Silver and Gold Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 20 WELL-BEING Qigong: ENERGIZE YOUR LIFE – By Monica Marquis, BScHE Qigong (pronounced chee gung) is an ancient Chinese mind body practice that restores wellness, builds mental and emotional strength, reduces stress and increases vitality. Qigong is a branch of Traditional Chinese medicine and the grandfather of Tai Chi, which was developed later for combat. Qi is the circulating life force (or energy) whose existence and properties are the basis of much Chinese philosophy. Gong is cultivation. Therefore, Qigong is energy cultivation. The body has energy channels that run throughout the body. According to Chinese medicine when these channels are blocked or if the energy is stagnant, disease can set in. Medical Qigong practitioners and Traditional Chinese doctors use Qigong movements as prescriptions to treat illness and disease. How many movements are there? There are many simple, powerful Qigong movements. Each one works on many levels (emotionally, physically, spiritually and energetically) and address many conditions to improve health. Personally, I teach a set of movements called the 18 Luohan Hands. These 18 movements are all you need to learn, because each movement can assist the body to heal in many ways. For example, the movement called Lifting the Sky works on anxiety, stress, incontinence, chronic fatigue syndrome, posture, hemorrhoids, mitral valve prolapse, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). These simple yet powerful movements are needed to stay healthy and can be used alone or in tandem with western medicine to improve your health. What does research indicate? Harvard School of Medicine has endorsed Qigong and Tai Chi. In a recent review, Harvard researchers cited the following improvements from practicing Tai Chi and Qigong: • cognition, attention, concentration, mental tracking 20 • strength, balance, coordination (no more falls!) • improve mood, memory, and reduce anxiety • lower heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate Two Canadian doctors studied the centenarians of Okinawa Japan for 20 years. These centenarians avoided age related chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Daily routines were studied and these centenarians have 3 things in common: • participate in the community throughout their lives • eat a yam native to the island of Okinawa • practice qigong daily! How do I find a good teacher? Good teachers are hard to find, because Qigong is not mainstream yet. It is not easy to get the training to become a Qigong teacher. I have had to travel far to get instruction. You can know and practice a lot of Qigong but that does not make you a good teacher. Some teachers focus on form too much. My teacher Anthony Korahais has a saying “bad Qigong is better than no qigong,” which makes sense because not everyone can do every movement perfectly the first time, nor should they. And stressing over form is not going to allow you to go inwards and experience the movement, which is where the magic happens. Do your research and try some classes. See what resonates with you. Good teachers have studied to become a qigong teacher, have their own daily practice, speak clearly, have a method that they use to teach, offer suggestions for improvement, and can answer your questions.• Monica Marquis is a Medical Qi Gong Practitioner.  She completed a 3 year Medical Qi Gong program, and 100 hour teaching program with Flowing Zen. Monica’s focus is on teaching people to maintain or enhance their health through Qi Gong. 905-483-3811 More articles, recipes & events online: