Detoxify Your Body with Qigong: Cleansing Through Qi Flow
The word “detox” gets tossed around often. People might say they need to detox from drinking or overeating. Or you might come across a detoxifying juice cleanse at the health food store. But what exactly does “detox” mean, and why is it important?
Put simply. Detoxification is about ridding the body of toxins, which is another word for contaminants. Harmful substances enter the body in different ways on a daily basis, even though we might not notice it. For example, we can ingest toxic chemicals through the air, which enter our lungs and airways from our noses. We can ingest toxins through food or drink or other times through touch when our skin comes into contact with them. Through these different entry points, toxins can also enter our bloodstream, which are then carried to various parts of our bodies. Toxins affect our health and moods, including fatigue, anxiety, unstable emotions, chronic pain, aches, and allergies. They can also make you very ill, including causing long-term conditions like cancer.
We know this all sounds scary—but the good news is we can work to rid the body of these harmful substances in several ways. That is exactly what detoxification does. Because we come into contact with toxins every day, it is important to detoxify our bodies when needed, eat healthy, and minimize the amount of poisons we absorb.
Does Qigong detoxify the body? How does exercise purge the body of toxins?
Qigong has been a common form of detox since ancient history. Bridging both exercise and Eastern medicine, it regulates the breath and circulates blood flow, which are both crucial for detoxification. In fact, exercise, in general, is great for purging pollutants. Exercise allows you to breathe out stale oxygen and receive new oxygen, expelling the bad and taking in the good. Think about running, for instance—in order to run, you have to breathe in and out, move your muscles, and get your blood flowing. All of which replaces the toxins that have built up in your body with fresh air, helping generate new cells. We might even say it’s similar to how plants purify the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing new oxygen—like plants, humans have their own methods for cleansing our bodies of contaminants. That’s why exercise is important to our health, whether we are talking about swimming, biking, running, or going for a walk.
What makes Qigong different from other exercises? What happens to your body when you do Qigong?
Just like swimming, biking, running, or walking, Qigong uses a combination of breath and movement to rid the airways, lungs, and blood of toxins. What makes it different from those exercises is that it is extremely low-impact. High-impact exercises like running can cause strain on the knees and is hard on the joints. Injuries can also happen when performing any kind of high-impact exercise. Qigong can therefore be a great complement to other exercises. Many people are also drawn to Qigong in the first place because they are recovering from an illness or injury. If your current condition prevents you from high-impact physical activities, Qigong may be a good fit because it is an accessible, low-impact exercise with many health benefits.
Qigong’s breathing exercises also train us to breathe slowly and deeply, enabling us to rid our bodies of toxins even when we are not practicing Qigong. We hold a lot of toxins in our airways, and yet many people have the tendency to hold their breaths—which means retaining poisons. When we train ourselves to breathe mindfully, we ensure a regular intake of fresh air. Qigong breathing moves Qi throughout the body to stimulate energy flow, convert negative energy into positive energy, and revitalize the body by purifying it, making us feel good. If you are interested in learning more about breathing, read our post on Qigong breathing.
How long does it take for Qigong to work?
The benefits of Qigong are immediate, and it can take as little as five seconds for you to feel its effects. The specific poses can take time to learn, however, so this may not mean you suddenly master the movements in five seconds—that is okay and expected! Mastery of the poses will come with practice. No matter whether you are a beginner or advanced, you will gain Qigong’s full benefits soon after practicing.
Should you do Qigong on an empty stomach?
In general, we don’t recommend practicing Qigong on a completely empty stomach. This is because you’ll want to have the energy to move and meditate. If you haven’t eaten, certain exercises might make you feel lightheaded or dizzy. In advanced practices, you might fast and then practice Qigong for several hours. For beginners, we recommend you have some food in your belly.
That said, be careful not to overeat because being too full can cause a side ache or make you feel lethargic. We recommend having enough food to give yourself energy, followed by an hour to two hours to digest, before practicing Qigong.
Can Qigong detox the liver?
There are many things you can do to detox the liver. A simple Qigong exercise for detoxifying the liver is a breathing exercise that combines a strong exhalation with the sound “shhhhhhh.” This simultaneous sound and action helps to purge the liver of contaminants. Anytime we make a Martial-Arts-like movement with a sound, especially this one, the combination is cleansing for the liver.
Other remedies outside of Qigong include herbal supplements or fasting with lemon water, which involves six hours without eating, and drinking water mixed with organic lemon juice.
How do you prepare yourself to purge or detoxify?
Purging the body of toxins can be an intense process. Because we are expelling the body of things that are harmful to us, it can cause emotional or physical discomfort. Some people feel nauseous, exhausted, or anxious before feeling better. If this happens to you, drink water, sit down, and take a rest.
There is no one way to prepare yourself, but eating a balanced diet, being mindful of your breath, and keeping an open mind are great ways to start.
David’s video: How to detoxify and purge using Qigong