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Qigong for Addiction Recovery   

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February 3, 2021

Feeling stressed? Take a series of slow deep breaths; then repeat. That’s the recommended front-line defense to help us relax and cope with tension. This simple technique is fundamental to Qigong, also known as qi-gong or qi gong. A gentle, yet powerful system of coordinated body, breath and mind exercises, Qi-Gong traces its roots to China. These are very long and extended roots indeed, which go back not merely hundreds but thousands of years. Based on Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, Qigong supports balance and vitality. In fact, its name derives from that last principle – “qi,” pronounced as “chee,” means “life energy.”man practicing qigong for addiction recovery

Although it’s been around for years on end in Asia, Qigong now is global in its reach. Different from yet often compared to yoga, Qigong has been gaining legions of loyal fans. A post on “Why Qi Gong Is Growing in Popularity” addresses this issue. The pressures of a busy lifestyle wreak havoc on our ability to get grounded and find inner peace. Assisting both our emotional state and health, Qigong comes to the rescue. That explains why this article claims: “Qi Gong, or ‘energy work,’ [is] becoming an increasingly popular modality of choice to disconnect and rebalance.”

Qigong for Well-Being

A Google search of the phrase “what is Qigong good for” comes up with more than 7 million results in less than one minute. A quick scan of the top pages reveals that this easy-to-do routine is constructive for much of what ails us. A post from the Cleveland Clinic enumerates the health benefits. Does Qigong reduce depression, stress and chronic fatigue? Yes for all. Does it enhance the immune system? Check. What’s more, the article points out that deriving these effects via Qigong does not require a lot of effort. “Actually, if you have 10 minutes a day, you have enough time to do qigong. This ancient Chinese practice can reduce stress and help your body function at its best.”

Another post on “5 Healing Benefits of QiGong” adds to this inventory. Qigong increases circulation and lowers blood pressure. It improves digestion, focuses the mind and relieves anxiety, and helps condition the body. Plus, Qigong is “appropriate for all fitness types.” Something within this article is of utmost interest. It notes that QiGong increases “production of natural opiates like serotonin and dopamine and lowers stress hormone cortisol.” This means that this practice releases feel-good hormones, which creates “a relaxed state which fosters healing on the cellular level.”

In the grand scheme of things, this information is leading the way to the use of Qigong for something else. That is: Qigong is a tool in the treatment of addiction.

Qigong as an Aid in Recovery

How do we know about the positive effect of Qigong on those struggling with addiction? Science! The National Qigong Association reported on an experiment set up for this purpose. In this study, 50 men in treatment for early onset alcoholism used Qigong/Tai Chi along with medication and group therapy. A comparable control group received medication, group therapy and did yoga – no Qigong. Assessments occurred after 18 days and six months. Although both units started at the same baseline, differences arose and became more marked over time. The segment that used Qigong improved in cognitive thinking and impulse control. That was early on. After six months, “they also showed significantly fewer relapses in recovery and longer periods of abstinence.”

How Qigong Can Help You Recover from any Addiction” focuses on why this tool is of value to those with substance use disorder. Take detoxification for instance. Qigong accelerates the process by helping to cleanse the bloodstream. By promoting relaxation and self-care, it supports achievement of many of the goals of recovery. What’s more, in generating energy, Qigong helps to restore the body. And the spiritual aspects of this practice heal and create a sense of community. “The Benefits of Qigong for addiction treatment” goes into more detail. It cites a study that found Qigong soothed withdrawal during detox. “People who practiced qigong during withdrawal experienced comparatively fewer withdrawal symptoms than those who did not.” This article also noted other studies that attributed Qigong with enabling recovery. “Research studies show that qigong participants had a higher rate of completing treatment and a greater reduction in cravings.” It also lowered the rate of relapse.woman practicing qigong for addiction recovery

Getting Started with Qigong for Substance Abuse

Interested in learning more and testing out the moves? See “The Power of Belief (Qigong Exercise for Addiction Recovery ” This YouTube video comes by way of a person in recovery, who shares his story and guides viewers through a brief Qigong routine. “Qigong for Addiction Recovery” is the first of a series of YouTube videos from Space to Relax. It explains the virtues of Qigong for addiction recovery and provides results of studies to back it up. Then it provides links to Qigong exercise videos and to subscribing to this YouTube channel.

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