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Category:  Articles » Health & Fitness » Meditation

 

A Brief History of Qigong The Ancient Practice of Health Cultivation

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         Views: 589
2006-09-10 22:46:39     
Article by Michael Roland

Qigong is an art of using the very energies of life to strengthen, heal and revitalize. With thousands of variations, qigong has its beginnings in antiquity. The oldest documentation of actual qigong exercises is from the Mawangdui tombs (168BC), discovered in China in 1976. Other references that date back to the second century BC, suggest that the roots of qigong are very ancient indeed. We don't know the original purpose of qigong exercises, but throughout history they seem to have been used in three broad categories; health & healing, martial arts and spirituality.

Since the earliest forms of qigong were from a time when people still believed that evil spirits caused illnesses, it is suspected that it was actually developed as a sort of spiritual healing or divination practice. By the time of the Han dynasty (206 BC to 500AD), qigong was largely practiced by Buddhist and Daoist religious groups.

Soon martial artists discovered that qigong exercises could increase their strength and fighting abilities, sometimes to nearly superhuman extremes. Hundreds of qigong exercises were developed for enhancing the strength and the senses of these practitioners and many people, especially martial artists, have suggested that this is the original purpose of the practice. Qigong may be responsible in part for raising martial arts from a pugilistic system to an art of health cultivation.

Today, qigong is practiced by people all over the world. There have been hundreds of scientific studies showing marked physiological effects on the human body from this practice. Qigong seems to have many positive effects on people, including regulating blood pressure, regulating the immune system, lowering stress levels and alleviating depression.

There are two broad categories of qigong practice. The first comprises qigong exercises, which sometimes resemble tai chi exercises, and can be done by anyone wishing to calm their mind and increase their health and vitality. The second, possibly more controversial category is qigong healing. This type of energy healing is done by experienced practitioners who have developed subtle senses of the body's energy systems and how to balance them.

While qigong healing may be somewhat inaccessible to the layperson, the benefits of a simple personal qigong practice can be realized fairly easily. With proper guidance, everyone can experience relaxation and feel invigorated within just a few minutes of practice.

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