Joan (age 32) Recurring episodes of low back strain and general fatigue
Joan commented when she first phoned for information that she was very apprehensive about joining classes since she had injured herself previously in group “exercise” situations. She also stressed her own low energy levels and was concerned that classes might encourage competitive over-exertion.
At the first Qi Gong class Joan was reassured by the fact that participants were encouraged to be very aware of how they were feeling and to honour their internal feedback. She found that by doing ” a little less rather than more” she felt deeply energised rather than depleted at the end of the class. There was no sense of the competition or comparison with other students which Joan had sometimes experienced as an unpleasant pressure to “perform” in other classes.
Qi Gong practices emphasize the need to maintain an upright, elongated and naturally relaxed spine, so Joan felt safe in the lumbar area. She found that the practices taught in class both strengthened her back and developed flexibility in a gradual, cumulative way without any strain on her body.
Joan’s overall energy levels began to steadily improve as she continued her own daily Qi Gong practice. Of course, Joan also reviewed other aspects of her lifestyle which might have been out of balance.
William (age 54) High blood pressure and bouts of insomnia
William was worried that he had become overly dependent on medication to control his blood pressure. He had seen a program on the benefits of Qi Gong and Tai Chi in lowering blood pressure and calming the nervous system so he discussed the possibility with his GP.
Subsequently, William had several private Qi Gong lessons and developed his personal program of slow, rhythmic movement/breathing practices which he performed for 15 minutes twice a day. William’s particular favourite became the Crane style practices which worked especially to calm the heart.
William discovered that Qi Gong actually moves the nervous system out of the sympathetic “flight/fight” mode into the parasympathetic restorative, recuperative mode. There were also changes in brain chemistry which had a calming effect.
William found that, in time, he not only consistently slept better but was also able to modify his blood pressure medication under his doctor’s supervision.
Jim (age 24) History of asthma
Jim was especially interested in the breathing aspects of Qi Gong practice. In fact, he discovered that breathing combined with rhythmic movements which expanded the chest and exercised the diaphragm had a profoundly beneficial effect on his lung capacity.
Qi Gong emphasizes deep natural “abdominal” breathing rather than any forced breathing techniques which may, in fact, add an extra layer of tension to the breathing.
Jim found that his general health, including his digestion, improved with Qi Gong. The diaphragmatic breathing continuously strengthened and toned his abdominal muscles and internal organs. Moreover, every cell was receiving an adequate supply of oxygen for optimum functioning.
The deep relaxation period which ended each class was also of great benefit to Jim.