What is Qi Gong?

Definition

Qigong (also spelled chi kung) is translated from the Chinese to mean "energy cultivation" or "working with the life energy." Qigong is an ancient Chinese system of postures, exercises, breathing techniques, and meditations. Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body's qi. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, qi is the fundamental life energy responsible for health and vitality.

Purpose

Qigong is used as a daily routine to increase overall health and well-being, as well as for disease prevention and longevity. It can be used to increase energy and reduce stress, as well as to alleviate and eventually heal  many chronic conditions, including asthma, allergies, cancer, headaches, back aches, hypertension, depression, insomnia, mental illness, strokes, heart disease, and obesity.

Origins

Qigong originated before recorded history. Scholars estimate Qigong to be as old as 5,000-7,000 years old. Tracing the exact historical development of Qigong is difficult, because it was passed down in secrecy among monks and teachers for many generations. QI gong survived through many years before paper was invented.

Basic concepts

In Chinese thought, Qi, or chi, is the fundamental life energy of the universe. It is invisible but present in air, water, food and sunlight. In the body, Qi is the unseen vital force that sustains life. We are all born with inherited amounts of Qi, and we also get acquired Qi from the food we eat and the air we breathe. In Qigong, the breath is believed to account for the largest quantity of acquired Qi, because the body uses air more than any other substance. The balance of our physical, mental, and emotional levels also affect Qi levels in the body.

Qi travels through the body along channels called meridians. There are 12 main meridians, corresponding to the 12 principal organs as defined by the traditional Chinese system.  Each organ has Qi associated with it, and each organ interacts with particular emotions on the mental level. Qigong techniques are designed to improve the balance and flow of energy throughout the meridians, and to increase the overall quantity and volume of Qi. In Qigong philosophy, mind and body are not separated as they often are in Western medicine. In Qigong, the mind is present in all parts of the body, and the mind can be used to move Qi throughout the body.