The Health Benefits of Qigong


The word ‘Qigong’ is made up of the two words ‘Qi’ (breath or gas in Mandarin) and ‘Gong’ (technique or work). Thus Qigong basically means ‘breath work’. Qigong, therefore, is a technique of traditional Chinese medicine involving the regulation and coordination of breathing patterns to ensure good health.

Qigong is believed to be the result of decades of struggle by the Chinese people for survival.

It was noticed that certain breathing techniques used in conjunction with mental concentration greatly improved bodily functions. Qigong has also borrowed heavily from Taoism and Buddhism. Thus religion and spirituality plays a very important role in Qigong techniques. Some forms of Qigong even believe that an individual can attain higher levels of accomplishment only if he is very virtuous.

Traditional Chinese medicine operates on a simple but effective premise – that of ‘Chi’. Chi is the energy or life force that travels through the human body and suffuses all our organs with health and well being. When this flow is blocked or disturbed, there is a disturbance within the system that manifests itself as a disease. According to tradition, all that a doctor has to do to restore good health is to analyze the reasons for the block and to take measures to facilitate the free flow of energy once again.

Qigong teaches an individual to live in such a way that the free flow of energy happens always, so that he is free from diseases. As the two words indicate, Qigong deals with the manipulation of breath to achieve and maintain robust health. This art has found a strong role in the martial arts of ancient China where people had to mobilize energy and stamina in coordination with the physical act of breathing.

This Chinese healing art is an effective form of alternative medicine that uses a series of gentle focused exercises to coordinate the mind and the body. It is believed that most people use only a small portion of the energy within them. Most people get sick because they do not breathe properly. These two facts have been juxtaposed in Qigong, where proper breathing helps bring good health. As such, Qigong is mostly taught for health maintenance purposes. But rarely the doctor also uses Qigong for therapeutic purposes.

In the modern world, millions of people all around the world practice Qigong for maintaining their good health. Qigong and other related arts are still associated with meditation and martial arts. But as opposed to the past, these people are no longer the sole custodians of the intricate techniques involved in Qigong. These techniques have become so popular now that medical Qigong has been officially recognized as a medical technique in China.

The practice of Qigong began nearly 5,000 years ago. Today there are almost 3,000 forms of Qigong. Tai Chi is just one of the more popular forms.
Western medicine accepts that Qigong can improve the overall health and vitality of a person. But the religious connotations that are lying just below the surface have often proved to be a matter of controversy. But there are no two opinions regarding the level of effectiveness of this practice.

Fitbit Charge 2 Review

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FitBit Charge 2


The latest addition to the FitBit line is an improvement for fitness tracking. It does everything the previous version can do: automatically track calories burned, heart rate, distance traveled, sleep and steps. Even though it has no GPS, the FitBit Charge 2 can connect to the phone to measure routes’ distances. With a display that is flexible, allowing it to be inserted into different bands, this offers a good combo of balance, comfort, and functionality.

The tracker’s rectangular displays multiple lines of information with legible letters and numbers. A downside is that the display is still monochrome and can appear faint in direct sunlight, and also leaves fingerprints on the screen. Still, controlling the Charge 2 is very easy, using the combination of tapping the screen itself or using the button on the side of the display.

There are 5 features that can be switched through: Heart Rate, Time of Day, Activities, “Relax” mode and stop watch.  The main screen display the time and the date, and fitness stats. Heart Rate allows the viewing the heart rate at work or at rest. Activities allow tapping to different exercises including running, biking, elliptical, and weights. It sets up timing the activity being done and the stats it produces. “Relax” mode is a guided breathing exercise based on the heart rate after a workout, between two to five-minute sessions, in which the breathing is matched to a contracting and expanding circle on the tracker’s display.

Fitbit’s app is still extremely reliable and the updates made with it are now better. Now, it permits user to view their cardio fitness level and estimated VO2 maximum, the most amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise. There are also a few guides on the app on improving the exercise regimen. A full battery lasts about five days and the Charge 2 is resistant mild water exposure, such as rain and sweat. It still cannot be worn in pools and showers. Besides the fitness features, the Charge 2 displays caller ID information, any calendar reminders, and text notifications if the phone is nearby. The vibrating feature on the watch signals an incoming text or phone call. Even the clock face can be chosen for the Charge 2’s displays between horizontal or vertical text layouts.

For $149.95, the Charge 2 features a stainless steel frame and a silicone band in the color of choice: black, plum, blue or teal. Like the Charge HR, the Charge 2 uses a watch-style buckle design, so it’s easy to wear discreetly as it is not bulky. With all the special features mentioned above, the Charge 2 is worth investment for the common walker or the complex fitness buff. It is affordable and not so fancy that things could be confusing. It is easy to use and is another popular watch by FitBit. You can check one out here



Streches for back pain relief

Exercise, combined with a good, nutritious diet and plenty of rest, is something everyone should do on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it takes something like a lower back injury, for people to realize just how frail their bodies are. By that time, it’s too late. The damage has already been done. We just have to fix it as best as we can and do everything in power to prevent it from happening again or getting worse down the road.

When you combine exercise and yoga stretches for lower back pain together, you get two excellent tools in your arsenal of healing. Exercise is great for building up strength and endurance. Yoga is perfect for maintaining elasticity and flexibility; two great attributes every muscle should have.

Elasticity will allow your muscles to extend and flex over and over again without causing any tears. Flexibility is needed when you need to over extend or over flex your muscles. It allows them to twist and turn whenever you need them to. Where most people would strain or sprain a muscle, yoga keeps your muscles limber enough to handle the task without injury.

Bodily exercise and yoga stretches for the lower back help not only the part of your lower back that’s causing pain. But they help the entire rest of your body, too. Any type of exercise can get your heart rate up. An increased heart rate can help you burn off calories and fat, resulting in a leaner, stronger you. It can also keep your entire cardiovascular system running more effectively, letting your heart pump more efficiently. That can lead to less chance of a heart attack down the road.

Much like exercise, whenever you do yoga, you will be using more than just your lower back muscles. All of your muscles will receive the benefits of yoga as you move from one yoga position to the next. Each of your muscles will become more limber and flexible, allowing all of them to twist and bend more smoothly and efficiently whenever you require it.

As you can see, the benefits you receive from exercises and yoga stretches, for lower back pain affect far more than just your lower back.