Qigong and Women’s HealthMay 03, 2021 06:43PM ● By Tom Bowman
Qigong is a relatively new health practice to many in the West. It is classified as Complementary Integrative Medicine by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and can work alongside Western Medicine. It has been around for 5,000 years, with acupuncture arriving 1,500 years later. Qigong is unique because of its approach to healing. Unlike Western Medicine, qigong approaches healing from both a physical and emotional perspective while looking for the root causes of the illness.
The goal of qigong treatment is to achieve the proper flow of bioelectricity called qi (chi). Bioelectricity flows through our bodies on a continual basis all the way down to our cells. Stagnation of bioelectricity causes illness. The conscious mind affects the physical body. Our mindset can boost physical healing, and it can interfere with the healing process. Including emotional issues in the healing equation is vital in qigong.
A qigong practitioner takes many factors into consideration when making a health assessment. Many factors contribute to women's emotional and physical health, with both short and long-term effects: number of births, menstrual issues, quality of her childhood, quality of current relationship, work-related stress, birth control, exercise, faith, duration of current/past illness and current emotional well-being.
A qigong practitioner understands where these issues are rooted. Considering the principle of eceptive/Radiative (Yin/Yang): men are considered radiative, which simply means that they are constantly using their energy; women are considered to be receptive, which means they store and use much less of their energy. This is part of a woman’s ability to carry an unborn child for nine months.
Next, qigong practitioners look at ways of dealing with adversity. Women have the ability to nurture and have compassion. In difficult situations, a woman may keep her feelings to herself. Negative feelings can become a catalyst for health issues that qigong classifies as pathogenic emotions. Our emotional state affects our organs: anger affects the liver; worry affects the spleen; anxiety/grief affect the lungs; fear affects the kidneys; shock affects the heart first and then the kidneys; and sadness affects the lungs. In qigong treatments, it is important to get a person back in balance.
Qigong theory describes meridians and vessels in the body that travel along the torso, arms and legs. These are responsible for regulating and replenishing the bioelectricity (qi) to our organs. These follow along the routes used by the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems. A blockage in a meridian or vessel will initially impact the muscles next to the blockage, then spread in either direction from the affected area.
Breast concerns and issues are linked to the main liver meridian and the linking and heel vessels that pass at the center of the breast. This is a common situation leading to breast concerns, linked to the emotion of anger, and in the case of the vessels, issues with the reproductive system. This is why it is important for all women to practice healthy tissue massage of the breasts daily in order to maintain the proper bioelectric (qi) flow.
Another recommendation for women’s health is practicing Kegel exercises. This will strengthen vaginal muscles and prevent loss of energy flow within the reproductive organs. This can help prevent potential issues later. This is important for women to include in their health routine, especially if they are middle-aged, have recently given birth or have had surgery in the reproductive area.
As we enter our middle ages, muscle tone can be lost. Tai chi and qigong practice can help. These types of exercises have a long history of helping middle-aged practitioners stay strong and agile into their 80s. Strengthening from within is a practice taken very seriously in qigong, including strengthening the bones. Any and all pressure that we put directly on our bones makes them stronger. To help prevent bone-related problems later in life, stay active with simple exercises like walking.
Clinical qigong addresses specific illnesses and includes participation of the practitioner and the patient in the healing process. Treatment for high blood pressure, the immune system, anxiety, stress, surgery recovery, improving flexibility, balancing emotions and strengthening organ function can all be addressed through qigong. Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure, meridian massage, tui na, gua sha, cupping, reflexology and energy work are some of the tools used by a clinical qigong practitioner. Patients receive treatments, health-specific meditation and very low- to medium-impact exercises to match their physical capabilities. This helps continue the healing process between visits.
Qigong is an excellent treatment modality for people with disabilities and their caregivers, those recovering from surgery, dealing with a loss of energy or simply recovering from an illness. Age is not an issue when it comes to qigong training—the focus is on well-being and prevention of illness.
Tom Bowman received his qigong certification from Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming in 2007 and completed the Medical Qigong course of studies with Master Hong Liu, M.D. Bowman is a member of the National Qigong Association and is recognized as a Clinical Practitioner and Level Three Advanced Instructor. He is founder and director of the Qigong of Tulsa Wellness Center. For more information, call 918-855-4222 or click here for more information.