Qigong for Arthritis

People with arthritis find it hard to deal with different activities everyday. The joints are stiffened by the pain caused by inflammation. In order to relieve joint pains that can occur in different parts of the body, most people take medications, especially in the advanced stages of arthritis.

Arthritis and Meniscal Tear

Some also prefer to undergo special exercises and various physical therapy activities. Ironically, though, arthritis may also result from doing rigorous exercises and trainings. The meniscal tear is one of the common knee injuries for people engaged in sports and rigorous physical trainings. Osteoarthritis and meniscal tear have exactly the same symptoms such as pain, stiffness and swelling. Menisci are the cartilages that act as a “shock-absorber” between the thighbone and the shinbone. It may also thin out as people age so even just a simple accident may cause the tear.

With meniscal tear, arthritis is easily developed. Torn menisci may develop inflammation through time. A simple meniscal tear may have chances of healing, but those whose tear is quite massive may need to undergo surgery through arthroscopy.

Qigong: A Good Exercise for People with Arthritis

Since arthritis can cause limited movement or even immobility on the joints, exercise can actually play a part in alleviating the disease. In fact, people who undergo arthroscopy are given specially-designed exercises in order to rehabilitate the affected joint. However, patients should carefully choose the activities he would like to undertake in order not to cause much tension on the affected parts.

One good exercise is the Qigong (qi refers to a vital energy that flows through all things; gong is a skill that is cultivated through steady practice). Qigong is part of the ancient Chinese health care system, some 2,500 years ago, which is practiced to cultivate energy.

What makes Qigong a beneficial exercise is that it integrates the physical and mental aspects of our body. Its holistic approach aims to improve physical posture, breathing techniques and focused attention.

Qigong involves slow, rhythmic movements that can be easily adapted by people of all ages, and even physically-challenged people. It helps reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality and enhance the immune system, thus contributing to the overall wellness and development of a positive outlook in life.

Several studies suggest that Qigong plays a vital role in different parts of the body system such as the cardiovascular, digestive, and musculoskeletal aspects.

Qigong and the Musculoskeletal System

Several forms of Qigong movements are beneficial to the musculoskeletal system, and are potentially helpful as complementary treatment for arthritis.

The Muscle/Tendon Change Classic or Yijin Jing (yi means change; jin means tendons and sinews; jing means methods) is a series of Qigong exercise concentrated on specific breathing and mental concentration, combined with relatively intense exercise movements aimed at strengthening muscles and tendons. This allows the individual to develop flexibility and strength without putting too much tension on the joints.

Another form of the Qigong exercise is the Da Wu, which is a series of choreographed exercises primarily designed to lubricate joints and attract qi at the same time.

Qigong also has the Six Sounds Liu Zi Jue which actually uses different breathing techniques through mouth forms and pronunciations. Despite being heavily focused on breathing, it also incorporates slow and graceful movements which are suitable for people with arthritis. It promotes muscle strength and flexibility.

The Five Animals Frolics or Wu Qin Xi mimics different animal movements—tigers, deers, bears, monkeys and birds. Each has its own characteristic behaviors which are adapted by the humans to strengthen muscles and bones, another benefit for people with arthritis.

Since Qigong generally combines strength with softness, several people with arthritis have chosen Qigong as part of their lives and have found significant effect in relieving the pain and improving their expanse of movement.