By Dr. Judith Boice, ND, LAc, FABNO
Qi means life-force or vitality, and gong means “practice,” so QIGONG is the practice of cultivating vitality. The first records of qigong date back 10,000 years. Until about thirty years ago, however, qigong was not widely practiced, even in China; then, certain qigong practitioners and healers decided to share their knowledge with the general public. Men and women began to learn and practice qigong in the public parks in China. Twenty years ago these practices began to filter into North America and Europe. I practiced qigong for nearly three years before I understood how fortunate we are to have access to qigong in the west. I also deeply appreciate that women are practicing and teaching qigong, both inside and outside China.
Who would benefit from practicing qigong? Anyone wanting to improve physical health, mental clarity, emotional balance and/or spiritual vitality will benefit from qigong. Practicing qigong can increase energy, improve concentration and focus, and develop peace of mind. In addition, clinical studies in China have demonstrated that can qigong can address chronic illnesses, including cancer.
One cancer study conducted in Beijing (Kuangan Men’s Hospital) compared patients who took chemotherapy alone with those who combined chemotherapy and qigong. Among those who took only chemotherapy, 6.67% had normalized liver function, 10% had normal erythrocyte sedimentation (a measure of inflammation in the body), 7.87% had decreased phagocytosis (a measure of how well white blood cells work), and 10% had improved appetite. In contrast, the group that combined chemotherapy and qigong showed improvement in all areas. 20.62% had normal liver function (over 3 times the rate of the chemotherapy alone group); 23.7 1% had normal erythrocyte sedimentation rates; 12.31% had increased phagocytosis rates; and 63% had improved appetite (more than 6 times as many as the chemotherapy alone group).
Are the exercises difficult? The movements are simple and slow and do not require great athletic ability. In fact, elderly, wheelchair-bound and terminally ill patients can easily perform these exercises.
Do I have to adopt a new philosophy or religion to learn qigong? No, qigong is not a religion. Many practitioners do experience increased peace and openheartedness. These changes are a result of practice, though, not from adopting a new belief system or religious doctrine.
How much do I need to practice to see benefits? For most people, 30 – 40 minutes per day is recommended.
Dr Boice has completed teacher certification programs for three forms of Qigong:
- Essence Qigong
- Soaring Crane Qigong
- Awakening Light Gong
Please join Dr Boice for a full day of Qigong on November 3rd.
We will start at 9am and finish at 5pm. The investment of $150 for this all-day event and it includes 2 CDs and a book along with the teachings that Dr Boice will be offering. Clinic members will receive $30 off the class so their investment will be $120. Please contact Siskiyou Vital Medicine at 541.210.5687 to register, or stop by and see us to register in person.