in daily activities and movements and a prolonged reaction time.
It causes slowness in subtle exercises e. Slowness of movement may appear when standing up, turning over, turning, walking, and writing; walking may be clumsy, and writing may be irregular and becomes smaller when there is more to write. In this experiment, hand-eye coordination in the experimental group tended to improve, but there were no statistically significant differences. After ten weeks of Health Qigong exercise, right- and left-side hand-eye coordination improved. The reason for the lack of statistical significance may be because the intervention time was too short.
Hand-eye coordination tests the brain's ability to control the body and is an expression of neurotransmitter levels. Muscle exercise results can be seen within a short time period, but an improvement in neural functions requires more time. As can be seen from the data after 10 weeks of Health Qigong exercise, hand-eye coordination improved. A longer intervention period may significantly affect the results, because a longer time is required for neurological exercises and to repair muscles. The current results are related to the short intervention time and insignificant improvement. Gait disorders are a typical symptom of PD.
Patients generally lean forward and flex their elbows, knee joints, and lumbar spine. They walk slowly with small strides, and the walking pace is gradually reduced when the stride is increased during the walking process. An abnormal gait seriously affects the daily life of patients, so it is crucial to assess and correct a patient's gait. The TUG test has been widely used by clinicians to evaluate patients with movement disorders and elderly people's balance and mobility.
Research studies have shown good reliability and validity to the TUG test in evaluating movement abilities and balance. As a quick and convenient measuring method, the TUG test is an effective method to quantitatively evaluate the functional ability of walking and has been widely applied to evaluate the balance disorders of patients. This provided the theoretical basis for the present study to use the TUG test to evaluate a patient's movement and balance ability after the Health Qigong intervention. Because the TUG test is simple and easy to conduct, it can easily be used in routine clinical examinations.
In this experiment, TUG test times decreased significantly after the week Health Qigong exercise intervention. Furthermore, Health Qigong exercise can improve gait, stride length, and leg movement abilities. Health Qigong is a traditional Chinese exercise that forms a part of traditional Chinese culture. Hence, Chinese people place an emphasis on the ability of the lower limbs. With aging and increasing occurrences of walking disorders, people naturally feel afraid to fall. For this reason they cannot go out and exercise.