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For Chronic Illness, Try Qigong

Medical styles like Dragon and Tiger can offer gentle yet effective relief.

Many people think of qigong, the ancient Chinese practice of coordinating breath, movement, and awareness, as an exercise for promoting better health and relaxation, but you might not know it’s also been reputed to ease the symptoms of chronic illness.Of the hundreds of styles of qigong, Dragon and Tiger, a 1,500-year-old form practiced by Shaolin monks, is often called upon in a medical context, say practitioners. The form can be a good option for older people, because it’s relatively easy to learn and practice. While other styles may incorporate between 30 and 100 distinct movements, the Dragon and Tiger style uses just seven, while still providing around 80 percent of the benefit of more challenging practices, experts say. “The beauty of D and T is that even just doing a little bit can be healing,” says Kurt Miyajima, who has taught the practice in Hawaii since 2000. “Every piece of every movement is designed to stimulate certain energy pathways.”Patients suffering from chronic fatigue, cancer, or other illnesses that drain their energy might start by performing just a few segments of each movement.“ …

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