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Qi Gong in Amerika

In einem sehr guten Artikel in der New York Times am 5. April von Nora Isaacs findet sich viel Interessantes zu Qi Gong. Lesen Sie auch unseren Beitrag Akupunktur mit Qi Gong.

Exercisers Slow It Down With Qigong

"… Nobody knew of qigong," said Mr. Lin, 49, a master of the age-old practice, which entails coordinating slow movements with breathing to cultivate the flow of energy, or qi, in a sort of graceful, fluid dance. Now, he runs a qigong center in Eden Prairie, Minn., called Spring Forest, where he teaches to packed classes of more than 60 students - …

The face of exercise is changing in America.

Instead of relentlessly pursuing a sculptured physique, people are chasing longevity, stress reduction and improved health through mind-body practices like qigong. "The realm of working out has shifted from people just wanting to build bulk and lean, toned muscles to them understanding that the inner health of the body is just as important as the outer health," said Bernard Shannon, a medical qigong therapist who works one on one with clients and sits on the board of the National Qigong Association, a trade group. This vanguard of wellness-motivated exercisers prefers a regimen that encourages self-awareness to one with a high calorie burn.

„People want to get back to a simpler time”

said Ted J. Cibik, a medical qigong therapist and a certified health and fitness instructor, whose patients include athletes. "They want to find something they can practice that doesn't take a lot of apparatus, allows them to deal with their stress, and gives them a good physical workout in the sense that it gets them moving." It wasn't until recently that the ancient, gentle practice of qigong caught the attention of even the most sophisticated American exercisers. The reasons vary. Mindful yoga has acclimated people to Eastern practices. Rising health care costs and expensive prescriptions have led people to look for alternative ways to feel vital. And an influx of qigong teachers from China has paved the way for new generations of teachers and students. …

It's taken decades for qigong –

which is an umbrella term for numerous energy-based practices, including tai chi - to spread across the United States, in part because there weren't enough instructors. That started changing in the 1980s and '90s, when a handful came from China. Then in the late '90s, after the Communist party made most forms of qigong illegal and cracked down on members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, who practice a form of qigong, an influx of teachers immigrated to this country. "Many great masters have left China," said Jampa Stewart, the director of Healing Tao Institute, …

950,000 American adults have practiced qigong

in their lifetime, according to a study conducted in 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and released in 2004 by the C.D.C. and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The yoga boom has made mind-body exercise more run of the mill. "Yoga has now become acceptable," said Judith Hanson Lasater, a yoga teacher since 1971 who now teaches restorative yoga, a form that encourages relaxation. "Qigong is a little further away, but yoga has opened the door." …

Practitioners say that qigong helps alleviate joint and muscle aches, increases energy and deepens their breathing. "It's taken my body, mind and spirit to a completely new level," said Shelley Marks, 46, a talent manager living in Los Angeles who started qigong after showing early signs of rheumatoid arthritis. "It's created a very peaceful feeling," she said, and her inflammation and pain have diminished. …

Qigong devotees report better sleep, less anxiety and increased energy. But the proof has lagged behind. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, is financing more studies on medical qigong, which involves therapists working individually with clients to correct energy imbalances that have led to pain or disease. But it's harder to get funding for studies about self-practice, said Kevin Chen, an associate professor at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "There are not many qigong masters who can produce measurable results repeatedly," Dr. Chen explained.

The database of the Qigong Institute, an online clearinghouse for information on medical qigong in Menlo Park, Calif. includes more than 3,500 studies, reporting qigong's positive effects on hypertension, arthritis and longevity. But rather than randomized controlled studies, the gold standard for Western medicine, many studies are anecdotal or have small sample sizes.

Scientific evidence or not, plenty of Americans find mind-body exercise a waste of time. "Qigong probably won't be as popular as yoga because you can't really get a beautiful body - it's such an internal practice," said Kimberly Ivy, founder of Embrace the Moon School for Taijiquan and Qigong in Seattle. "

And qigong does not have the same cult of personality as yoga. How do you get celebrity status when you are standing still, breathing?