Simple ways to boost your mental health

Qi Gong / Chi gong is a gentle effortless form of exercise that has powerful side effects. It evolved as part of the link between martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine somewhere around 600BC. Over centuries of observation of people with all kinds of ailments the Chinese documented and postulated the existence of channels of energy through the body, the blockage of these channels impacts our health in various ways and in martial arts hitting the right spots can affect the person you are attacking.

To practice martial arts effectively and indeed many would argue to practice acupuncture effectively you need to have good strong Qi or energy.  Qi gong was developed as a way to raise and circulate the qi, strengthening it within the body, this is done by opening certain gates and stretching and twisting energy channels. A key point in Qi Gong practice is relaxation and deep breathing, both of which are prerequisites to allow Qi to flow.

Some Qi Gong movements are very gentle, others more vigorous. Some movements are very large and expansive, others are more subtle, almost imperceptible. All are different and have a very specific effect on body and mind. The deeper one practises, the more one can understand the purpose of each movement, allowing the Qi Gong practice to become ever more enjoyable.

It is this combination of stimulation and relaxation which has interesting effects on the brain.  Studies of qigong and tai chi practitioners have found a boost in both alpha brain waves, suggesting relaxation, and beta waves, indicating strong focus. It has the dual benefit of relaxing you, but also sharpening your mind.

In 2013, a three-month, 14-person study of depressed Chinese-Americans, who were offered one-hour qigong classes twice a week and encouraged to practice at home, found that 60% of those who took at least 15 classes saw a significant improvement in depression based on a standard rating scale.

In Chinese Medicine the transitional times of the year are times when we need to strengthen our Qi as it’s a prime time to be hit with external pathogens like colds and flu’s.

Younis incorporates Qi gong with Tai Chi in his 7 week beginners course here at The elbowroom. So if you need to build up your Qi for the winter months join him From Tuesday 20th October.

If you are curious about Qi gong check out this 10 minute morning sequence and try it out!

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