Introduction to Qigong
Being an art of self-training both body and mind as well as sending forth external qi (waiqi), qigong, created by the Chinese people in the long process of life, labor and fight against diseases, protecting and strengthening health and prolonging life. It is one of the gems in the treasure-house of
Qigong has a long history and diverse schools. As the "internal qi (neiqi)" of qigong and the "external qi (waiqi)" emitted by qigong masters are invisible and inaudible to ordinary people, qigong is commonly considered to be mysterious and profound.
Qigong is an art and skill to train qi. To be exact, it is a method by which the practitioner gets physical and mental self-exercise through bringing into play his subjective initiative. To achieve this aim, the practitioner must associate his mind, postures and breathing and act on the whole organism. On one hand, it actively self-regulates the functional activities of the organism and maintains a dynamic equilibrium. On the other hand , it enables the body to produce an "energy-storing" reaction, reduce energy consumption and increase energy accumulation, producing the effects of regulating yin and yang, dredging the channels and collaterals and emitting external qi.
1. The Influence of Qigong on the Neuromuscular System
When the training practice reaches the qigong state, the electroencephalograph dynamic process research finds: the peak frequency under qigong state diminishes in accordance with the variations of time, the dynamic variance falls and the fluctuation of the peak amplitude diminishes. It can be seen that the EEG stability is enhanced and the ordering degree is improved. Meanwhile, the rhythm of the frontal region is strengthened, indicating that the control of the brain over the activities of the internal organs and the incretory glands is somewhat strengthened.
Under qigong tranquilization, various components of the body-sensory evoked potential in the experiment display various degrees of restraint, the late components being the most obvious in particular, manifested by descent of wave amplitude or distortion of undulate form. Some components have disappeared. The researchers hold that this is because in the process of qigong, through auto-regulation the reticular structure is made to produce an ascending restraint over the sensory transmission. In addition, in the process of qigong tranquilization the sense perception of electrical stimulation reduces or disappears, denoting that the response to sensational stimulation is reduced.
The determination of the skin electrical potential of the acupoints Feishu (Lung Shu, UB13) and Mingmen (Gate of life, Du 4) finds that the skin electrical potential is reduced in the process of the training practice. During the training practice, the Dantian(Elixir Field) and other regions' body surface temperature rises. Meanwhile, it can also be observed that when the training practice reaches the tranquilization state the heart rate slows down, while the volume of the ear lobe blood vessels increases, the two presenting a negative correlation. These discoveries show that qigong dirigation can reduce the excitability of the sympathetic nervous system in the vegetative nerves and raise the excitability of the parasympathetic system.
When the training practice has reached the tranquilization state, the relaxation degree of the skeletal muscles is increased and the electromyogram presents single electrical potential pattern or electrical quiescence. Meanwhile, the muscular chronaxy is obviously elongated.
2. The Influence of Qigong on the Respiratory System
During the training practice, the frequency of respiration obviously decreases,
the depth of respiration deepens, the pulmonary ventilation volume reduces, tidal volume increases, the carbon dioxide component in the expiratory air and alveolar air increases while the oxygen component reduces. These show that in the process of the training practice respiration is in a spontaneous weakening state.
3. The Influence of Qigong on the Digestive System
Qigong dirigation can increase the peristaltic frequency of the stomach and intestines, strengthen their contraction and cause the hyper function of the intestinal gurgling sound, promoting the secretion of gastric juice. These effects also indicate that the training practice lays the cerebral cortex in a specific qigong state and regulates the functional condition of the vegetative nerves, manifested as the rise of the excitability of the vagus nerve and the fall of the excitability of the sympathetic nerve, thus regulating the movement and secretary function of the stomach and intestines.
Meanwhile, the respiration exercise of qigong is dominated by diaphragmatic movement. The deep and profound abdominal respiration can increase the amplitude of the diaphragmatic movement by 3-4 times, changing the intra-abdominal pressure and promoting the peristalsis of the stomach and intestines.