Qigong for stress relief

Stress Relief From Qigong

Stress is one of the major causes of disease today. In fact numerous studies now indicate that stress plays the biggest role in disease. Therefore, adopting a practice to alleviate stress in your life is an important preventative health measure. Stress relief from Qigong is a medically proven way to manage stress in your life.

What is Qigong?

What is QigongQigong is an ancient practice that originated in China. It was one of the first recorded exercise prescriptions to help different ailments. It sprang from the practice of Chinese Medicine which combines the Acupressure points and energy meridians. It is also about lifestyle and dietary recommendations to enhance the flow of energy within the body which is responsible for our health and wellbeing.

It’s about prevention.

Chinese medicine is focused around prevention. In chinese culture, you paid the doctor to help you understand how you can keep yourself well, and if you did get sick, your treatment was then free. It is a completely opposite model of health care that we have in the west today.

What is Qi?

Qi energy

Qi energy is in everything. It animates all of nature, including our body.

Any quantum physicist today will tell you that we are all made up of energy before we are made up of solid matter. Qi can be described as a life force that animates things and when we cultivate it through practices such as Qigong it enhances the energy that flows around and through us. It governs our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. According to chinese medicine, first we get an imbalance in the energy system (or Qi) and if that is not attended to it can manifest into physical maladies and symptoms.

How do I know Qigong would be helpful for me?

The feeling of Qi flowing (or not flowing) is determined by how well you feel, or how positive about your life you feel, and how you are able to be flexible to the unpredictability of life. In a nutshell, free flowing Qi feels like happiness and ease. It shows up in how well you manage your stress and your level of inner and outer resilience to life’s setbacks. If you often feel depressed or anxious, or have physical health problems, then Qigong would be an ideal daily practice for you to adopt. It has positive benefits to all health conditions and mainstream medical science is really beginning to recognise this through several studies on the impact of practicing Qigong daily. You can have a look at some of these studies here.

What does Qigong do?

What does Qigong doThe practice of Qigong helps to stabilise the Qi energy around us and through us therefore acting as a prevention to physical and mental ailments. It achieves this through a series of slow moving physical movements and breathing techniques which have a direct impact on the nervous system and therefore the relaxation response.

Can it help specific health conditions?

Yes it can-all ill health conditions in fact. Western medicine is recognising more and more that most of our chronic health conditions have a stress related factor involved either consciously or unconsciously, and Qigong has a powerful effect on regulating the stress response. There are some specific conditions that have been studied by western scientists in terms of the way Qigong can help or supplement an over all treatment plan. See some studies here.

The importance of Qigong in the 21st Century

In our rapidly changing times and landscape, Qigong is probably more relevant than any other time in history when it comes to cultivating the feeling of personal happiness. We can’t be in a chronic state of stress AND happy at the same time. We are constantly bombarded with information on a daily basis and news reports are usually 99% negative which play a role in the programming of our mind to believe that we are less resilient than we think.

It’s about our inner connection to the deepest parts of our own wisdom.

Qi and inner wisdomWe look for connection through our technology, yet it can lead us to feel more empty and disconnected than we have ever felt before. This is because on one level, it does not fulfil our deepest desires for heart felt connection with others that we desire. It is also why it is is addictive because it doesn’t give us the energy that we need, so we go back for more thinking that a little more time spent on it will fill us up, but it cannot. This is not to say that all our new technologies are bad, but we need to be aware of best practices for them and what their limitations are in order to use them to our benefit.

Qigong can be a catalyst to understanding some of our big questions in life.

Qigong is like an ancient technology that we can use to feel a deep sense of contentment that provides us with the drive and energy to be our true authentic selves in the world. Through regular practice we begin to understand where we are in relation to our place in the universe, as well as nature and the energy of the earth and how we are connected to it. We begin to understand how the elements within nature connect to our own instincts and how they influence our decisions in life. It also reveals our soulful and spiritual instincts and where we are in relation to our ideals. Over time and regular practice we begin to have a better understanding of who we are and why we are here on an individual level and what that means to us in relation to the choices we make.

More turbulent times ahead for our planet.

Qigong and adapting to changeWe are likely heading for more turbulent times with the rise of global warming and international conflict and stress within our workplaces and family life, therefore anything we can do to build on our own reserves of resilience will serve us well going into the future. Stress relief from Qigong cultivates a deep connection with self and inner knowledge that helps us to act from a place of power and knowingness rather than one of uncertainly and fear. It teaches us the path of least resistance when it comes to navigating our life rather than trying to bull doze our way through life with our opinions and goals that we have.

Feeling connected is important for stress relief

We constantly look for connection outside of ourselves and look to others to fulfil certain needs on an emotional level that we can only really fulfil by ourselves. In modern life we have kind of forgotten how to access that inner connection, and this is what the practice of Qigong can offer us, and much more than this when we practice regularly.

Where is the best place to start for someone to knows nothing about Qigong?

Lee Holden who is a Qigong master has an excellent beginner video series which you can begin your Qigong practice here.  You can also check out one of his 20 minute beginner routines on this page to get a taste of his beginner program.
  • ABOUT LIZ HENNESSY

    ABOUT LIZ HENNESSY

    Yoga Instructor, Fitness Coach
    and Qigong Teacher
    In Training

  • ABOUT LIZ'S TEACHER

    ABOUT LIZ'S TEACHER

    Lee Holden
    Is A Qigong Master
    Based In The US.

    LEARN MORE

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Comments (20)

  • Avatar

    DSonic

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    Hi,
    I don’t know too much about Qigong but chinese medicine and ancient methods interests me greatly. The prevention aspect of Qigong really appeals to me because I have lost all faith in modern medicine as it seems to worsen my anxiety and depression. After reading this easy to understand introduction which I can relate to on a spiritual level, I’m very wiling to try this practice now.

    Thanks for the helpful info.

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hey DSonic, depression and anxiety seems to be one of those things that mainstream medicine is only partially helpful with. There are so many factors involved and I think that combining Qigong with perhaps cognitive therapy could be hugely beneficial. Both of these approaches are drug free, and Qigong, when practiced daily will really help to give you more over all resilience and mental power to approach life and its challenges. Qigong helps to bring you back to yourself-it can feel like ‘coming home’ after a practice session as things seem not as insurmountable after practicing. Let me know if you have any questions. Would love to hear how you go!

      Reply

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    Blame

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    I have been practicing qigong for many years. It’s pretty much a perfect prevention for any kind of disease in my opinion. I used to have strong allergy problems. Ever since I started practicing qigong, the allergies magically never came back. It can be done by anybody, any time, anywhere. You are right about stress being a major killer for most people nowadays. It leads to all kinds of diseases and that includes cancer. Thanks for sharing this great advice.

    Reply

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      Liz

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      HI Blame! Great that you have embraced Qigong fully and it has resulted in no more allergies! It think one of the reasons it can be effective with allergies is that it balances the triple warmer meridian out which is linked to an over active immune system if the meridian has too much energy in it, and so the body can be super sensitive to a range of things that it would normally be ok with if the triple warmer was in balance. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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    Stephania

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    I have heard about the positive effects of refocusing your energy and creating a better balance.

    The first thing that stands out to me is the idea or preventative medicine… It is so true the the mindset of the many is to not worry about your health until there is a problem to worry about..

    I really enjoyed this post, thank you for sharing your knowledge on this topic.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi Stephania, thanks for stopping by. Preventative medicine should have a lot more focus I feel, but I guess in general as a society we are so often reactive rather than proactive. Maybe that is just our times, or maybe it is just human nature. I suspect a little of both.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    PatSID

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    Lovely article Liz. Qigong is an ancient and very valuable exercise technique that deserves to find a larger following in the West.

    I used to love seeing groups of people doing this in the UN park in the 80s and am glad to see people doing it on the beach where I live now.

    You explained it perfectly for your readers and I am sure a lot more people will want to learn this practice after reading your article.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      HI Pat, I think Qigong will gain more and more popularity in the west over time as people start to look for lifestyle changes that are sustainable and take a lot less effort than traditional exercise does in the west. But I think the key might come down to marketing it as something that does not call it Qigong, as many people have either not heard of Qigong or just think it is the same thing as Tai Chi and therefore lose interest quickly. Not sure what the way forward will be, but there is definitely more and more acceptance of Chinese medicine in general in the west, so I think Qigong will follow.

      Reply

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    Jim

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    Years ago (actually, more years than I care to mention), I was trained in a form of Qigong called Wu Qin Xi, or the “Five Animals play.”

    The Five Animals relate to the basic elements, seasons, and specific parts of the body.

    The Tiger relate the wood element, in spring, and concentrate on liver and gall bladder.

    The Deer is connected to the water element, in winter, giving attention to the kidneys and bladder.

    The Bear correlates with the earth element, in late summer, focusing on the spleen and stomach.

    The Monkey is linked to the fire element, in summer, and covers the heart and small intestine.

    Lastly, the Crane is concerned with the metal element, in autumn, and concerns the lungs and large intestine.

    I was so impressed with the level of calmness and assuredness that came with the training that I continue, to some extent, the “frolic” of the Tiger, Deer, Bear, Monkey, and Crane, to this day.

    It has helped me manage hypertension and high blood pressure symptoms without medication. And, feeling the Qi flowing through my body has even helped with a few bouts of arthritis!

    Jim

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hey Jim! Thanks for your comment and relaying your experience of the Five Animals Play. Qigong originally began by the observation of nature, and therefore I am not surprised that there is a Qigong style that is centred around animals. There are actually 3500 styles of Qigong known, but so far in my studies I have found that regardless of what stye, it all comes back to Chinese medicine and the meridians and organs and acupressure points as well as a Taoist philosophy of taking the path of least resistance and learning to flow with life more. Congratulations on managing your health with Qigong. It is very empowering to know there is a condition you can manage without medication.

      Reply

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    Shelly

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    I loved reading this website and am also glad that I stumbled across it. I am constantly under stress, half the time not even necessarily knowing it. My stress affects everything in my life, from my mind, to soul, to physical state… everything. I have honestly never even heard of Qigong, your information is very solid. The approach to the method is that intrigues me to try it out! Thanks for the information!

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hi Shelly, stress is so common in today’s world and it really hinders our ability to make good resourceful choices for our lives. You are certainly not alone and the good thing is you actually recognise that stress is an issue for you. Many people don’t even realise they are under a huge amount of stress-they know they are not happy but they don’t realise that a turbulent mind is actually at the root of it all. This then translates into the physical body over time and this is where stress related illness come into play. I think we should all be practicing some form of stress reduction every day and the good thing about consistent practice is that it has a cumulative affect and therefore you get more and more resilient.

      Reply

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    Louise

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    Thanks for opening my eyes to Qigong! I have to confess, I had never heard of it before. However, I’m always looking for good stress relievers and new things to try so this sounds great.

    Is it actually a form of yoga or something completely different? Is it something you recommend doing every day?

    Thanks
    Louise

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hey Louise, no it is not a form of yoga, but has similar benefits to yoga. Both Yoga and Qigong work with the energy systems of the body at their core, but Qigong is much more simple to practice, does not need special clothing, can be done just about anywhere and can be done in as little as 10 minutes a day to get enormous stress relief benefits. I would recommend a mimumum of four days a week, but ideally every day would be best. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply

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    Marcus

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    Wonderful introduction to Qigong! And the videos you linked to are great thanks!

    I have been using meditation for a few years now to relieve my stress. But doing meditation and realizing how powerful it is, I have become increasingly interested in all the different “relaxation practices” if you could call them that (I acknowledge that they are all much more powerful than just for relaxing).

    I have done yoga, I have tried tai chi and read a lot of literature on being more present in the moment.

    I decided that I wanted to learn more about Qigong and your website has really helped me out 🙂

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hi Marcus, thanks for stopping by and I am glad you enjoyed checking out the website! I think if you are into yoga and meditation, if you have a good first experience of Qigong then you will love it. I highly recommend Lee Holden’s beginner course to get the immediate sensation of feeling the life force energy pulsing through you. Let me know if you have any questions!

      Reply

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    shrey

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    I had heard about Qigong from a friend and according to her it really helps in staying strong and healthy. She has been able to prevent diseases for 2 years now and has not fallen ill even once.
    However, I’m curious to know what is the difference between it and Reiki. Both are similar and follow the same rule of flowing positive energy in your body. Any thoughts?

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hey Shrey, that is a good question. Both have similarities. But are also quite different. For one, reiki to my knowledge, has no medical science backing it up (which is not to say I don’t think it works-but I like to have some scientific basis for recommending a health practice), and the other thing is, Qigong is actually two things-on the one hand it is a self practice where you move through a series of exercises to enhance your own energy. The other kind of Qigong is more hands on healing based like reiki, however, the Qigong practitioner is a QIgong master themselves in that they have cultivated their own life force energy before they went onto healing others. I imagine that Reiki has similar concepts, but my experience of it is that it seems that there seem to be so many people calling themselves a reiki master these days, and I am unconvinced that they have healing abilities. But I will admit, I am naive to reiki and have not looked a whole lot into it, but at the end of the day, I would say that reiki and Qigong work with the same concept of life force energy.

      Reply

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    Heather

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    I have a very stressful job and tend to bring it home with me at the end of the day. I am always looking for outlets for that stress that might work for me. Quigong exercises are an interesting idea and I wonder if it will help. You definitely have peaked my curiousity, I think I am going to have to check it out. Thank you!

    Reply

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      Liz

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      My pleasure Heather. How did you go? Did you try the 20 minute routine on the Home Page? Scroll down to the bottom and the video will be there (no opt in required).

      Reply

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