Woman's Way

Practise of Qi Gong

By: Lisa Jewell
The Low-down on Qi Gong

Reproduced with permission of Woman's Way

You've probably already heard of Tai Chi but there is another popular Chinese art called Qi Gong. It's one of the four pillars of traditional Chinese medicine along with acupuncture, massage and herbal medicine. To find out more, we talked to Qi Gong teacher Eileen Murray.

What exactly is Qi Gong?

"Basically it is a movement technique that is similar to Tai Chi. It's a series of gentle flowing movements that optimise the flow of energy around the body. It particularly focuses on five organs -the heart, lungs, spleen, kidney and liver. Qi means energy and Gong means to cultivate."

What are its origins?

"Qi Gong is first recorded on a scroll dating back to 164BC in China, which shows people doing Qi Gong movements. While Tai Chi was usually used as a martial art, Qi Gong was practised beforehand to nourish the internal organs and build energy in the body. The monks passed on the techniques to the ruling class in China. It was kept from the ordinary man from many years."

What are the health benefits?

"People who are free of illness use the techniques to build up energy and their immune system. People recovering from different illnesses can also use it. It helps to free up the meridians of the body and can help people sleep better. It helps with emotional well-being, focus and relaxation. Breathing is done naturally in Qi Gong people don't have to focus on their breathing."

Who can do it? 

"It's for people of all ages and abilities and can be done either standing up or sitting down. It can also be adapted for someone who needs to lie down. It's also a low-cost activity as once you learn the movements, you can practise using an audio CD and can be anywhere you like."

Eileen regularly holds workshops in Cork and Dublin. For further information, tel: 0861732473 or visit www.qigongireland.com.