I had a recent, unexpected experience with a chiropractor. I went to him because Iíd heard that chiropractic adjustments could help with some digestive complaints. Since I prefer the all-natural route, I decided to add chiropractic into my holistic health plan. The chiropractor did a routine adjustment and sent me on my merry way.
However, within a few hours of my visit, I no longer felt merry. Iíd heard that chiropractic could make you sore, but over the next week, my body became a jumble of jumping, twitching muscles along with a severely aching back. Thankfully, three weeks later--with the help of several massage visits and a short-term prescription for Valium--I am in a much better place. However, Iím still not 100 percent, and any strain I do on my muscles creates back pain and twitching again. Obviously, something is still "off". Since Iím not able to hop back into my regular exercise routine, I needed to find a gentler way to move my body that would enhance my overall health.
Thatís when I became inspired to find a qigong class. While there are many forms of qigong, the basic premise behind the many qigong styles is to help circulate life force energy throughout your body. "Qi" or "chi" means life force. Mantak Chia and Lee Holden state in their book Simple Chi Kung: Exercises for Awakening the Life-Force Energy, "Chi is the basis of all traditional Chinese healing arts, from acupuncture to herbal medicine. It is the very breath of life, animating every function of our body and mind. When we are healthy, our chi flows smoothly through every part of us."
The benefits of qigong are plenty. According to the authors of Simple Chi Kung, the exercises improve oneís health in three major ways. First of all, it helps cleanse our system so that our cells can repair themselves more efficiently. It also creates a surplus of healing energy in our bodies, which leads to greater vitality. And it helps clear blocked energy, so that chi flows more freely through the body. "When there is good circulation of energy, pain and tension are alleviated," the authors state in the book. "As chi moves, it becomes clearer and healthier."
Besides the gentle nature of qigong, another reason Iím so attracted to it is because practicing it regularly has been proven to significantly reduce stress. We all know the effects of stress on our immune systems. It can be devastating to our well-being and lead to all kinds of health complications. But adding in something as simple as qigong to our daily routine can help our body find its way back to its natural state of health.
While considering all of the benefits of qigong, I realized one of the greatest aspects about the practice is that it requires absolutely no equipment, just your own body along with a very small circle of space around you. To me, that means it is an ideal practice for RVers! I can easily picture myself standing underneath my awning at some RV resort on the ocean or a woodsy state park, getting ready to revitalize my whole self with my morning practice.
While Iíve thumbed through the book, Simple Chi Kung, and have been inspired by the reading, the authors do recommend using the book only as a supplement to your qigong practice. In other wordsógo find your tribe. You can Google "chi kung" or "qigong" to find classes in your local area. Also, check out listings on Craigslist, read your local natural health magazines like Natural Awakenings, or go to Meetup.com. If youíre super lucky, somebody might be teaching a class at the RV resort youíre wintering at. Iíve found my class and will be learning more about this ancient healing art and how to "get my chi on" in the very near future. Stay tuned for more information on how you can keep your chi flowing freely while RVing.