Qigong and Immunity

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Qigong and Immunity

These days our immune systems are coming under increasing and unremitting stress. Fortunately, there has been tremendous anecdotal evidence over millennia of the ability of Tantric  Qigong and T’ai Chi practitioners to enhance their immune system functions. No one really knows exactly how this occurs, at least in term of the prevailing Western medical paradigm. However, in recent years there have been an increasing number of medical studies endeavoring to measure and delineate this immune enhancing effect.

Protective Energy and General Immunity
Qigong is thought to have a protective and immune enhancing effect on an energetic level. This protective or Guardian Chi energy extends outside the body and forms a shield, deflecting environmental and negative emotional energies from other people. The strength of this Guardian Qi establishes a defensive perimeter that helps one resist the invasive nature of detrimental energies that can cause disease.

In a study published in Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Dr. Steven K.H. Aung states that in the view of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), disease is triggered by: “…external pathogenic factors in conjunction with…anger, sadness and anxiety, TCM has developed various proactive measures for…immune-enhancement…Certainly, Qi Gong…is a key protective…seeking to build up and enhance the protective energy and immunity of both patients and practitioners.¹

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Tantric Qigong Healing Tao

Cellular Immune Effects
On a cellular level, qigong practice tends to balance the quality, quality, and phagocytic activity of key immune system components such as neutrophils and Natural Killer cells

In a study by Quan-Zhen Li et al, the life span of neutrophils (white blood cells) increased in Qigong practitioners, while the cells responsible for inflammation decreased. The ability of the white cells to “eat” pathogens (neutrophilic phagocytosis) was significantly increased in Qigong adepts. The authors conclude that Qigong practice regulates immunity and this may be occurring at a genetic level.²

Higuchi Yuzo of the Tokyo Institute of Technology notes that “…Effective results have been achieved in regular qigong sessions…after a 40-minute session…a marked increase in the level of NK (Natural Killer) cell activity was detected…These results suggest that by conducting qigong practice, immunity and adjustment functions are enhanced.”³

Reduced Tumor Growth and Cancer Survival Rates

Several studies have examined the effect of qigong practice on cancer survival rates, decreases in tumor size, reduced side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, improved immune function, and quality of life.

A review of 50+ studies of Qigong cancer therapy in China showed that the Qigong groups displayed more improvement or had a better survival rate than those who did not practice Qigong. In vivo studies found that groups using Qigong as a treatment modality have significantly reduced tumor growth or longer survival.4

A clinical study of Qigong as a therapeutic aid for patients diagnosed with advanced cancer showed improvements 4 – 9 times greater than the control group in strength, appetite, and other markers. The phagocytic rate, a measure of the immune function, improved in the Qigong group but decreased in the control group.5

Dr. Wang and colleagues advise cancer patients to practice qigong exercises while receiving treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. They found that that the general health of the group practicing Qigong improved. The general health of the control group deteriorated and had a concomitant decline in white blood cell count.

It is great to have these clinical studies validate the healing power of Qigong. This is especially valuable for academicians, policy makers, and the general population of people who have yet to practice Qigong. For those of us who partake regularly of the joy and healing power of Tantric Qigong, the results are self-evident. © 2009 Keith E. Hall and www.inner-tranquility.com.  All rights reserved.

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¹A Practitioner’s View Using Traditional Chinese Medicine to Build Up the Immune System Steven K.H. Aung. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. Sept./Oct. 1996, 2(5): 288-292.

²Genomic Profiling of Neutrophil Transcripts in Asian Qigong Practitioners: A Pilot Study in Gene Regulation by Mind–Body Interaction, Ping Li, Gabriela E. Garcia, Richard J. Johnson, Lili Feng. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. February 2005, 11(1): 29-39.

³Immune Responses During Zhang Method Qigong. Higuchi Yuzo, et al J Int Soc Life Inf Sci, Vol.20; No.2; (JA)451-452,450,(EN)449-450(2002)

4Kevin Chen, PhD, MPH, Raphael Yeung, BA Exploratory Studies of Qigong Therapy for Cancer in China
Integrative Cancer Therapies, Vol. 1, No. 4, 345-370 (2002)

5Sun Q, Zhao L. Clinical observations of qigong as a therapeutic aid for advanced cancer patients. Proceedings First World Conf Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong, China. 1988:97-98

6Wang S, Wang B, Shao M, Li Z. Clinical study of the routine treatment of cancer coordinated by qigong. 2nd World Conf for Acad Exch of Medical Qigong. Beijing, China 1993:129

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