The cat's out!
Stress levels are at all-time highs and anxiety disorders are more prevalent today than in any other time in history. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the condition affects 18.1 percent of adults in the United States, which equates to roughly 40 million between the ages of 18 and 54.
While this number is quite high, statistics are unable to account for everyone for a variety of reasons. Given the number of disorders that remain undiagnosed, unacknowledged, or even unrecognized, the percentage of Americans affected could be much higher — as high as 30 percent!
I know just about as well as anyone how frustrating it can be to live among these statistics because I used to be one of them. For years I struggled symptoms that I found debilitating — shortness of breath, tight muscles, heart palpitations, headaches, restlessness, fatigue.
While I searched in vain for a long time to find the appropriate remedy, reading lots of articles, modifying my diet, and consulting a variety of healers — an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, and a masseuse, at different points in time — I found that nothing was as effective as one practice that taught me how I could actually heal myself.
The idea that there exists three separate energies within the being is perhaps best articulated by traditional Chinese medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine calls these three energies the "three treasures."
The following are the three treasures, and I want to use a candle as an analogy to describe each one of them:
Qigong, the ancient practice of adjusting the body, breath, and mind, has been largely ignored by the western medical system, yet continues to gain prominence through an increase in academic studies that prove its beneficial effects and tendency to relieve symptoms of disease and improve functioning in the human body and mind.
Originating in China as far back as 4,000 years, qigong is perhaps one of the simplest and easiest ways to increase health that does not require financial expenditure or access to any people, locations, or resources beyond ourselves.
So let’s take a more detailed look at why qigong is so great and how we can practice it…