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Special to the Jewish News
(11 igong is the ancient Chinese
art and science of harboring
life energies within the body
— or literally "energy
A close cousin of tai chi, qigong is a
series of mild exercises, poses and posi-
tions that stimulate the body's
immune functions, lowers blood pres-
sure and decreases oxygen demands.
The combination of these effects is to
increase energy and make the individ-
ual stronger and resistant to disease.
Qigong in its modern form is
derived from ancient Chinese writings
that date back 7,000 years. Some
scholars believe that qigong may be
older than that.
The name qigong (pronounced
"chee gong") is derived from its two
parts: "qi," which means "life energy,"
central to the belief in the practice of
Chinese medicine — and "gong,"
which means discipline. The corn-
bined words lead us to the study and
art of being in control of and maxi-
mizing the benefits of life energy.
Qigong comes in many facets and in
China is widely followed. Typical in
Chinese medical establishments are
qigong practitioners who perform
"hands-on" qigong, bringing needed qi
into the patient's body and energizing
However, stateside, qigong is
restricted to physical and mental exer-
cises. In this form, qigong works to
prevent illness and disease, and for
treating chronic maladies.
Ted Kardash is a San Diego-based
teacher of qigong and tai chi. "There
are doctors in China who may pre-
scribe qigong exercises to help you
with your condition," he said.
The emphasis on qi will be immedi-
ately familiar to anyone who has had
acupuncture. The two disciplines are
closely related, so much so that qigong
is sometimes referred to as "needleless
"Like acupuncture, it's based on the
system of energy flow in the body, the
meridians that acupuncture works
directly with," said Kardash. 'A certain
exercise might be to stimulate your
lung meridian, for example, if you're
having respiratory problems."
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