Chi Kung is a powerful system of healing and energy medicine from China. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy (qi).
1. Healing Chi Kung (Yi Gong). Healing Chi Kung is the preventive and self-healing aspect of Chinese medicine. Stress is part of our everyday life. It teaches us how to control our reactions to stress so that life events do not cause such symptoms as high blood pressure, frustration, or anxiety. Ultimately, one will become super-healthy with daily Chi Kung practice.
2. External Qi Healing (Wai Qi Zhi Liao). Chi Kung involves a sophisticated system of health assessment and non-contact treatment called External Qi Healing (EQH). The healer learns to tap into this healing energy source and transfers it through his or her body. External Qi Healing techniques may be used as a stand-alone form of wellness treatment or may be combined with massage, acupuncture, or any other form of body-work. It is generally performed at a distance from the body so it does not violate psychotherapists’ professional ethics (which do not allow touching the patient) and is thus an ideal adjunct to body-centered psychotherapy.
3. Sports Qigong (Wu Gong). Chi Kung increases strength, stamina, coordination, speed, flexibility, balance, and resistance to injury; thus had great use in sports and martial arts. Chi Kung exercises can improve performance in any sport, improving the golf drive, tackling ability in football, accuracy in tennis, and stamina in swimming.
4. Spiritual Qigong (Fo Gong, Tao Gong). For spiritual development (evolving from Taoism and Buddhism), Chi Kung can be used as a tool for self-awareness, tranquillity, and harmony with nature.
With roots in ancient Chinese culture dating back more than 4,000 years, a wide variety of qigong forms have developed within different segments of Chinese society: in traditional Chinese medicine for preventive and curative functions; in Confucianism to promote longevity and improve moral character; in Daoism and Buddhism as part of meditative practice; and in Chinese martial arts to enhance self-defending abilities.
Contemporary qigong blends diverse and sometimes disparate traditions, in particular the Daoist meditative practice of “internal alchemy” (Neidan 內丹術), the ancient meditative practices of “circulating qi” (Xing qi 行氣) and “standing meditation” (Zhan zhuang 站桩), and the slow gymnastic breathing exercise of “guiding and pulling” (Dao yin 導引). Traditionally, qigong was taught by master to students through training and oral transmission, with an emphasis on meditative practice by scholars and gymnastic or dynamic practice by the working masses.
People practice qigong for many different reasons, including for recreation, exercise and relaxation, preventive medicine and self-healing, meditation and self-cultivation, and training for martial arts. Practitioners range from athletes to the physically challenged. Because it is low impact and can be done lying, sitting, or standing, qigong is accessible for disabled persons, seniors, and people recovering from injuries
Qigong is generally viewed as safe. No adverse effects have been observed in clinical trials, such that qigong is considered safe for use across diverse populations. The cost for self-care is minimal, and cost efficiencies are high for group delivered care. Typically the cautions associated with qigong are the same as those associated with any physical activity, including the risk of muscle strains or sprains, the advisability of stretching to prevent injury, general safety for use alongside conventional medical treatments, and consulting with a physician when combining with conventional treatment.