It may sound simple, but there’s a lot happening within the body and mind during a qigong practice.
By tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system, qigong can help reduce stress and anxiety, which has many implications for health. “Qigong offers the beautiful gift of working to quiet the mind, settle the emotions, and relax into the body,” Bouguyon says.
From the traditional Chinese medicine perspective, qigong optimizes the flow of energy in your body to help mitigate or attend to any number of conditions.
Take constipation, for example. It can be thought of in relation to the spleen, which regulates the primary digestive process in traditional Chinese medical thought, says Bernard Shannon, a doctor of TCM, the chair of the NQA, and the founder of the International Medical Qigong College in Bradyville, Tennessee. (Shannon notes that the spleen is similar to but conceptualized differently than the conventional medical understanding of the physical organ.)
“If you have a yin deficiency, there’s not enough moisture, and so you’re constipated because it’s too dry. If there’s too much yin, it becomes stagant and can’t move forward. It’s kind of like quicksand — you take a step forward, and it slides back,” Shannon says. (This is one view of constipation from TCM. Other theories and schools of thought that involve qi, blood, and other patterns share similarities to the yin-yang theory but have different approaches.)
A practitioner who specializes in using qigong for health purposes, like a licensed acupuncturist and TCM practitioner who also offers qigong, will help you determine potential qigong postures to help move more of that energy toward your spleen to relieve constipation, according to Shannon.
so do your research before consulting a practitioner. Many national and international qigong organizations offer training, certifications, and industry standards. You can find qualified qigong practitioners through the Red Thread International Qigong Institute, the International Medical Qigong College, and the NQA. It’s also essential to work in an integrative way with your primary doctor to make sure you are evaluating any symptoms and concerns via a conventional medical perspective alongside your visits with an acupuncturist and qigong practitioner.