What’s the big deal about Breath-work and Qi Gong?

Qi Gong is an ancient health practice – there are many types of Qi Gong, but they all share the same core elements: train the body, mind and breath. Breathing exercises can include various ways of inhaling, exhaling, and holding the breath.  

Wait a sec – first, take a nice deep breath in.  Ah… doesn’t that feel awesome?  We do that all the time but when we can bring mindfulness and our full attention to it… well, that’s when magic things start happening!

We all wish to experience having more energy or that which we had once when we were a child.  Acupuncture, herbal medicine, movement exercises and practices such as Qi Gong and breath work give you a strong foundation to build energy and cultivate Qi in the body.

Qi is a natural life-force that is associated with our physiological and psychological functioning.  Qi is also noted to be created not only by the food we take into the body but by way of breathing.  It travels along and throughout the body in a system of energy conduits called acupuncture channels or meridians.  Based on studies done on acupuncture, it has been proposed that nitric oxide (NO) may be the carrier of Qi in the acupuncture channels!

What is Nitric Oxide (NO)?

NO is a molecule that helps modulate various functions in the tissues of the body.  Low concentrations can be beneficial and high concentrations can be detrimental leading to inflammation, oxidative stress and aging, low energy, and neurodegenerative diseases.  

What are some of the positive functions of NO in the body:

  • helps regulate the cardiovascular system
  • facilitates vasodilation
  • regulates the nervous system
  • influences memory and learning
  • part of the immune response 

Basics behind Breath-work

For decades, we have studied the effects of intermittent hypoxia – you’ve probably heard of Wim Hoff who is making this method famous.  This is basically creating a scenario where you hold the breath out.  Studies have found that moderate hypoxia (oxygen starvation) 3-15 times a day has great therapeutic potential.  

Benefits found:

  • enhanced respiratory and cardiovascular system
  • better immune responses
  • reduced inflammation
  • DNA damage protection
  • quicker vasodilation: helpful for erectile dysfunction

Fun facts in Research:

One study done experimented with rats with Alzheimer’s Disease, showed that intermittent hypoxia breathwork prevented cytotoxic overproduction of NO; which basically means that the rats started to have increased memory and learning capacity again. 

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