Qi Gong is one of the little known yet powerful ways to assist the human body in detoxification processes. Most practitioners are aware of what Qi Gong adds to their health, like improved digestion, blood oxygenation, and immune function, but what is less discussed is what Qi Gong practices can remove from the body. Let’s take a short look through how Qi Gong helps the body keep itself clean and toxin-free:
Lymphatic Drainage: The Lymphatic system drains interstitial (between-cell) fluids, and any cellular debris, toxins, and pathogens therein. Lymph vessels bring these toxins to Lymph Nodes, where Lymphocytes (immune cells) break down and destroy them, before sending them as waste into the bloodstream to be further broken down and disposed of by the liver and kidneys. Shaking, knocking, swinging, stretching, and rhythmic movement all help to move this process along, pumping and stimulating the fluids through the lymph channels. This is especially helpful for stagnant or blocked lymph, and helps remove toxins from parts of the body where they may be building up due to slow drainage (including the brain, which the lymphatic system pulls an average of 3 POUNDS of toxins from annually!)
Uric Acid Deposit Breakdown: When there is excess uric acid in the blood, the body stores it as crystalline deposits in the joints, eventually leading to arthritis and other degenerative joint conditions. Silk Reeling is a popular Qi Gong practice that helps gently break up these deposits through repetitive swirling motions in the joints. Shaking and knocking exercises also help to vibrate and loosen these deposits.
Stimulate Internal Organs: Twisting movements through the spine, as well as deep abdominal breathing, actively massage and squeeze the internal organs. This helps pump and squeeze blood through the liver and kidneys, wringing them out like dirty sponges in clean water. It also helps move stagnant food and waste materials through the small and large intestines for swift digestion and elimination.
Activate Parasympathetic Nervous System: This branch of the nervous system is sometimes called the “Rest and Digest” mode, and is the opposite of the Sympathetic Nervous System, often referred to as “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” mode. When the sympathetic nervous system is active our heart rate is higher, and our blood and energy go to the muscles to prepare us to deal with external stressors. When the parasympathetic nervous system is active we feel relaxed, and our body is focused on digesting our food, fighting off pathogens, repairing tissues, and eliminating toxins. Deep breathing, stretching, and slow fluid movement all help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, thus bringing our body to a state where it can effectively deal with stored toxins.
Purge Carbon Dioxide/Hyperoxygenate Blood: A study, published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, showed that a group who did 20 minutes of Qi Gong a day over 10 days showed a nearly 20% increase in ventilatory efficiency: Oxygen uptake, and carbon dioxide production (measured as the amount of carbon dioxide expelled from the lungs on exhalation). From this we can hypothesize that longer Qi Gong sessions, or Qi Gong practiced over many days, months, or years, could result in even higher gains in ventilatory efficiency. Either way, what we do know is that Qi Gong deep breathing exercises help the body to eliminate carbon dioxide and take in oxygen more effectively. This means cleaner, more oxygenated blood, capable of feeding cells, removing wastes, and fighting infections with greater efficacy.
Who knew there were so many observable, measurable ways that this ancient, mysterious art was good for you? Practice daily for best results.