Qi gong is one modality of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) believed to be at least 4,000 years-old. Written records referring to Qi and its effects are thought to be as old as 3,300 years (Shang dynasty oracle bones, Zhou dynasty inscriptions).
Qigong has been practiced for thousands of years with purported benefits for health and longevity. Qigong training is designed to enhance function and regulate the functional activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of qigong practice been scrutinized with empirical research. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues (See links below).
There is evidence that Qigong practice strengthens the immune system and lowers the incidence of upper respiratory infections (colds and flu). The state of the immune system is an indicator of the state of health of the individual. Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases and what’s called the innate immune response involving high levels of Natural Killer (NK) cells. On the other hand, the ability of the body to detect and fight of infections is indicated by what’s termed the adaptive immune response and involves both T and B cells lymphocytes. It follows then that if qigong practice improves general health and fights off infection and inflammation, that practice should increase T and B lymphocytes and decrease NK cells.
In today’s Research News article “Effects on the Counts of Innate and Adaptive Immune Response Cells after 1 Month of Taoist Qigong Practice”
Vera and colleagues studied the effect of one month of qigong practice on plasma levels of T, B, and NK cells. They found that qigong practice, in comparison to control participants, increased the levels of T and B lymphocytes and decreased the levels of NK cells. This indicates that engaging in qigong practice strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation.
These results help to explain why qigong practice appears to be so beneficial for health. It strengthens the body’s critical defenses against disease and reduces the maladaptive over-activity in this system as reflected in chronic inflammation. Importantly, qigong does this with a practice that is safe, simple, easily scalable to large numbers of people, very inexpensive, and applicable to all age groups and to both healthy and ill individuals.
So, practice qigong and strengthen the immune system.
“Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice… has value in treating or preventing many health problems.” ~Harvard Women’s Health Watch
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
It has been shown to improve cardiac health (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/09/02/heart-health-with-tai-chi/), reduce the risk for strokes (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/09/18/dont-get-stroked-practice-tai-chi/), reduce the physical and psychological responses to stress (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/09/28/age-healthily-with-qigong-soothing-stress-responses/), improved sleep in people suffering from insomnia (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/aging-healthily-sleeping-better-with-mindful-movement-practice/ and http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/08/06/age-healthily-treating-insomnia-and-inflammation/), helped with recovery from cancer (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/age-healthily-mindful-movement-and-cancer-recovery/) and reduced chronic inflammation (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/category/contemplative-practice/tai-chi-qigong/)