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How can we use Qigong to Release Tension?

A woman on a staircase practicing Snake Qigong

Qigong Practices to Release Tension

Before we start, How can we really use qigong to release tension?

Tension in the body is something that we all go through. It is a normal state of our body in order to allow us to do movements and get things done. However when our bodies cannot relax because of chronic tension in our fascia and muscle tissues we end up with tightness, discomfort or pain. We may feel too much tension especially after a very tiring day from work, sitting down on a desk for hours or when are overworking our bodies through physical exercise or work.

Tension can manifest in the body not only physically but also emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. When we are in state of tension, not only thus there is a blockage and stagnation of energy flow. It also becomes harder for us to focus, and do work. In a state of tension, our body movements can become minimized because of tightness and even pain. When our mind is tense, it is hard for us to make decisions, and have a clear perspective of our situations. When our spirit is tensed, we may feel disconnected and ungrounded. In this article, we will discuss how we can relieve tension through Qigong practices.

How can Qigong help release Tension?

Through qigong, we gently squeeze out the tissues and the fascia that surrounds the muscle and as we release we get an exchange of fluids in the tissue and promotes energy flow and relaxation. Through qigong, we also understand that each of our body parts are connected to each other. Any tension or pain we feel on a certain area of our body we may also feel in another area of our body. This is because of the connective tissues called fascia. For example when there is tension in the neck, you may also feel tension in your feet. We want to do whole body movements rather than isolated movements. This helps alleviate tension in the body as it engages and activates the connective tissues in our body rather than focusing on just a specific area.

In qigong, like in the 8 Trigram Qigong and Meridian Qigong we engage our entire body. Each movements are connected through the kinetic chains, allowing a pathway of energy to flow in our entire body. This is very helpful and effective in releasing tension.

The body parts that commonly have tension are the neck, shoulders, upper back (Trapezius). These tensions may also cause headache for some. Through Qigong, not only can we alleviate the physical effects of tension such as headaches but also it helps us breath more effectively, feel more emotionally balanced, feel more centered, and have a clearer mental state.


Qigong also incorporates flossing, which helps release and open up our body, through compression and relaxation in our movements.

Different types of flossing:

• Tissue Flossing
– Where we move our body to allow tissues and fascia in our body to slide and glide to help open up the tissue improving its elastic response.

• Nerve Flossing
– Where we move our body gently and slowly to compress and then release nerves or nerve groups. This gentle and slow movement allows the nerves in our body to untangle and therefore release tension in the nerves.

• Joint Flossing
– Where we move our body in such a way that helps our joints exercise to its full range of motion. This progressively improves our mobility as well.

All these types of flossing are very helpful in releasing and alleviating tension in the body and through qigong we incorporate all these type of flossing. Through this, we become more aware on how we can use movement to heal and balance our bodies.

There are many qigong exercises that can help alleviate tension, and in this article, we are going to share some of them.

Qigong practices that can help release Tension:

Meridian Qigong

Meridian Qigong Map

• Shaking It Out

– This is the exercise of letting go. We let go not only of our physical body but also our emotional, mental and spiritual state. In a medical science perspective, we release the trapezius muscle going up in the neck and feeling that vibration all the way to the head and coming down to the shoulders, arms and fingertips. This helps loosen up our joints and allows our organs to hang in its natural positions. Our organs and the body relaxes as the fascia surrounding it loosens as well. This helps awaken and energize our body. This also allows our joints to warm up as well, preparing our body to move to its full range of motion.

• Turtle Looks Behind
– This exercise helps reduce tightness on the side and the back of the neck. This also increases mobility in the neck as we stretch and coil our body. It also helps in opening up the meridians in our arms and the sides of the body. This exercise also allows a deep stretch in our torso, through our spine up to our neck and head.

• Diamonds
– In this exercise we are stretching and contracting the spine and opening up the chest, the lungs and the upper back. This also deeply stretches the hamstring, shoulders, wrist and lower back and therefore massaging your kidneys. Opening the body and the meridians in the body.

8 Trigram

A woman surrounded by flowering plants practicing qigong in the park

• Serving Teacups
– This exercise helps release the neck and the spiral line. Opening up the fascia in the scapula, which gives a deeper and better effect than just doing neck rotations. This also helps in wringing out of the front arm lines and back arm lines.

Tension in our body may sometimes be inevitable, however through qigong we can help minimize its effects. Through qigong, we begin to understand how our body and movement can work in order for us to release tension. Through qigong we can achieve a more balanced physical, mental health, spiritual wellbeing. Through doing qigong daily, we become more capable of controlling the effects of tension in our body and helps us become more aware of the internal and external state of our body. When we become aware of our bodies and we learn to listen to our bodies, we can respond to this signs and symptoms early, minimizing more serious effects and allowing us to get our work done more effectively.

To learn more about this topic and the exercises mentioned above watch this vlog by White Tiger Qigong’s Senior Instructor Sarah Divine:

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