How Gentle Exercise Transforms Your Brain

In our Western world, weíve been taught that when it comes to exercise, itís ďno pain, no gain.Ē But, research shows that this mindset may actually be antiquated. More and more research shows that when it comes to exercise for brain health benefits, a better mantra might be ďno pain, all gain.Ē Thatís because the Eastern form of exercise known as qigong (a form of tai chi) has been found to improve brain health and may even be a potential treatment for brain disease.

Qigong (pronounced chee-GUNG and sometimes spelled chi gong) is a beautiful and graceful form of gentle exercise that originates in China as part of the country’s traditional system of medicine.

A new study in the medical journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that people who participated in qigong three times a week for 8 weeks had improved cognitive function than prior to doing qigong. The researchers found that the gentle exercise improved attention, brain processing speed and overall mental capacity. As an added bonus, study participants experienced improved blood pressure, and heart and lung fitness.

While the exercise has beneficial effects on the brains of healthy individuals, it also has proven itself helpful in the treatment of brain diseases. A pilot study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found significant improvements in symptoms of Parkinsonís disease sufferers when they engaged in qigong for 6 weeks. They found that following qigong, people showed improvements in sleep quality and significant improvements in gait performance. While the study was small, the results were impressive. And any treatment that shows improvement in Parkinsonís disease, particularly one lacking harmful side effects, is worth serious consideration. And, a recent study in the online medical journal PLoS One confirms the improvement of Parkinsonís symptoms with gentle exercise.

Parkinsonís disease sufferers arenít the only ones who can benefit from qigong. New research published in the journal Explore found that qigong may be helpful in the recovery of people who have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. That doesnít mean that it isnít helpful for moderate to severe traumatic brain injury survivors, but rather that this particular study didnít assess qigong with these people.

Another study in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine found that the gentle exercise of qigong also reduced depression, anxiety and overall psychological wellbeing.

Whether you’re looking to maximize your brain health or treat a wide variety of brain diseases like Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety or just boost your emotional and mental health, you might want to give qigong a try. Even if you have mobility issues or reduced exercise capacity, you may be able to participate in and benefit from this gentle form of exercise.

How to Benefit from the Research

Itís easy to start benefiting from tai chi or qigong exercises. Sign up for a local class, pick up an instructional video from your library or online bookstore, or follow along with a book on the topic. Whatever you choose, the brain health rewards will likely be worth the minimal effort.

The Vitamins that Protect Your DNA against Air Pollution
Donít Believe in Herbal Medicine? 10 Things to Change Your Mind
The 5 Best Herbs to Soothe Your Nerves


Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news Worldís Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds:† The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.


Mike R
Mike R5 months ago


Mike R
Mike R5 months ago


Shirley Klassen
Shirley Klassen6 months ago

The love of my life for the last 17 years was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 52. He had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, horrible driving skills, and slow movement. He was placed on Sinemet 50/200 at night for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but he had to stop due to side effects. He started having hallucinations, lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medications I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor's knowledge) In March this year his primary physician suggested we started him on Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s Herbal formula which eased his anxiety a bit, i’m happy to report this PD herbal treatment worked very effectively. His Parkinson’s is totally under control, he had a total decline in symptoms, the tremors, shaking, stiffness, slow movement and speech problems stopped. Visit Natural Herbal Gardens official web page ww w. naturalherbalgardens. c om. My family are amazed at the change and rapid improvement. This herbal treatment is a breakthrough for all PD sufferers. SHARE WITH FRIENDS!!

Shalley L
Shalley Lloyd7 months ago

I was around 58 when my thumb started giving me problems. As time passed i had other symptoms; hand tremors, restless sleep, muscle weakness, cognitive decline, voice spasm, stiff achy right arm and ankle. At 60 i was diagnose of PARKINSONS DISEASE, i was on Carbidopa and Pramipexole for two years, they helped alot but not for long. As the disease progressed my symptoms worsened, with my neurologist guidance i started on natural alternative PARKINSONS DISEASE treatment from R.H.F. (Rich Herbs Foundation), the treatment worked very effectively, my severe symptoms simply vanished, i feel better now than I have ever felt and i can feel my strength again. My neurologist was very open when looking at alternative medicines and procedures, this alternative parkinson disease treatment is a breakthrough.

Past Member
Past Member 10 months ago

My husband will be 81 years old next month and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 13 months ago. his main symptom were and rigidity or stiffness of his right-hand side.he also had some difficulty writing. The original diagnosis was confirmed three months later by a second neurologist. He was on one tablet of pramipexole (Sifrol), 0.25 mg three times a day. Four months ago his neurologist added Biperiden, 2 mg. he takes half a tablet of Biperiden three times a day. Since the original diagnosis, his stiffness has slowly increased. He lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medication I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started him on PD natural herbal formula we ordered from GREEN HOUSE HERBAL CLINIC, I spoke to few people who used the treatment here in Canada and they all gave a positive response, his symptoms totally declined over a 6 weeks use of the Green House Parkinson’s disease natural herbal formula. He is now almost 81 and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed! (Visit their website www . Greenhouseherbalclinic . com) I am thankful to nature, herbs are truly gift from God. Share with friends!!

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

Melania Padilla
Melania Pabout a year ago

We are just discovering the plasticity of the human brain; amazing organ indeed. Thanks for sharing

Richard B
Past Member about a year ago

thank you

William C
William Cabout a year ago


W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Interesting, thank you for the information.