Exercise is good for you! We’ve heard this countless times, and it’s so true! Exercise keeps our body healthy and makes us feel good. Doing different movements every day revs up our energy and improves our mood. Some days, we’re bursting with energy and are up for that spinning class, but then, there are days when we need more stillness. Qigong is a perfect exercise for our “calm” days, when our energy is so-so!
It is a mind-body practice with Chinese roots dating back more than 4,000 years. “Qi” means energy and “Gong” means breath or spirit. More than just a practice, Qigong brings balance and harmony in our life!
With its gentle and calming movements, it is one of the best activities in midlife. In fact, a lot of old folks in China do Qigong in parks. This sounds like the perfect activity to start in menopause!If you want to be healthy and live to one hundred, do Qigong! – Dr. OzClick To Tweet
10 Reasons Why Qigong is Good for Menopause!
Qigong is a hidden jewel of traditional ancient Chinese medicine. I personally love doing this magical healing practice because it improved my posture and breathing. It also helps with my menopause symptoms, especially my mood swings and anxiety. The Chinese philosophy says that the fundamental foundation of life is our Qi or energy. When something blocks this energy, it becomes stagnant, which causes diseases, stress and emotional challenges.
Qigong exercises help release our energy, allowing its free flow into our body’s channels called meridians. This heals our physical and psychological symptoms in menopause!
1. Strengthens muscles and bones
As we age, our muscles and bones weaken. Qigong’s light-weight bearing routines strengthen the muscles and stimulate bone formation. Good muscle mass is essential for optimum metabolism, burning fats and weight loss. Strong bones reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
2. Maintains heart health
Qigong regulates blood pressure, improves circulation and strengthens heart muscles. This reduces the risks of stroke and heart diseases caused by low estrogen levels.
3. Improves balance
Qigong prevents muscle shrinking which improves strength and flexibility. Good balance is essential in midlife because we are more prone to falls, injuries and accidents.
4. Relieves stress
With its focus on mind, body and soul harmony, Qigong connects us with our emotions on a deeper level. It improves our capacity to cope with stress and it can boost our confident. Qigong exercises also help calm the body, release tension and stimulate the production of feel-good hormones.
5. Reduces anxiety and depression.
Qigong brings down stress hormones, such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones can cause anxiety and depression when they’re produced in excess.
6. Boosts immunity
Studies show that Qigong exercises actually lower blood markers, which can cause inflammation. It also improves immune cells, like T-killer cells and eosinophils, which fight bacterial infections.
7. Promotes better sleep
With its graceful and gentle movements, Qigong relaxes the entire body and calms the mind, resulting in more restful sleep.
8. Enhances the flow of the lymph
Movement and deep breathing serves as the pumping mechanism for our lymph to flow. When we have a healthy lymphatic system, we are able to filter and flush out toxins which can harm our hormone production and overall health.
9. Supports body functions
As we reach midlife, our body starts functioning at slower speeds. Digestion, metabolism, wound healing, brain and many other functions become sluggish. We need movement to keep blood flowing and our organs functioning. Qigong activates our meridians, which boosts organ functioning.
10. Delays aging
Qigong stimulates the production of different essential amino acids which includes collagen. Collagen is the main component of our skin, hair, nails and many other organs. More collagen means fewer wrinkles and lines! Dr. Janice Tucker shares some benefits of Qigong practice in this video (4:35):
How to Do Qigong Exercises + Resources to Get Started!
Qigong involves slow, gentle and controlled movements. Every movement has to be done with intention, focus and calmness to achieve its maximum benefits. Here are the 7 key elements of Qigong!
1. Intention – focus on your movement and how you can control the pace of your actions. This brings awareness to your body and the proper execution of Qigong.
2. Posture – posture is important in Qigong. For your energy to flow, you have to put effort into having the right posture. This also strengthens your muscles and increase your self-confidence.
3. Breathing – breathe from your abdomen as this keeps your body channels open and releases your Qi from stagnation. This also promotes calmness and tranquility and promotes pH balance.
4. Awareness – you have many energy points in your body. Your aim during movement is to aim for these energy points so you can relieve tension and stress from these areas.
5. Chant – sound and chants are powerful when doing Qigong. Every chant connects to the 5 elements of Chinese medicine: earth, water, fire, metal and wood. Each of these elements has its own corresponding colors, sound, season and organ to heal. When you chant while doing Qigong, you stimulate the focused organ.
6. Relaxation – one of the main aims of Qigong is to calm your mind and bring it into balance.
7. Balance – when doing this exercise, you need to maintain balance, adjust your center of gravity and keep a stable base where your body can move. Qigong expert, JoAnna Schoon, explains the fundamental principles and 7 elements of Qigong in this ancient Chinese practice of holistic healing (9:33):
If it’s your first time doing Qigong exercises, you can start with the three most basic elements: posture, breathing and awareness.
Lengthen your back as much as possible, relax your shoulders and release tension in your fingers. Start deep breathing and be mindful of every breath. Once you master this simple routine, you can start Qigong movements while breathing in unison. Dr. Dona Segal shares her thoughts about Qigong, and she will also show you an easy practice that you can do daily (13:25):
Marissa of Yoqi Yoga and Qigong Marissa has plenty of good Qigong videos that many of us can follow regardless if we are a beginner or an expert. She has this beautiful routine that will help us purge, tonify, regulate and circulate our qi (30:03):
Marissa also has a daily energy routine to wake up our body’s energies and get them moving in the right direction. Like the lotus ponds and trees in the background, watch the video here (17:08):
Is Tai Chi the Same as Qigong?
Tai Chi and Qigong may look the same, but they’re actually different. Qigong is the mother practice, and Tai Chi originated from it. Tai Chi is a subgroup of Qigong and is a more moving practice composed of pre-determined and longer series of movements. On the other hand, Qigong has easier movements, making use of one move many times. Although they have major differences, Tai Chi and Qigong also have many movements in common. For one, both practices encourage the flow of energy in the body and use qi and yin-yang theories. In China, it’s common to see people in parks do Tai Chi and Qigong.
Qigong is a good practice to calm your mind and de-stress. This is what we need during menopause. Give it a go and as always, appreciate your comments! ♥