We all know exercise is important in creating a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that exercise, in combination with a diet rich in whole plant-based foods, is an important component in the healing process?
Our modern way of life tends to breed stagnation. We spend hours everyday hunched over our computers and iPhones or lounging in front of the television. After a long day at work, the mental exhaustion and stress can make it hard to get motivated to go the gym. We’ve all heard about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies were built for moving.
When we exercise, our body’s ability to heal itself is amplified. While food provides our body with the foundational support for healing (nutrients, minerals and enzymes your cells, tissues and systems require), physical exercise directly influences the body’s healing processes; improves resiliency and the immune system, accelerates wound healing, strengthens the heart, lungs and extremities, reduces inflammation, rebuilds bone and muscle, and, most importantly, relieves stress.
The medical community now recognizes the significant role chronic stress plays in promoting illnesses and diseases. We all experience stress, whether it’s a toxic work environment, relationship problems, or being over scheduled. This makes it even more important that we incorporate physical activity into our daily routines. Stress directly influences our immune system and causes inflammation, creating the perfect environment for diseases, including cancer, to establish itself.
There are many ways to exercise: running, walking, swimming, biking, dancing, etc. But did you know that you don’t have to experience an intense aerobic workout in order to experience the healing benefits of exercise? There is an ancient Chinese practice called Qigong (chee-gong) that has been proven to support the body’s healing abilities.
Quantum physics has revealed that everything is made up of energy, even our bodies. When we experience prolonged stress, these invisible energy systems become blocked, resulting in chronic illness and physical pain. Qigong uses slow flowing movements to open the body’s energy pathways and ignite our self-healing abilities.
I’ve been practicing Qigong for the last few months. Feeling the hum of energy throughout my body invokes a sense of well-being and vitality. It’s amazing how the slow graceful movements increase circulation throughout my body without the intensity of strenuous aerobic activity.
Anyone can do Qigong, no matter your skill level. The slow flowing movements do not require exceptional coordination or flexibility. Precision is not required. The goal is to start were you are, at your personal comfort level, and relax into the movements.
The powerful healing benefits of Qigong:
- Enhances blood circulation throughout your body
- Stimulates the assimilation of nutrients and digestion
- Creates a sense of physical vitality and inner well being
- Strengthens the Immune System
- Opens arteries
- Enhances mental acuity, focus & concentration
- Creates a sense of calm and peacefulness
- Improves posture, balance and flexibility
Like all exercise practices, there are many different kinds and ways to practice Qigong. Finding the right practitioner/instructor that fits your needs is very important. If Qigong is not taught locally in your area, check out some videos from the library or search YouTube in order to experiment.
For beginners, I recommend starting with Lee Holden’s work. His DVD Qigong for Self-Healing is very powerful. He focuses on the meridian pathways and acupressure in simple easy to follow gestures and self-massage that activates your energetic body. Once you are ready to advance, you might want to try his DVD Qigong for Deeper Flow. Try my favorite 20 minute morning routine. Another great program is Qigong for beginners taught by Francesco and Daisy Lee Garripoli.
As you become more acquainted with Qigong, you’ll find specific movements you can use throughout your day as a way to release stress or chronic pain. Qigong is meant to be performed with a relaxed mind and body and a smile on your face. Give yourself permission to let go of your expectations. You just might be amazed at the results.