Chinese Qigong to Promote Sleep

Chinese qigong involves posture, movements, breathing techniques and mental focus, which is practiced to integrate and cleanse the body, mind and spirit. Constant practice helps to promote health, prevent disease, and develop personal potential.

Through the use of specific postures, proper breathing qi (vital energy) can flow freely throughout the entire body. This reinforces the sleep-wake cycle and encourages a natural sleep. Our body likes routine. Qigong is ideal for training the mind to “switch off”, and as a relaxing bedtime routine to help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleepiness.

In a UCLA  controlled study, the Tai Chi group, practicing two hours of Tai Chi per week, left 63% of the Tai Chi group with improved quality of sleep. The control group practicing only healthy habits, but no Tai Chi practice, left only 32% with improved quality of sleep. Tai chi alone doubled people’s chances of improved sleep patterns, over simply adopting healthy habits.

In the concept of Chinese medicine, insomnia can be caused by blocked meridians (the pathway system through which qi flows). Qigong can help remove the blockages so that qi and blood can flow to the internal organs.”

Dr Yuen Lai-ping, chairman with the International Association for Health and Yangsheng, which is collaborating with HKU on the study, says qigong can help attain balance between yin and yang, which in turn can help with insomnia and mood disorder.

“The qigong exercise regime is called Five Elements and Balance Qigong which consists of five simple exercises involving kicking legs and whole-body relaxation,” Yuen says. “It’s also mental training, as it requires concentration and regular breathing rhythm that helps the practitioner achieve a focused mind.

While Western doctors prescribe sleeping pills, or refer patients to psychologists or psychiatrists for cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotropic drug intervention, Chinese doctors use herbal medicine and acupuncture as the first line of treatment.

Qigong has so many health benefits. It can help with healing after surgery, it helps cancer patients, strengthens the mind and body, and yes helps you fall asleep.

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