Anxiety and its component symptoms, heart palpitations, sweating, restlessness, muscle tightness and pain can be troublesome for many. Anxiety can range from a chronic low levels to paralyzing attacks which can interfere with many areas of a person's life. From the perspective of Chinese Medicine anxiety often stems from an imbalance in heart qi or a disharmony in the heart, pericardium, or kidney meridians. In my clinic I treat this with acupuncture, herbal medicine and teaching simple Qigong exercises to my patients. By regulating these meridians and stimulating free flow of blood and qi in these ways, anxiety is relieved.
From a mindfulness perspective, anxiety is caused by your thoughts. Slow your mind and be present in the moment and you will see there is no anxiety in this moment. Only peace. It's like the well-worn phrase "There are no stressful situations. Only stressful thoughts." From the Western medical model anxiety is a chronic over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Interestingly, Qigong calms anxiety very quickly and can be explained to be effective from each of these three perspectives. Qigong, a close relative of Tai Chi, is an of a set of slow, intentional movements combining breath, intention, postures to engender a complete awareness and presence in the body in the moment. In this sense it is referred to as an internal martial art. From the Chinese Medicine perspective it moves the blood and cultivates the qi in the heart, pericardium, and kidney channels and this balance results in relaxation. Which leads us to the mindfulness and Western medical perspectives. Qigong is moving meditation which pulls the mind to this moment. By training the mind repeatedly to focus on this moment and relax into this moment with qi gong your body "learns" to unravel the over-stimulated nervous system and maintain equilibrium.
It has been proven that Qigong practice brings about:
Other ways Qigong can help reduce anxiety and induce calm:
- Reduced pain
- Lowered heart-rate
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved sleep
- Deep relaxation
- Improved balance and strength