Ease Fibromyalgia Aches with Ancient Qigong Secrets

Thousands of years ago, ancient Chinese practices discovered the importance of reducing stress and tension in the body to avoid pain and weakness. They experimented with herbs, needles, and meditative movements, hoping to improve their quality of life. One method that was developed through these efforts is called qigong, and recent research has found it effective in relieving the primary symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia: A Complex and Chronic Condition

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that is still not well understood. Medical experts have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of fibromyalgia, but they do know it involves pain and various somatic symptoms. Key symptoms include extreme pain in multiple areas of the body and tenderness to light touch. Additional symptoms include fatigue, digestive issues, sleep disruptions, and cognitive impairments, complicating the condition even further.

Theories abound regarding links between fibromyalgia and viruses, infections, emotional disorders related to reduced opioid receptor activity, and physical trauma. Some consider fibromyalgia to be the body’s reaction to stress or an abnormal response to it. Like classic migraine sufferers, people with fibromyalgia are sensitive to sounds, suggesting a potential abnormality in sensory processing by the central nervous system.

Because fibromyalgia is a syndrome rather than a disease, it is better to adjust the body systemically in a natural, gentle way rather than inflicting more pain and side effects with pain medication. But can ancient Chinese qigong practices provide relief for those who need it now?

Understanding Qigong

Qigong refers to breath work or breath cultivation, slowing the breath and focusing intention to build qi or internal energy. There are many schools of qigong that can be divided into medical, religious, and martial categories, but all work from the same foundation despite the specific goals and differences.

The fundamental practice of qigong involves four components: posture (standing, seated, lying), breath regulation (chest or abdominal expansion and counting), movement (of one or more body parts), and intention (focusing the mind). As the Chinese saying goes, the intention leads the qi/energy, so you cannot cultivate it if the mind is not focused on the breath, posture, and movement. All four components must be synchronized for the most significant results. When done correctly, qigong can help relax the body, quiet the mental chatter that creates stress, and improve muscle suppleness, blood and lymph flow, and overall wellbeing. Many practitioners also notice an increase in energy that they thought had been lost.

Recent research published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine explored the positive effects of daily qigong practice on the primary symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Benefits of Qigong for Fibromyalgia Patients

In the mainstream medical and scientific literature, qigong is considered a meditative movement, mindful exercise, and complementary exercise, potentially reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis and summarized the results of randomized controlled trials and other studies published until the end of 2013.

The results were optimistic and indicated that “regular qigong practice (daily, 6–8 weeks) produces improvements in core domains for fibromyalgia (pain, sleep, impact, and physical and mental function) that are maintained at 4–6 months compared to wait-list subjects or baselines.”

Additionally, recent studies demonstrate that extended qigong practice can lead to changes at a molecular level. Extensive qigong practice (1-2 hours daily, for at least a year) can lead to the altered expression of 250 genes in neutrophils compared to healthy controls. These changes are characterized by enhanced immunity, downregulation of cellular metabolism, and alteration in apoptotic genes that favor the resolution of inflammation.

Incorporating Qigong into Daily Life

The researchers noted that the length of daily practice or an extended period yielded the most significant results. Therefore, rather than merely trying qigong, make it a part of your wellness lifestyle. To start, find a qualified qigong instructor or look for reputable resources online to learn more about this ancient practice. Then set aside time each day to incorporate these movements and enjoy the lasting benefits they provide for your mental, emotional, and physical health.