Sobre los beneficios terapéuticos del Qigong según la Chinese Health Qigong Association
2012-03-23 09:11:00Chinese Health QiGong Association
One of the most important fortunes for people is health and the great importance they attached to the health of their body and mind manifests the social progress in which they live. Health is the precondition of people’s self-development, self-value, participation in social progress and share of social achievements. Hence, without healthy body and mind, people can achieve nothing and all they want is out of the question.
From a global point of view, social medicine and health development theories are in tune with the world’s changes. According to the World Health Organization (WTO), the development stages of medicine science can be classified in sequence into clinical medicine, preventive medicine, rehabilitation medicine, health medicine and self-care medicine This shows that the focus of the world’s medical science is changing over the time and preventive medicine, rehabilitation medicine and self-care medicine are forging ahead towards the medical hub of the twenty first century, which, in turn, is in line with the idea of the great emphasis on “preventing people from falling ill” in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
In traditional Chinese medicine, there are many ways of “preventing people from falling ill” and one popular type, also known as the most effective type in the six healing methods in traditional Chinese medicine, is the easy and effective exercise of the body and the mind in Health Qigong. It aims at coordinating people’s body and mind by using the natural energy reserved and dredging their meridian and collateral and is regarded as the magic “oriental fitness” by the westerners. Besides, with a history of thousands of years and based on the holistic view of the human body and the harmony between humans, the society and the nature, i.e. “the philosophy of the unity of the man and the nature” it can integrate the movements of limbs, inhaling and exhaling and thinking into an organic whole, enhance the bodily fitness and health. No matter for company staff under high pressure of modern fast-paced life and over-stressed working surroundings or for those retired with a easy life or those who suffered from chronic diseases, Health Qigong is the ideal way for them to achieve fitness and self-cultivation. Thus Health Qigong is ranked as one of the healthy exercises of the twenty first century.
Health Qigong exercise has already been a part of modern life and its effectiveness has been proved by modern scientific tests. However, the principles hidden behind it are still not in unanimous, this, no matter from perspective of traditional theory of fitness or from the vision of modern science, is unbeneficial to the popularization of Health Qigong, especially to its internationalization. Therefore, the research we conducted on the exercise principles of Health Qigong in fact is both the requirements for the development of Health Qigong itself and the needs of modern times.
What is the origin? “Origin is the essence of water and spring, the key element to be looked for.” is the definition in Knagxi Dictionary, while Ci Hai defined it as the source or the departing point of water or spring, the character of which is derived from the “source”, an similarly pronounced word in Chinese, with its extended sense being the fundamentality or essentiality.
Then, what is principle? According to Shuo Wen, “principle is the curving of the jade”, i.e. to curve the precious stone. In the eyes of the ancient, the densest material in all is the jade. And it is never too careful for one to curve jade because of its fine and exquisite textures and one has to first find out the true textures and then curve along them with greatest care. And only by this way can one create an artistic masterpiece of public popularity; however, if one mistakenly curves it against its textures, the jade will be damaged and this is how the original meaning of the principle comes.
The textures of jade are many but we should not be bewildered by them. On the contrary, what’s important is to find out the origin of the textures, i.e. to look for the fundamentality or essentiality of the textures because this is where all textures derived from in nature.
By the same token, there are a myriad of theories of Health Qigong too. In Training Course for Social Sports Instructors of Health Qigong, Health Qigong theories are divided into traditional type and physiological and psychological type. The former is subdivided into holistic view of Health Qigong, theories of Health Qigong and yin-yang, theories of Health Qigong and viscera, theories of Health Qigong and meridian and collateral and theories of essence, qi and mind, etc., while the latter is composed of the physiological analysis of Health Qigong and psychological analysis of Health Qigong. According to the Standard Course of Health Qigong, the theoretical basis of Health Qigong comprises theories of yin-yang and five elements, theories of viscera and meridian and collateral, theories of essence, qi and mind and the doctrine of the unity between man and nature, etc.
Form a structural point of view, the first two characters of the four in Health Qigong are attributives, indicating that it is a type of “Qigong” for fitness instead of others such medical Qigong or that for develop human potential.
Consequently, the theoretical basis of Health Qigong is surely different form that of other “medical Qigong” due to their different purposes. Just as the discrepancy between Health Qigong and medical Qigong in Daoyin Yang Sheng Gong series compiled by Professor Zhang Guangde, the principles under which they are created are divergent.
Surely there are many types of Health Qigong and each with a slightly different purposes, for example, in Standard Health Qigong Course, it is believed that Health Qigong can help dredge meridian and collateral, regulate blood and qi, strengthen the body resistance to eliminate pathogenic factors, enhance the body and trigger the potential and develop the intelligence and so on. In the Science of Chinese Health Qigong by Ma Jiren, he holds that the main function of Health Qigong is to prevent people from falling ill with other minor ones. Toa Zulai thinks that it is a highly comprehensive science that goes beyond the function of fitness keeping but also relates to the mind, the body, temper, and behavior and the holistic cultivation of people as well as other aspects of human beings. Qu Limin, the author of Head to Toe Methods –the Theories of Health Qigong and Fitness believes that Health Qigong mainly has three functions: life elongating, intelligence developing and illness preventing.
According to those above, we have learnt that when we look for the fundamentality or essentiality of Health Qigong, i.e. its exercise principle, what we need to do is just to find those theories with a nature of fundamentality or essentiality.
The Law of Human Body
Human physiology tells us that the law of human bodies is either all organs of humans function in a normal state or in an abnormal state. In general, we regard the former state as healthy state and the latter as unhealthy state.
Form a structural point of view, system, organs and tissues are composed of the smallest cells. When they are unable to function normally, the reasons for them can always be traced back to their cells. As a result, as long as those cells can go smoothly, then people are under normal healthy state or vice versa are in a state of illness.
When there are problems in our body, we often say my cardiovascular systems has gone wrong, I have got a stomachache or muscle strained, etc. all those are in fact different statements about the unhealthy states of human body. Cardiovascular perspective is stated from systematic dimension; stomachache is from a dimension of organ while the strained muscle is presented from structural dimension and cancer is betrayed from cellular point of view. Despite the different dimensions, we can all boil down those problems to the dysfunctional cells.
In the last analysis, the rehabilitation of our body and the functional improvements of our systems and organs can all be reduced to functional enhancements in their cells. And scientific studies prove that immunity of human body is realized through interfering with the cells of the body, as long as the functions of cells are recovered, then human organs and systems will get back into normal state.
In essence, immunity refers to the physiological function of human body protection, i.e. the defense mechanisms of the body and this type of mechanisms can detect and eliminate such foreign substances as viruses, bacteria, etc, from outside environment, while its internal functions include handling aging, injury, death, and cells degeneration as well as indentify and process mutant cells and virus-infected cells. In summary, the immune system mainly functions in three ways: to defense, to stabilize and to monitor. Once these functions go wrong, immunopathological reaction will be triggered.
Therefore, the level of human immune can exert direct influence on the cells of human body. Studies show that the higher the immune level is, the more stable the environments the cells are under, thus less illnesses for humans and vice versa. To enhance the immunity of people is crucial to their health and recovery from illnesses. In a word, the key to address the health-related problems is to improve the immunity of the people.
Preventive and Rehabilitation Systems of the Human Body
What is immunity of the human body? Currently, it is universally agreed by the international immunological circles that “the immune system is the power entailed in the body that makes human survive”. As long as the human immunity is within the range of normality, human body can maintain its regular functions and the recovery process of the human body is in fact affected by the human immunity.
Now that the human immunity is closely related to people’s health, then all those that relate to the immune system is within the range of our research, including the positive elements that can enhance the human immunity and the negative components that can degenerate it.
The latest research data show the factors that can degenerate the human immunity are as follows:
——The human immunity is in disproportionate to the bodily pressure, i.e. the higher the bodily pressure, the lower the human immunity.
——The human immunity will decrease when the human body is in a state of tiredness and over-mobility.
——The human immunity will lower when the human body is under low temperature.
Then, what are the positive factors that can improve the human immunity? Research shows that:
——The human immunity will increase when people enjoy their easiness or tranquility.
——The human immunity will go up when people do exercise with a low or moderate intensity.
——The human immunity will raise 35% for each degree of temperature increase when the temperature of the human body is between 36℃ - 41℃.
The above achievements of research show us the effective methods to enhance human immunity, to prevent it from decreasing and enables us a better grasp of our own immunity.
The Relation between the Exercises of Health Qigong and the Rehabilitation of the Bodily Prevention
In September, 2009, General Administration of Sport of China (GASC) issued Health Qigong Administration Measures and further defined the terms of Health Qigong and pointed out that “Health Qigong, being the excellent part of traditional Chinese culture and sports, its main purpose is to regulate the activities of the human body, inhaling and exhaling and mind.” At the same year, “Health Qigong” is formally listed as the 62nd sports event by GASC and is regarded as one of sports event of the national fitness campaign. Afterwards, the GASC set up a GASC Health Qigong Administration Center to manage the relevant work, which in turn shows the great attention it attracted our state. Since the day “Health Qigong” is bestowed its physical nature, its main feature has already rooted in its mobility, the nature of which can find its full manifestation from its current forms of expressions.
Exercises and the Human Immunity
Judging from modern physiology, blood circulation and lymphatic circulation are two main systems of circulation in the human body. Blood circulation depends on the “pump” of the heart to flow over the whole body and lymphatic circulation has to rely on its own system because of its nature of lacking the “pump”. In fact, it is realized by the contraction of muscles. Therefore, those who kept one posture for a long time will feel “numb”. This is because “No exercise = No contraction of muscles” which results in abnormal functioning of the lymphatic system. So it is crucial for people to do exercise regularly so that their lymphatic system can function smoothly.
Then, whether exercise is always good for health? Research shows that exercises with different loads can produce different impacts on the immune functions and appropriate exercise can improve the functions of the immunity and decrease the risks of infectious diseases, and exercises with a high degree of intensity can inhibit the normal functions of the human immunity.
According to the studies in sports immunology, we found that proper exercise that is in proportionate to the intensity of the exercises can enhance neutrophils, macrophages, and the activity of NK cells that process cancerous cells. However, when doing intense exercise or doing exercise for more than two hours, the activity of the NK cells will decrease. And when stopping, their functions will be lowered all of a sudden. In addition, although intense exercise can raise the greediness of the macrophages, antigen-presenting capacity and the ability to acquire immunity of T cells will lower.
Study shows that a moderate load exercises can improve the functions of the human immune surveillance and seems able to decrease the risk factors of body infection in the long run.
What is a moderate load exercise? Strictly speaking, it can’t be generalized by one yardstick because different people have different life styles and physical and mental energy. In general, it is better to sweat just a little bit but with a smooth aspiration when exercising and another indicator is the heartbeat index shall be controlled to a pace of 90 to 120 per minute.
Health Qigong inherited the traditional philosophy of moderate exercise in the ancient regimen and selected exercises with a low- and medium- intensity that are proved by long practice. This is because low- and medium- intensity exercises are helpful for improving the human immunity. Thus, it is recommended to enhance the human immunity by doing Health Qigong exercises.
The Relation of Relaxation and the Human Immunity
The world famous Japanese immunologist and Professor Toru Abo found that disorders of automatic nerves (also known as vegetative nerves) can decrease the human immunity by disturbing the equilibrium lymphatic cells in leukocytes and granulocytes, and finally results in illnesses, which is regarded by him as “the governing rule of automatic nerves in leukocytes”.
Automatic nerves are composed of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves and neither of them is in absolute standstill. On the contrary, they are involved in a combative relations, i.e. one tends to dominate the other and when the function of one decreases, they are in an antagonistic relations. The more intense the changes are, the worse the physical conditions of the people will be. If one dominates the other for a long time, then the body temperature will goes down, and so do the human immunity, which in turn results in diseases.
Sympathetic nerves are the ones that function in the daytime when we are doing exercise or in a state of excitement. They speed up our beats of hearts and aspiration, deliver oxygen to the body, and raise the blood pressure and blood flow and contract blood vessels. When people are under great pressure generated by tiredness, anxiety and worry, their sympathetic nerves will dominate the parasympathetic nerves. Under these circumstances, adrenal gland will secrete a kind of hormone called adrenaline that causes blood vessels to contract, and in turn contributes to the blood blockage and insufficient oxygen and nutrients for cells.
Parasympathetic nerves are the ones that function at night, when we are dining or sleeping or smiling. They can make our nerves relaxed, heart pulses slowed, blood vessels enlarged and blood flow increased.
Health Qigong attaches great importance to exercisers’ relaxation and tranquility and can be learned easily. Therefore, exercisers can be lead into a relaxed and quiet state of themselves and this type of quietness and easiness in turn empowers parasympathetic being take hands over the sympathetic nerves, hence, a lower pressure and a higher human immunity.
Body Temperature and the Human Immunity
In general, it is agreed that when the temperature measured under the armpit is below 36℃, it is considered to be low. Those with a low body temperature usually have a temperature of about 35℃, for those unwilling to get up early, their body temperature is may even below 35℃.They often turned over on the bed and showed unwillingness of getting up. This is because they are unable to do any activity when their body temperature still kept low.
The temperature of brain and inner organs should measure at 37.2 ℃. This is just the temperature for bacteria harbored in the body and enzyme essential for human life to be function in an active way. However, if the temperature is below 37.2 ℃, enzyme of the human body can’t function normally and metabolism can’t be carried out smoothly. Thus it is easy for different diseases to be triggered under these circumstances.
Automatic nerves function as the body temperature controller. They enable warm-blooded animals such as humans free from the interferences of surroundings and keep their body temperature stably at 37.2 ℃ when under temperature conditions that are lower or higher than 37.2 ℃. For instance, when the outside environment is low and the body temperature goes down, the automatic nervous system inhibits energy from losing by contracting blood vessels of the skin. On the contrary, when under high temperature environment, the automatic nervous system radiates energy from the body via dilating blood vessels.
The activities of human life such as the pulse of the heart, the respiration of the lungs, speaking, walking all depend on the human energy. Low body temperature can lead to blood flow disorders of the entire body, or congested blood flows, and further to less body’s activities. Because blood is transmitted via energy, when blood flow is congested for one reason or another, body temperature will be hard to be kept due to its lack of blood supply.
Thus, the immunity of the human body will decrease for leukocytes themselves function as immune systems. The functions of leukocytes will lower 30% for every decrease of the body temperature by l ℃. When under such conditions, automatic nerve will find its way to keep the body at its normal temperature by contracting the peripheral blood vessels of the hands and feet, enabling energy reserve of the body. Although people under this conditions have cold or numb hands and feet, swollen lower limbs, tired or obese bodies in theory, these changes can seldom be physically detected by humans because metabolism of people with low body temperature goes down.
After grasping a basic understanding of relations between body temperature and immunity, naturally we will pay attention to these scenarios. Likewise, when knowing coldness or coolness which cause our body temperature to drop, is bad for our health, we may try to drink less iced or cold beer or drinks.
Cancer cells are fond of low body temperature but dislike oxygen and they maintain their energy and survive by adopting anaerobic respiration (respiration with no oxygen/anaerobic respiration) When the body blood that carries oxygen to the entire body is disordered and body temperature is low, cancer cells may easily proliferate on a large scale. The most favorable temperature for cancer cells to increase in large amount is 35 ℃. If anti-cancer drugs are applied, then the body temperature will decrease to 34 ℃. – The temperatures 1 ℃ higher than that in the mountain areas that can make humans hallucinate before they are frozen to death.
On the contrary, the ideal condition to inhibit cancer cells from being increased is when the blood flow of the body is unblocked. Compared with normal cells, cancer cells are sensitive to heat, especially that of above 41 ℃, under which temperature they began to die, and when under 42.5 ℃, they nearly die out. Thus, the best time to cure cancer is the time when the patients have a fever or with a high body temperature.
Health Qigong attaches great importance to health-keeping by exercise and emphasizes comprehensive exercise of the whole body, especially that of the distal joints of the limbs. Its purpose is quite simple, that is, to dredge qi and blood throughout the whole body so that the body temperature can go up. Those who often do Health Qigong exercises often experience such a scenario that when finished one or two round of Health Qigong in tune to the music (for instance, Ba Duan Jin or Wu Qin Xi)， they feel slightly sweat, and at this moment, their body temperature is in a medium stage, i.e. just in a stage of body temperature rising, and under this condition, their immunity is in a process of going up too.
Abdominal Deep Respiration and the Human Immunity
Respiration is observed under the control of the automatic nervous system. Current studies show that when under such conditions, what people can consciously control and regulate is only respiration. Abdominal deep respiration can inhibit parasympathetic nerves from over-excitability and locate parasympathetic nerves at an advantage position. So we can regulate and balance the disorder-sensitive automatic nerve system by controlling the time gap between inhaling and exhaling.
The theoretic basis for activating immune system under control of abdominal deep respiration by stimulating parasympathetic nerves is as follows；
Trachea will expand when sympathetic nerves are at advantage position and contract when otherwise. Similarly, trachea will contract when people do abdominal deep respiration and the parasympathetic nerves in the automatic nervous system will replace take hands over the sympathetic nerves. When people are nervous or in a state of excitement and if they do abdominal deep respiration can free their mind form being nervous; thus, the advantageous position of the sympathetic nerves will be replaced by the parasympathetic nerves that function as alleviators.
For modern people, they are often in a state that sympathetic nerve is at a priority status. Therefore, the correct way of respiration can balance the automatic nerves and also promote good circulation of the inner organs and enhance the human immunity so as to improve the body’s ability of diseases prevention.
Exercises, especially those with an intense nature, can make sympathetic nerves be in a state of excitement. Abdominal deep respiration can stimulate parasympathetic nervous system and thus is beneficial to the equilibrium of automatic nervous system. Health Qigong is a type of comprehensive exercise that mainly depends on abdominal respiration. Therefore, abdominal exercise can releases people from high intensity and being in a relaxed state, hence improved effects of higher human immunity.
No Strenuous Exercises for the Middle-aged and the Elderly
The latest immunological discovery indicates that the decrease of the human immunity is independent of that of people’s age while the age increase has an impact on the quality of the human immunity. That is, with growing age, the immune system will regulate itself.
Research indicates that there exist two immune systems in human body. While young, the human body is mostly in charge of the new immune system and with the growing age, the new immune system will gradually decline while the old one takes place of the new one. The old immune system is mainly coordinated by extrathymic differentiation T cells, NK cells and early B cells. The alternating peak for the immune system is 20 years. But the two immune systems are parallel, in fact it is not the matter that the new will replace the old but only their main role is alternated.
For the middle-aged and the elderly, they mainly depend on the old immune system such as NK cells and extrathymic differentiation T cells; therefore, it is not suitable for them to do strenuous exercises. This is because strenuous exercises cause granulocytes to release a large amount of oxygen by stimulating sympathetic nervous system. Reactive oxygen will damage body cells or mutate them and the body will at risk because of the decreasing functions of the NK cells.
For those who often do moderate exercises, the NK cells in their body are more active than those in normal people. This can help trigger the functions of the old immune system that possesses a high degree of possibility to function with the growing age. When people are experiencing the happiness and the comfort of the exercises, the brain will generate a kind of hormone called endorphin. Under such conditions, the activity of the cells will increase because NK cells contains endorphin receptors, hence a higher human immunity.
Interpretation of exercises load and immune function: Health Qigong is a health-keeping event that suits the middle-aged and the elderly and is a directional approach to address the aging population.
Health Qigong is a low- and moderate- intensity exercise that can improve human immunity.
Health Qigong emphasizes its breath adjusting function, and the abdominal deep respiration can locate parasympathetic nerves at an advantageous position, thus the exercisers can have a better equilibrium of the automatic nerves, relaxed human experience, less pressure and higher immunity.
The purpose of mind regulation of Health Qigong is to bring the chaotic state of mind back to peace and when people are in good mood, they have better immune ability.
Health Qigong highlights the exercises for the entire body, especially those of the distal ends, and comprehensive activities can increase people’s body temperature, which in turn, improve the human immunity.
The study of relations among exercises loads, relaxation, abdominal deep respiration, body temperature and human immunity confirmed us that most of factors of Health Qigong have a positive effect on improving the human immunity, which in turn is the fundamental basis for human health.
Fundamentally, disease prevention and body rehabilitation are affected by the human immune system. Therefore, the research on the human immunity is the focus of the preventive medicine and rehabilitation medicine. The improvements of Health Qigong on the human immunity is the typical model of environment-friendly, energy-conserving healthy cause and shall be vigorously publicized and supported.
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