What is qi gong and how can it help improve health and wellbeing? Qi gong is a system of energy medicine that was developed in China. The process is designed to promote healing through the body’s life force, a vital energy known as the “qi” (pronounced “chee”). When the qi is out of balance, the person may experience health problems. Restoring the balance naturally leads to improved health.
Qi gong goes by a few different designations, and there are various ways to spell the practice. You may find information on the ancient form of Chinese medicine under the following names:
• Qi gong (spelling variant) • Qigong (spelling variant) • Ch’i Kung (spelling variant) • Nei gong (referring to inner work) • Dao yin (referring to guided energy)
The practice has been in use for more than 2,000 years, making it among the oldest forms of alternative medicine still in use today. In addition to the documented history of qi gong, historians and archaeologists have found references to the techniques to qigong that date back roughly 5,000 years.
Four Areas of Application
The approach addresses four major areas, and the healing qigong is applicable to the mind, spirit and the body.
• Healing qi gong may also be called medical qigong. This is a preventative medicine that promotes self-healing. The focus is on stress reduction as well as positive mental processing and emotional responses. • External qi healing may also be called qai qi zhi liao. The external qi healing involves interaction with a healer in order to move energy from one system to the other. The approach involves no physical contact, rather a controlled energy moving from one individual to another. The process seeks to build the patient’s awareness of energy, and it may be combined with other treatments such therapeutic touch. • Spiritual qi gong may also be called fo gong, or tao gong. This facet seeks to promote self-awareness as well as a connection with natural surroundings. The process builds a feeling of “oneness” with nature. • Sports qi gong may also be called wu gong. This facet helps to improve the body’s ability to function physically. The process does so by helping: o Stamina o Balance o Coordination o Flexibility o Strength
The sports facet of qigong may also lessen the incidence of injury because the body is better able to use its reflexes appropriately and quickly. In addition, a person who is balanced, coordinated and flexible is less likely to sustain injuries.
Some may be very familiar with tai chi, a variant of qi gong, also called taiji quan. Tai chi is different from many forms of qigong in that it treats the entire body in a systematic approach that restores the body system, not one system at a time. For example, the process does not focus on treating the nervous system, followed by the heart. It is designed to treat all systems of the body at once.