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 Qigong and Taiji: Physiological Mechanisms Operating in the Human System During the Practice of Qigong and Yoga/Pranayama 

The three major areas of physiological mechanisms initiated and enhanced by Qi Gong and Yoga/Pranayama practice are:

  1. Oxygen Metabolism
  2. Lymph System
  3. Brain and Nervous System

The most ancient and refined systems of health self care, Qigong and Yoga/Pranayama, originated in China and India. Both systems have similar activities which include breath practice, postures, motion, self massage, relaxation, concentration, visualization and meditation. Science is currently recognizing the value of investigating such ancient health care systems. It appears that a broad spectrum of physiological and bio-energetic events are triggered by Qi Gong and Yoga and that these mechanisms can be modified and refined by conscious and concentrated practice. This review will explore some of the major physiological mechanisms activated by the practice of these simple, self applied health enhancement techniques of China and India.

Actual research on Qigong and Yoga in the western world is in its infancy although some work has been done on the physiological parameters that may be influenced by voluntary control of the body's self regulating systems.(1,2,3) There is, however, substantial research from numerous disciplines of western science, (exercise physiology, behavioral medicine, psychoneuroimmunology, neurology, hematology, immunology and lymphology) that explores states or responses that are similar to states or responses innitiated by Qigong and Yoga practice.

Techniques such as meditation, progressive relaxation and autogenic training have been found to alter heart rate, blood pressure, brain wave activity (EEG), neurotransmitter profile, peripheral blood volume, skin temperature and muscle control. (EMG).(1,2,3) Exercise that innitiates only minimal to moderate body movement has been found to be effective and beneficial. Moderate body movement that occurs within a context of deep relaxation, for example, is common to both Qigong and Yoga. Western research on exercise, relaxed states and other triggers of specfic physiological responses are clearly implicated as useful resources that may help to begin to build a body of scientific information on the self applied health maintenance methods of the Asian systems of traditional medicine. Key words such as "breathing exercises", "respiratory muscle training", "respiratory relaxation training", "correction of breathing", "physical training", "exercise therapy", "mild exercise", "dynamic exercise", "relaxation therapy", "autogenic training" and "meditation" lead to useful sources in the literature. This paper will draw actively on the recent literature of western research to point toward mechanisms which may be operating in Qigong and Yoga practice.

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 About The Author
Roger Jahnke OMDRoger Jahnke has been in the health field since 1967 beginning with body therapies, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation. He turned his attention seriously to Oriental medicine in 1972 with study at the North......more
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