Mindful movement for health and well-being

Published in Heart & Vascular, For the Health of It Author: Kathleen Mahon, RN, MN, CNP, APHN

When people find out that I work at the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center, they ask me about ways to reduce stress in their lives. One method I recommend is qigong.

Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) means “life energy cultivation.” It is an ancient Chinese practice that is both an art and a science. Traditionally practiced throughout China, qigong now is used worldwide for recreation, exercise, relaxation, preventive medicine, self-healing and training for martial arts.

Qigong practice typically involves:

  • Moving meditation
  • Coordinating slow flowing movement
  • Deep rhythmic breathing
  • Calm meditative state of mind

Appropriate for all ages, qigong is easy to learn and believed to improve energy levels and flow in the body. Considered “mindful movement,” it allows your mind to quiet. Qigong helps elicit your body’s relaxation response, which includes a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and drops in adrenaline and cortisol. Other benefits may include:

  • Increased stamina and vitality
  • Reduced stress
  • Enhanced immune system
  • Improved cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive functions
  • Decreased risk of falling
  • Diminished symptoms and improved function in people with fibromyalgia

If you are interested in preventing heart disease through changes in lifestyle, contact the Women@Heart Project, 320-240-7841. You will meet one-on-one with a nurse practitioner, dietitian and exercise physiologist to customize a plan that will work for you.