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Author demystifies ancient Chinese exercise

Champaign, IL—The Eastern culture has enjoyed the health benefits of qigong for thousands of years, and now author Christina Barea wants everyone to experience the healing power of this traditional Chinese exercise. In her upcoming book, Qigong Illustrated (Human Kinetics, 2010), Barea offers detailed, step-by-step instructions to popular qigong routines for strengthening the body, optimizing health, and reducing tension. 

“Qigong for health is an internal strengthening workout that provides real and measurable results,” Barea says. “Over time, a thorough qigong practice can provide profound long-term changes to your entire body–mind composition.”

Qigong focuses on harnessing the healing power of qi, or energy, and has been credited with reducing stress, regulating blood pressure, and increasing heart health, immune function, and bone mass. The guide concentrates on the three components of qigong—body, mind, and breath—and teaches how to put together an effective qigong flow while explaining why the order of movement is important.

According to Barea, a good qigong form works all three components simultaneously. “At the beginning, while a person is learning how to move the body according to the routine, the focus is mostly on the body or posture,” Barea explains. “But, once the body and the breath are working in harmony, that person can move on to the mind, or intention, of the exercise.”

Qigong Illustrated offers exercises appropriate for beginning and intermediate audiences and incorporates routines designed to suit particular needs and health conditions. Barea also includes frequently asked questions and answers.

“Practicing qigong doesn’t require changing religion, speaking Chinese, or even having a strong and supple body,” says Barea. “To begin practicing qigong, all you really have to do is take a deep breath and begin.”

For more information, see Qigong Illustrated.