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  • The study (kung) of human energy (chi), developed 2,500 years ago in China, involves a total system of physical, mental and spiritual exercises that deal with promotion of health.

    Qigong (pronounced: chee-kong\ kung) is a mind/body practice that works to harmonize the body, breath, mind, energy, and spirit — the building blocks of our being. The study of Qigong teaches us how to enjoy and actively participate in our journey towards better health.

    What is involved?

    Qigong involves the practice of mind/body techniques using different postures: lying, sitting, standing still, moving slowly (Tai Chi), and moving quickly (Kung Fu). Mind/body methods and techniques include stretching, strengthening, increasing the range of motion in the joints, learning how to use the body in the most effortless way possible, lengthening the spine, increasing lung capacity, and massaging the organ area through movements. Techniques such as visualization may be used to improve relaxation, increase concentration, and utilize the mind and spirit as healing tools to achieve a higher quality of life.

    What has been proven?

    Preliminary studies suggest that Qigong can improve certain aspects of the immune system, and can increase functioning of the human body. Qigong involves many of the elements of regular exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to prevent muscle loss, increase bone density, prevent osteoporosis, increase stability and balance, help to relieve arthritis pain, reduce stress, lower anxiety, improve overall health and self esteem, relieve depression, strengthen the immune system, and possibly increase lymph flow.

    Possible side effects

    The act of stretching, challenging, and reactivating different soft body tissue (skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments) may lead to minor physical discomfort.

    Special considerations

    1. It is recommended that you discuss this complementary form of health with your physician.
    2. Relaxation is one of the first tools of Qigong, but Qigong is more than relaxation.
    3. It is essential to find a qualified Qigong Instructor.

    By making this information available, neither the Patient Family Education Council nor Dana-Farber Cancer Institute makes any recommendations, promises, or guarantees the effectiveness of this complementary therapy. For any serious condition please contact your doctor before trying any new therapy. If you do decide to try this modality of therapy, please inform your doctor or nurse so all practitioners can work together to help you in the healing process. 

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