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Qigong for Health and Joy by Chris DeTora to

Qigong has a vast list of benefits and applications. It is used to help treat a wide range of physical ailments including asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia and arthritis. It has been shown to improve the effectiveness of medications, allowing people to lower the dosage and reduce the side effects. This is especially helpful in chemotherapy patients. Qigong has positive effects for mental health issues as well. Studies show addiction, anxiety, depression and mood disorders all can be helped through qigong practice. People who practice qigong experience joint stabilization, improved balance and metabolic function, development of confidence and a sense of inner calm as a result of practice.

The Background of Qigong

Qigong was mixed with the martial arts to form new systems of fighting. They were called the internal martial arts or nei dan. The most wellknown is Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Chi which is based on the idea of yin/yang or the change between opposites. There are other systems of internal martial arts such as Ba Gua Zhang which is based on the basic energies of nature and Xing Yi Chuan which focuses on the natural elements. While these three systems are all very different they have many things in common.

Qigong is the foundation of all internal martial arts. In these martial arts, the body must be relaxed, the mind must be calm and focused and the posture has to support the relaxation and movement of chi. For these reasons, all internal martial arts practitioners must do a lot of qigong. There is a saying in the internal schools, ‘first health, then fighting”. The qigong changes the body. This is called ‘preparing the field’. In the same way farmers prepared fields so they would be able to grow the crops, the body is prepared to support the chi. This is the physical side.

The mind also is trained. There is the passionate or animal mind and there is the higher mind. The animal mind must be tamed and the higher mind must be tempered. Balance is important. In qigong it is said the yi (higher mind) leads the chi and the chi leads the blood. This means the higher mind uses intention to move the chi and the chi creates physical change. But without the calm focus of the mind, this process is interrupted. The mind has a relaxed quality. It observes the body and the breath. It finds the open path for the chi and draws it in. The mind is changed by the qigong as well. There is a sense of calm which grows from practice. Qigong develops dynamic health and a sense of joy.

Chris DeTora is an instructor of Chinese martial arts and health exercises. He also is a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach in New York and a trainer on recovery coaching and addiction. He can be reached at 642-8796 or For more information, visit

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