One of the most important ways to foster cardiovascular health doesn’t involve a treadmill or elliptical. You may be amazed to learn that the ancient practice of Qi Gong can actually be a highly effective way to promote heart health, in ways more surprising than one.
Getting to the heart of the matter, cardiovascular health remains at the top of the list of wellness concerns in the United States.* Experts largely attribute this to our increasingly stress-filled, all-work-no-play mentality that pervades our modern lifestyles, with no end in sight. More than ever, finding ways to lessen the impact of stress and take a breather has become a matter of necessity. We often hear people say, “I have a lot of stress, but I’ve gotten used to it,” (while shrugging their tension-filled shoulders).
What many of them don’t realize is that even a moderate amount of stress impacts cardiovascular health, a theory supported by health experts of all kinds, not just Chinese medicine practitioners. Why is this? Stress zaps your energy; we’ve all experienced this. This constant energy drain causes major wear and tear on your body and imbalances the energetic functioning of your organs. Interestingly, the bulk of the impact falls on the Liver, the organ most easily unsettled by stress and its related emotional disorders—anxiety, depression, and the like.
According to Five Element theory, a diagnostic tool rooted in ancient theories of energetic interrelationships, each organ shares a special “mother-child” relationship with another organ. The Liver is the “mother” of the Heart—and many of us know that when Mom is feeling tired, cranky, or frazzled, the child will feel it! Similarly, the Liver’s child—the Heart—will be most affected energetically. Over time, this chronic energy imbalance manifests as a physical imbalance—the beginnings of cardiovascular disease.
Sometimes the easiest way to prevent stress from impacting your heart is the simplest one—and here’s where Qi Gong comes in. Not only does this ancient practice straighten out your imbalances while boosting your Qi, but it also helps to cultivate the most healing emotional state of all—joy, the natural emotional state of the Heart.
Our cardiovascular health suffers doubly when we have more stress and frustration instead of joy in our lives. Re-introducing joy into your life activates a positive frequency to which your Heart literally vibrates, immediately reviving its energetic balance.
This is the main reason why many mind-body-spirit practices are such good all-around stress-busters. They go at the heart of the problem from several angles, not just at the physical or energetic level, but also at the mind and spirit level. The fundamental purpose of Qi Gong is to open up awareness of our direct connection to the profoundly loving and joyful ethos of the Universe: all is as it should be, and all is created for good. Internalizing this message deep inside your very spirit is a shortcut to true joy. For what is stress, really? Anger, frustration, worry, or fear about what seems overwhelming, terrifying, awful, or just plain unfair. Once you practice widening your perspective of life’s problems, whether big or small, changing your beliefs to cultivate a profound acceptance that everything truly is for the good, stress can vanish in a twinkling of an eye, and what once seemed like the most insufferable, insurmountable problem in the world suddenly…no longer causes heartache.
Rather than getting rid of the stress-inducing circumstances—your unfair boss, your financial situation, your difficult marriage—you’ve instead transcended them: things which used to drive you up the wall no longer bother you. You’ve figured out that your story, no matter its seemingly dark and twisty turns, is the story of the Universe: always a love story, and always with a happy ending. And we all know that our Hearts beat most joyfully to a good love story—in this case, the ultimate love story of all!
*Statistic from American Heart Association, 2015.