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Kung Fu Enlightening: The Rise of Qigong

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BOTH THE PUBLIC and the Western medical establishment are increasingly embracing the health benefits of qigong, a pillar of Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey, the number of Americans practicing qigong increased 18.6 percent between 2002 and 2007, with similar growth between 2007 and 2012.

“We tend to use qigong for its mind-body aspects similar to traditional areas of anxiety, stress and relaxation. Through that, patients have improved sleep quality and improved mood overall,” says Dr. Richard T. Lee, assistant professor at the Integrative Medicine Center at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, which has included qigong (pronounced chee-gung) and tai chi as part of its therapy program for over 10 years. “For patients that are debilitated it’s a nice, easy, gentle exercise they can do coming out of surgery or when getting out of the hospital.”

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