If you’ve ever Googled ‘how to de-stress’ then you’ll know going for walks and taking bubble baths comes up quite a lot. But sometimes they don’t always cut it.
So, what if we were to tell you we’ve discovered a mental game-changer to conquer anxiety which also acts as a helpful recovery tool for a range of diseases?
It’s time to open your eyes to the world of Qigong.
While it may be new to us, it is actually an ancient Chinese form of exercise involving movement, breathing and meditation.
Similar to Tai Chi in its gentleness, they differ due to Qigong’s focus being on movement you do for a certain situation, whereas the former is movement that works on the entire body.
The reason it is said to be so powerful is due to deep breathing rituals that help to regulate the autonomic nervous system, which promotes the production of healthy hormones like endorphins.
This chemical reaction gives huge potential for self-healing and the body’s ability to repair.
While Qigong should be considered more as a complementary treatment than an absolute cure, one professor has tried and tested it on his cancer patients and seen first-hand its capabilities.
Byeongsang Oh, who works at the Sydney Medical School, said his research shows that it can reduce inflammation in cancer patients and improve their overall quality of life.
The results from a 10-week programme, where people practiced Qigong alongside cancer treatment, showed improvements in fatigue, anxiety, depression, and levels of inflammation.
One woman who is living proof of how effective the practice can be is Loretta Bozelle.
After a car crash left her with a brain injury at age 19, she had to learn to walk again. When her occupational therapist suggested Qigong due to its neuroplasticity benefits, she signed-up.
Loretta, now 35, can’t believe the impact it has had on her and how it has changed her life.
She explained: “I notice I have better awareness now, clarity and mobility.
“I’m on pretty much the lowest dose of opioids [for pain relief] that I have been in a fair while, and I know Qigong has been a big part of that. For me, it is medication through movement.”
Loretta added to ABC: “I have seen it change my life and the lives of a lot of other people.”
Similarly, Tara Brayshaw who was stuck on the corporate mouse wheel and close to burnout with her advertising job, says that Qigong gave her a complete 180° on her outlook.
So much so, she quit her role and now runs a Qigong and Tai Chi school in Melbourne.
Tara said: “Mentally, it was an absolute game-changer for me. It was the only thing I’d ever done in my life where I could only focus on it and nothing else.
“I got out of my first class and thought, ‘I haven’t thought about work for an hour’. I was completely hooked… It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.”
Meanwhile, fellow Qigong enthusiast Pauline Farrell took up the practice after spending a decade caring for her husband with cerebral palsy. She also hoped it would help with a prolapsed disc.
Thrilled with the results, 14 years later she is still dedicated.
Pauline, 71, said: “My husband really encouraged me to do it, to get out of the house. And I felt better, I had more confidence, was fitter, stronger, my back was getting so much better, I was socialising and meeting new and lovely people.
“As I get older it’s hard to remember everything, but it’s one of the reasons I keep going, because it’s good for my brain.”
Looks like we’ve just found a belated new year’s resolution to try.