Qigong (pronounced “chee gung”) is an internal art. Similar to yoga or tai chi, qigong exercises seeks to cultivate and circulate vital energy (qi) in the body through a series of gentle, flowing movements. The practice of qigong exercises enhances one’s health and well-being, as this internal energy begins to flow more harmoniously through the body. Places of tension may become “unstuck,” and areas of weakness may become strengthened.
Qigong originated in ancient Chinese and is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, just as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and tui na (Chinese massage). There are literally thousands of styles and ways to practice, handed down over the generations by teachers to students. Qigong may be practiced standing, sitting up, or lying down. A particular series of qigong movements, called a “form,” may consist of a very few simple movements or a lengthy routine with more complex movements. Breath patterns are often incorporated into the exercises to make them even more effective in balancing the body’s energy.
Qigong may be practiced at any age and in any physical condition. In modern China, medical qigong is taught and practiced by doctors.