Introduction to Qigong

Introduction to Qigong

got qigong

Although the term "Qigong" came into general usage as recently as the middle of the 20th Century, the origin of the practices (e.g. nei-gong, nei-dan, yang-sheng, shamanism, and dao-yin) that now constitute Qigong predate recorded history. These methods formed the early roots of Chinese medicine and are still considered an integral part of modern Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine. Qigong is a combination of qi  (aka life-force, life energy, bioenergy, creativity, consciousness, breath, function) and gong (cultivation or practice over time, as in the practice of an Art). Qigong is a self-initiated health and wellness practice consisting of a combination of exercise (posture, movement, and breathing techniques) and meditation (mindfulness and interoception). It can also include self-massage. Researchers describe qigong as Meditative Movement that has the following characteristics: “(a) some form of movement or body positioning, (b) a focus on breathing, and (c) a cleared or calm state of mind with a goal of (d) deep states of relaxation” (Meditative movement as a category of exerciseLarkey 2009).

Practicing qigong is as simple as doing the Three Intentful Corrections (adjust the posture, breath, and mind). Mindfulness, a key component of meditation, produces a heightened awareness of the present moment. This includes awareness of stimuli which originates inside the body (interoception) and of the body's alignment (posture, balance, orientation), position in space, and movement (proprioception). Qigong practice puts the body into the relaxation and regeneration state (the relaxation response) where the autonomic nervous system is predominately in the parasympathetic mode. Slow, deep, diaphragmatic breathing combined with movement and mindfulness strengthens the efficiency of the immune and lymphatic systems by facilitating efficient and balanced movement of body fluids.

Benefits of qigong practice include optimizing the delivery of oxygen and nutrition to the tissues, increasing the efficiency of cellular metabolism, altering neurochemistry towards healing, managing pain and mood, reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and facilitating relaxation and mental focus. Qigong can be done anywhere, anytime. It can be practiced while sitting, standing, moving, not moving, or lying down. It is excellent for stress reduction, prevention of illness, dealing with chronic illness, healthy and active aging, and longevity. In addition to being a fundamental practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong is known to Western medical science, research, and clinical therapy as Meditative Movement, a new category of exercise which also includes Tai Chi. Recognizing the cost- effectiveness and health benefits of delivering qigong to a huge population of almost 1.4 billion people, the Chinese government is actively researching, promoting, and standardizing the “traditional Chinese exercises” of qigong and Tai Chi as public health practices. The Chinese Health Qigong Association is actively promoting qigong by establishing affiliated organizations in countries around the world, including the United States. Chinese Health Qigong consists entirely of qigong.

Today, millions of people practice Qigong around the world to successfully treat a myriad of diseases, to improve general health, support longevity, and to promote psycho-spiritual growth and happiness. Most notably, qigong practice can provide profound relief from stress and strongly enhance the body's immune function. Successful aging is related to the optimal functioning of the immune system. Current data published by the US Department of Health and Human Services states that some seventy percent of diseases reported in the US today are totally preventable. In a time when healthcare options appear ever more limited, the increased awareness and use of qigong is great news.

Quick references:

Qigong 101: A Beginner’s Guide to the Art of Cultivating Vital Energy

What is Qigong? A Short Guide for the Confused.

An Introduction to Qigong.

WebMD: Tai Chi and QI Gong.

Qigong: Energy Medicine for the New Millenium.

Daoism and the Origins of Qigong. 

How Qigong Works in the Body. Qigong works strongly on the body fluids, including blood, lymph and the synovial and cerebrospinal fluids. Unlike aerobics, qigong does not dramatically increase the heart rate during exercise. The object of qigong is not to make the heart pump more strongly, but to increase the elasticity of the vascular system. As the vessels expand and contract with more vigor, the heart does not need to pump as strongly, thereby providing it with more rest. The lymph fluids are moved primarily by tiny muscular expansions and contractions. Qigong's relatively fine muscular expansions and contractions move lymph efficiently through the entire system. 

prevention magazine qigong23 Ways to Boost Your Immune System. #4: Practice Qigong. This Chinese mind-body exercise combines breath control and slow movements to reduce stress and improve focus, but it may also help combat colds. Twenty-seven varsity swimmers in a University of Virginia study learned qigong, and during their seven-week training season, those who practiced it at least once a week got 70% fewer respiratory infections than swimmers who used it less.

Dao Yin (a.k.a. Qigong): Origin, Development, Potential Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications.

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Dao Yin is a form of exercise combining physical movements, mental focus, and breathing originated in ancient China. In this review, we introduce the history in the development and the scope of Dao Yin, the relationship between Dao Yin with Taoist culture and Qigong, and the potential mechanisms of how Dao Yin promotes health and alleviate illnesses. Empirical research studies using Dao Yin for treatment of lumbar spondylosis, peripheral musculoskeletal diseases, cervical spondylosis, heart diseases, central nervous system disorders, immunological dysfunction, and psychological disorders are detailed. [PMCID: PMC6854271].

Lifestyle for Healthy Active Living


yin yang symbol

The Mind-Body Health Pyramid

A lifestyle for healthy, active living includes exercise, nutrition, and a mind-body practice. Physical exercise and proper nutrition are necessary, but not sufficient, to maintain optimal health. Likewise, mind-body practices without the other two are also not enough for optimal health.

The mind-body practices of Qigong and Tai Chi sustain and improve the health of the immune system, nervous system, internal organs; and improve the ability to lower stress. This is accomplished through the combination of breathing, meditation, and movement. Proper posture, spinal alignment, and centering are integral components of the movement. Meditation promotes increased brain plasticity, heightened motor sensory consciousness, greater ability to focus awareness, and alteration of gene transcription to promote health and healing.

pubmed logoCanadian review reports that physical exercise is a promising non-pharmaceutical intervention to prevent age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. This is one more affirmation of the beneficial health effects of the "moving" part of "moving meditation" and tai chi in particular.

How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia. The numbers are pretty grim: More than half of all 85-year-olds suffer some form of dementia. But here's the good news: Brain researchers say there are ways to boost brain power and stave off problems in memory and thinking. In other words, brain decline is not necessarily an inevitable part of aging.

Healthy Lifestyle May Buffer Against Stress-Related Cell Aging. UC San Francisco Study Suggests Healthy Diet, Sleep and Exercise Can Mitigate Negative Impacts of Stress. The study participants who exercised, slept well and ate well had less telomere shortening than the ones who didn’t maintain healthy lifestyles, even when they had similar levels of stress

pubmed logoHarvard study links healthy lifestyle to healthy immune system.

World Champion Racewalker's Training Secret: Qigong

Jack Bray race-walking


Trying to keep up with the world's fastest racewalking gerontologist, Jack Bray, would be difficult for people just half his age. Jack has developed a winning training strategy that is built upon a foundation of Qigong. To learn more, read Walking With Qi: the Nine Jewels of Qigong Walking.

Effectiveness of mindful walking intervention in nature on sleep quality and mood among university student during Covid-19: A randomised control study. Conclusions: Findings contribute to the evidence base for the effectiveness of outdoor mindful walking interventions on mental health. Especially these findings add new knowledge of how mindful walking outdoors reduces university students' mood disturbances and improves their sleep quality and mindfulness level during the pandemic. PMID: 35973933

A Demonstration of Wuji Swimming Dragon Qigong by Francesco Garripoli, Emmy and Telly award winning Chairman of the Board of the Qigong Institute. 

Dr. Effie Chow talks about Qigong on Discoveries in Alternative Medicine.

Chow Qigong Part 2

Spontaneous Qigong

Whole-body movement and vibration

Although they define reality using different terms, quantum physics and the two main philosophies (Buddhism and Taoism) that influenced modern Qigong are in agreement on the fundamental nature of reality: It is characterized by impermanence or change, the interconnectedness of all things, and the fundamental equivalence of mass and energy. Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity describes this equivalence as "e=mc2"; the Buddhists refer to form or not form (aka "emptiness"); and the Taoists recognize yin and yang. So form, mass, and yin are describing the same state of being as are not form, energy, and yang. But how can something exist yet not exist at the same time? How does one go about exploring this conundrum beyond the realm of intellect and thought into experience and presence? A wonderful way to start is through the simple yet profound practice of Spontaneous Qigong. Spontaneous Qigong is said to be easy to do but difficult to master. This is no surprise, since one of the fundamentals of any Qigong practice is calming the mind.

Start by practicing Qigong forms (see Getting Started with Qigong for some examples) interpersed with free-form Qigong where your movements are led by your Qi (energy). Just move in whatever way your body tells you. You become a living metaphor for moving in and out of form. You become just like the clouds. They form from seemingly nothing, have substance that our senses can detect (mainly through sight), and then they disappear back into nothing, which is where they came from. Spontaneous Qigong or Qigong Dancing (Spontaneous Qigong to music) is a way to experience this shifting in and out of time and pure awareness. Qigong was originally a healing dance. Shaman would give a Qigong "prescription" for people bent over working in fields all day. For examples of Qigong dancing or Qigong with music, see the Dancing Qigong DVD Trailer . Then forget the dancer (the self or ego) and become the dance (pure energy). Whole Body Vibration

Shaking and dancing have been prescribed by Chinese Buddhist medical practitioners for centuries to treat a number of physical and emotional disorders. It is a highly effective method for removing energy stagnation and breaking down hardened thinking patterns. Shaking the wrists alone is considered an effective way to treat depression. Chinese Buddhist Qigong masters consider the shaking as preparation for meditation whereas the dance is the meditation.

Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ Search

Whole body vibration

Whole body vibration is part of many types of Qigong, including spontaneous Qigong and Emei Qigong

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Whole-Body Vibration to Improve Physical Function Parameters in Nursing Home Residents Older than 80 Years: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. WBV may be an effective intervention to improve the strength, balance, mobility, walking ability, and physical performance of older nursing home residents. PMID: 38423527

Whole Body Vibration Improves Brain and Musculoskeletal Health by Modulating the Expression of Tissue-Specific Markers: FNDC5 as a Key Regulator of Vibration Adaptations. Whole body vibration (WBV) is well known to exert beneficial effects on multiple tissues, improving synaptic transmission, muscle mass, bone quality, and reducing anxiety and depressive behavior. Different organs or tissues have different susceptibility to vibration. PMC9498983

Mood regulates the physiological response to whole-body vibration at low intensity. A positive affective state determined greater changes in ANS activity in response to vibration variations compared to a negative affective condition. PMID: 36577272

Whole Body Vibration: A Valid Alternative Strategy to Exercise? Several studies agree that mechanical vibration can induce physiological changes at different levels, improving neuromuscular function through postural control strategies, muscle tuning mechanisms and tonic vibration reflexes. Whole-body vibration has also been reported to increase bone mineral density and muscle mass and strength, as well as to relieve pain and modulate proprioceptive function in patients with osteoarthritis or lower back pain. Furthermore, vibratory training was found to be an effective strategy for improving the physical performance of healthy athletes in terms of muscle strength, agility, flexibility, and vertical jump height. Notably, several benefits have also been observed at the brain level, proving to be an important factor in protecting and/or preventing the development of age-related cognitive disorders. PMID: 36412761

Whole Body Vibration Improves Brain and Musculoskeletal Health by Modulating the Expression of Tissue-Specific Markers: FNDC5 as a Key Regulator of Vibration Adaptations. Whole body vibration (WBV) is well known to exert beneficial effects on multiple tissues, improving synaptic transmission, muscle mass, bone quality, and reducing anxiety and depressive behavior...results suggest that the WBV effects depend closely on the type of protocol used and support the hypothesis that different organs or tissues have different susceptibility to vibration [which would be a necessary condition for Qigong Healing Sounds]PMCID: PMC9498983.

Systematic Review and Meta-analyses on the Effects of Whole-body Vibration on Bone Health. Whole body vibration may be clinically useful as non-pharmacological/adjunct therapy to mitigate osteoporosis risk in healthy postmenopausal females. Additional studies are needed to determine the underlying mechanisms. PMID: 35093509.

Use of surface electromyography to evaluate effects of whole-body vibration exercises on neuromuscular activation and muscle strength in the elderly: a systematic review. Whole-body vibration exercise is a training modality that increases neuromuscular activation and muscle strength PMID: 34699285.

Psychological Effects of Whole-Body Vibration Training in Frail Older Adults: An Open, Randomized Control Trial. Beneficial effects remained for at least 6-month post-intervention. Further WBV benefits were observed in activity, mobility, and self-care elements of quality of life. Sixteen weeks of low-level WBV exercise is sufficient to enhance frail older adults' falls-related confidence, quality of life, and functional independence PMID: 34348227.

Effectiveness of whole-body vibration or biofeedback postural training as an add-on to vestibular exercises rehabilitation therapy in chronic unilateral vestibular weakness: A randomized controlled study. Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a mechanical vertical stimulation that provides high frequency vibration stimulus to the proprioceptive receptors. Patients in the WBV group obtained statistically significant gains in balance control. PMID: 33459675.

Whole-Body Vibration Training Increases Stem/Progenitor Cell Circulation Levels and May Attenuate InflammationWhole-body vibration has positive vascular and anti-inflammatory effects.

Effects of whole-body vibration and high impact exercises on the bone metabolism and functional mobility in postmenopausal womenWhole body vibration (WBV) can prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. These findings also indicate that WBV and high-impact training programs improve functional mobility, health-related quality of life, and depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women.

Tai Chi and whole-body vibrating therapy in sarcopenic men in advanced old age: a clinical randomized controlled trial. Tai Chi and Whole Body Vibration are effective treatments for improving muscle strength and physical performance in sarcopenic men in advanced old age. Note that whole body vibration is a form of spontaneous Qigong.

Effects of Two Different Neuromuscular Training Protocols on Regional Bone Mass in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The results indicate that 24 weeks of whole body vibration (a form of spontaneous Qigong) may counteract the rapid loss of bone mass after the cessation of menstruation, thus improving postmenopausal women bone health.

Whole body vibration improves core muscle strength and endurance in ambulant individuals with multiple sclerosis: A randomized clinical trial. Strength and endurance of core muscles as well as quality of life of MS patients can be positively influenced by a 6-week WBV training. The program was well-tolerated by patients and no adverse event was observed.

Beneficial effects are associated with whole-body vibration exercises (WBVEs). Increases in muscular strength/power, flexibility, and gait speed; improvements in bone mineral density, balance, and the quality of life; and decreased pain and risk of falls are reported. It is concluded that WBVE is effective for counteracting the loss of muscle strength associated with sarcopenia in elderly individuals. Balance and leg and plantar flexor strength improvements due to WBV indicate benefit to reduce risk and incidence of falls, frailty, and fracture risks. WBV is a form of spontaneous Qigong.

The Effect of Whole Body Vibration on Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness.

Effects of whole-body vibration on heart rate variability: acute responses and training adaptations. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a noninvasive and practical measure of cardiac autonomic nervous system function, mainly the sympathetic and parasympathetic modulations of heart rate. A low HRV has been shown to be indicative of compromised cardiovascular health. Interventions that enhance HRV are therefore beneficial to cardiovascular health. WBV training appears to be a useful therapeutic intervention to improve cardiac autonomic function in different populations, mainly through decreases in sympathovagal balance. 

Spontaneous Qigong (whole body vibration) as effective as Pilates on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.

Whole body vibration increases bone mineral density in elderly osteoporotic individuals.

RELEVANCE OF WHOLE BODY VIBRATION EXERCISE IN SPORT: A SHORT REVIEW WITH SOCCER, DIVER AND COMBAT SPORT.  Whole body vibration, a form of spontaneous Qigong, improves physical condition of athletes in many sports.

Whole body vibration improves postural balance performance and muscle power output in patients with COPD

4-week whole-body vibration improves bone mineral density

Daily vibration may help protect aging bones.

Whole-body vibration useful modality for the reduction of cardiovascular risk in sedentary people

Whole body vibration program found to be a practical, less time-consuming, and equally effective alternative to a standard exercise program during ACL-rehabilitation.

Effects of whole body vibration training on body composition, skeletal muscle strength, and cardiovascular health.

Whole body and local muscle vibration immediately improves quadriceps function.

wuhan metro pillars with polar bears doing qigongA series of stickers featuring a cartoon bear performing the Ba Duan Jin Qigong exercise routine has been unveiled on pillars in the lobby of Pangxiejia Station on Metro Line 7 in Wuhan, Hubei province, Nov. 6, 2023. Titled "Office Ba Duan Jin," the series features the eight exercises for office workers to copy, accompanied by messages promoting aspects of traditional Chinese culture.

wuhan subway bear doing qigong

Qigong Documentary Overview
Francesco Garripoli

Chairman of the Board, Qigong Institute

The Qigong documentary Qigong - Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century, produced and directed by Francesco Garripoli for PBS-TV, was seen by over 88 million viewers after it began airing in 1998 according to Nielsen Ratings. This documentary was shot by Francesco during his years of living in China and study with amazing Qigong Master healers such as Master Wan Sujian as well as Master Luo and Master Duan, who passed away at over 100 years old. This fifteen minute overview of the one hour program features a voice over by Daisy Lee and Francesco and is available on DVD along with interviews of Francesco. Visit the Qigong Institute Store.

Qigong is a

Moving Meditation and Mind-Body wellness practice

which is a combination of

Movement, Posture, Breathing, and Awareness


do qigong now

What is Qigong, really?

man doing tai chi pose at sunset

Read an excerpt from the eBook PDF An Introduction to Qigong Health Care which is a compendium of 120+ research studies from the scientific community on teaching, practicing, and legislating Qigong as a health care solution.

The Physiology of Tai Chi and QiGong

What Does "Qigong" Mean?

Qigong is a very all-inclusive modern (since the 1950's) term that applies to integrated mind-body-breathing techniques and practices. A practical translation of "Qigong" would be cultivation or practice ("gong") of one's life force or bioenergy ("Qi"). Cultivation includes incorporating Qigong into one's lifestyle (e.g. like learning an Art or gaining a skill through practice over one's lifetime) for health, wellness, resilience, and disease prevention. Western biomedical science, research, and clinical therapy define Qigong as Meditative Movement, which is a combination of movement, body, breath, and meditation. 

As defined in Chinese Medical QIgong (the main medical Qigong textbook in China), Qigong encompasses all forms of energy exercises, mind-body healing or therapies, internal cultivation skills and practices, and meditative practices. By this definition, Daoist and Buddhist spiritual and meditative practices, a significant portion of Traditional Chinese Medicine, soft martial arts such as Tai Chi as well as energy healing practices can be considered as Qigong. Furthermore, reiki, therapeutic touch, transcendental meditation, pranic healing and other meditations would all be called Qigong in China. Qigong practiced according to Traditional Chinese Medicine can be referred to as "clinical QIgong therapy" or "clinical QIgong" which is defined via a 500-hour Clinical Qigong Practitioner certification from the National QIgong Association. 

Besides the Western medical (Meditative Movement) and traditional Chinese medical definitions of Qigong, the Chinese also consider QIgong and Tai Chi to be a part of "traditional Chinese exercise" and promote and practice them as exercise sports starting at early ages. 

The relation between wuji, taiji, and qigong.

What is the Essential Nature of Qigong

Qigong and Tai Chi - Dr. Jahnke, OMD 

Primordial Qigong Movement.mp4

"The most profound medicine is produced in the human body for free."

"American society is based on self reliance -- everywhere except healthcare."

Dr. Roger Jahnke

Cultivating Qi and Activating the Healer Within is a compelling article on why Qigong can have such a profound impact on the delivery of health care. Dr. Jahnke’s message is simple, striking, and empowering: The most profound medicine is not at the hospital, pharmacy, or doctor’s office. It is produced within us through the balance and harmony of physiology, mind, and spirit. According to Dr. Jahnke, all of the necessary components of self-healing have been in place within us since the beginning of the human race. Both ancient and contemporary philosophers have pointed to our naturally occurring self-healing capacity and contemporary science has confirmed the spontaneous function of self-repair and self-restoration. Reducing stress is an extremely important skill, given that the American Institute of Stress lists stress as America's #1 health problem and that 75 - 90 percent of visits to primary care physicians are stress related. Also see Dr. Jahnke's interview in EXPLORE magazine where he explains in more detail the profound health benefits of Qigong and how people can actually heal themselves: A Conspiracy of Miracles: Qi, Spirit-Mind-Body, and the Transformation of Healthcare.

Qi Gong: What is chi energy? Can any person harness their own chi energy? How? "Qi is the foundation of everything in the world view of the ancients in Asia. Qi, Chi, Ki, Prana — are all references to a feature of nature that pervades everywhere filling all of what we call space and penetrating all of what we call matter."

"Qigong is not just a set of movements, not just meditation, mantra recitations, or cultivation of qi. Qigong is a path of life mastery, a path to enlightenment. The movements, mantras, and meditations are tools that are used towards that end. The tools should not limit you. They should help you grow...A Qigong form is meant to assist a person in gaining the health, energy, and sensitivity needed to expore the more spiritual dimensions in life. After the basics of Qigong are learned, proper posture and alignments, etc., the student is ready to explore some of the deeper aspects of the art. What happens to some practitioners of spiritual movement systems such as Qigong ... is that they strive for perfection of the form, that is, perfection of the outer form, their posture and alignment. And they end up ignoring the inner experience... What is most important is what is happening on the inside, the energetic, meditative, and spiritual aspect of the art." Richard.

The entire article appears in the Fall 2003 issue of The Empty Vessel.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Endorses Qigong and Tai Chi

logo"A program of regular exercise that includes cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercise training beyond activities of daily living to improve and maintain physical fitness and health is essential for most adults....Neuromotor exercise training, sometimes called functional fitness training, incorporates motor skills such as balance, coordination, gait, and agility, and proprioceptive training. Multifaceted physical activities such as tai ji (tai chi), qigong, and yoga involve varying combinations of neuromotor exercise, resistance exercise, and flexibility exercise. Neuromotor exercise training is beneficial as part of a comprehensive exercise program for older persons, especially to improve balance, agility, muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls." American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise.

Integrating Qigong into Healthcare

qi journal summer 2021 issue cover

Adding Qigong Health Care to the Healthcare System

By Tom Rogers and Josie Weaver. Qigong Institute.

Today's medicine is in the midst of an undeniable crisis. Calls to reform healthcare are in the forefront of economic and political discussions worldwide. Economic pressures reduce the amount of time physicians can spend with patients contributing to burnout among medical staff and endangering the patient... Politicians are getting involved as the public is calling for more affordable healthcare. 

The American healthcare industry is in a challenged state because it is an expensive system focused on financing medical intervention for treating disease after people are sick and not on safety, cost effectiveness, prevention, and actual health care before people get sick. The pandemic crisis with COVID-19 has exposed the need for personal and public health-care practices to enhance immunity and resilience. The nation has an opportunity to reimagine health care. Scientific research proves that Qigong is a non-invasive self-care practice that provides physical and emotional well-being and resilience that can be clinically measured. Qigong exercise results in the active creation of health and is a useful health intervention that could be more fully integrated into American healthcare.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Qi Journal. This version has several minor revisions. [PDF].

National Qigong Association Introduction to Qigong

What is Qigong?

Qigong is an integration of physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions. Qigong practices can be classified as martial, medical, or spiritual. All styles have three things in common: they all involve a posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus. Some practices increase the Qi; others circulate it, use it to cleanse and heal the body, store it, or emit Qi to help heal others. Practices vary from the soft internal styles such as Tai Chi; to the external, vigorous styles such as Kung Fu. However, the slow gentle movements of most Qigong forms MORE.

Health Benefits of Qigong and Meditative Movement

pubmed logoMovement Therapies and Relaxation Techniques help manage health conditions among children. Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by children under 18 y of age in the United States is becoming more prevalent. According to an analysis of procedures in chiropractic practices in 2010, more than 96% of chiropractors in the United States recommended use of movement therapies (MT) and relaxation techniques (RT) to their patients. The current research suggests that early training on MT and RT can be seen as a useful tool that can help prevent or manage certain health problems, including anxiety, stress, and attention deficit disorders, asthma, and back/neck pain.

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Meditative Movement for Depression and Anxiety. "Meditative movement is a term identifying forms of exercise that use movement in conjunction with meditative attention to body sensations, including proprioception, interoception, and kinesthesis. We clarify the differences between meditative movement and conventional exercise, present descriptions of several of the key methodologies of meditative movement, and suggest how research into these practices may be approached in a systematic way. “Mind” in this context means “awareness” and not “conceptual thought.” In MM the mind is neither engaged in conceptual activity nor focused on a future goal, nor is it in the “default mode” of mind-wandering (50), but instead is focused on direct bodily experience. We view this spatial/interoceptive/proprioceptive/kinesthetic focus of awareness as the principal defining characteristic of MM. The practitioner’s awareness is on the kinesthetic sensations of the whole body moving through space; the flow of breath and blood and other visceral sensations; the experience of balance, orientation, and posture; and the felt sense of space – quite different from physical awareness in conventional exercise."

A Short Introduction to the Medical Benefits of Qigong

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Lazarou et. al.) which analyzed the incidence of serious and fatal adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in hospital patients, in a single year over two million patients had serious ADRs and over 100,000 ADRs were fatal. And this was just in the hospital patient population under study. The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ holds thousands of references going back to 1986, covering medical applications, scientific, and experimental studies on Qigong and related energy therapies from around the world. Records in English have been compiled from International Qigong conferences and seminars, scientific journals, magazines, dissertations, MEDLINE, and other databases. One example concerning prescription drug use is from Therapeutic Benefits of Qigong Exercises in Combination with Drugs . J Altern Complement Med. 1999; 5(4):383-389; ISSN: 1341-9226, by Ken Sancier, founder and CEO of the Qigong Institute:

"The therapeutic role of Qigong exercises combined with drugs is reported for three medical conditions that require drug therapy for health maintenance: hypertension, respiratory disease, and cancer. In these studies, drugs were administered to all patients who were divided into two groups, a group that practiced qigong exercises and a control group that did not. Taken together, these studies suggest that practicing Qigong exercises may favorably affect many functions of the body, permit reduction of the dosage of drugs required for health maintenance, and provide greater health benefits than the use of drug therapy alone. For hypertensive patients, combining qigong practice with drug therapy for hypertensive patients resulted in reduced incidence of stroke and mortality and reduced dosage of drugs required for blood pressure maintenance. For asthma patients, the combination therapy permitted reduction in drug dosage, the need for sick leave, duration of hospitalization, and costs of therapy. For cancer patients, the combination therapy reduced the side effects of cancer therapy. Also reported is a study showing that the practice of Qigong helps to rehabilitate drug addicts." Ken Sancier.

For more abstracts, see the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ . Also see the abstracts of research published by the Qigong Institute as well as a Review of Qigong for Cancer Treatment, the Anti-Aging Benefits of Qigong, the Use of Qigong Therapy in the Detoxification of Heroin Additcs, Qigong and Neuorlogical Illness and other published Scientific Papers.

"There is the widespread belief in our culture of the technological fix. This extends especially to drugs that are used to address chemical imbalances. In the meantime, prevention, nutrition, exercise, healthy living habits, and self-healing have been de-emphasized or discarded. Just a few of the consequences of this are a dramatically over-weight population and degenerative diseases that have replaced infectious diseases as the most pressing health issues...Adverse drug reaction is a leading cause of diseases and death. Chemical cures are still unpredictable. In spite of their 'precision' dosages, there is insufficient research on what else is going on in other parts of the brain and body when these drugs are administered...Some non-energetic conventional remedies are widely used, and even reimbursed by insurance companies, but have not been proven to be medically or cost effective and have side effects that can be harmful." Tom Rogers, President, Qigong Institute.

Yang Sheng and Qigong

An important component of Chinese culture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the principle of ‘Yang Sheng’. ‘Yang’ translates to ‘taking care of, to ‘nourish’ or ‘nurture’ and ‘Sheng’ translates to ‘birth’ and ‘vitality’. Together the words mean to ‘nurture or nourish life’, to ‘foster a state of wellbeing by nurturing mind, body and spirit’. Yang Sheng is a manageable practice for all people, aimed at cultivating health and harmony through daily activities. The focus is on maintaining balance through an awareness of our connection with nature and our environment, our physical bodies and our spirit. Health preservation (instead of disease treatment) is an essential feature of TCM practice and is significantly different than Western medicine, which mainly focuses on disease and illness.

The word Qigong is made up of two Chinese characters, ‘Qi’ and ‘Gong’. ‘Qi’ (Chi) translates to the ‘energy of life’, the vital energy which flows through the network of meridians in the body and connects with the energy or Qi of the universe. In Japan and Korea it’s known as ‘Ki’ and if studying Yoga the term ‘Prana’ is used. Most cultures have a similar terminology for life energy. ‘Gong’ (Kung) is a term which translates to ‘work, mastery, skill and training’. The two words therefore translate to ‘energy work’, ‘working with the energy of life’ or ‘mastering the energy of life’. MORE.

Mindful exercise and mental health. How is mindful exercise like Qigong different from normal western exercise and why should you practice it?


hands over head absorbing qiThe concept of Qi energy has been an integral component of Eastern philosophy and medicine for thousands of years. However, there is no single accepted definition of Qi. Some people think that Qi is an electric energy, while others believe it is magnetic energy, or heat energy. Scientists have long been interested in measuring Qi but it cannot yet be measured by any medical science or explained via physics. However, there is a lot of science behind Qigong – more so than any other form of Energy Medicine. ...More. From: Absorbing the


tai chi


Exercisers Slow It Down With Qigong. The face of exercise is changing in America. Instead of relentlessly pursuing a sculptured physique, people are chasing longevity, stress reduction and improved health through mind-body practices like qigong.

Qigong in the Martial Arts and for Health

Tai Chi Grandmaster doing standing meditationThere are thousands of different types of Qigong and Tai Chi. Arguably the most popular type of Qigong for martial arts is zhan zhuang (“jan jong”). This is also known as “stake standing”, and some forms are called "tree hugging". The practitioner stands motionless in a particular posture to develop internal strength. A widely practiced form of zhan zhuang is Wuji Qigong. It is very easy to practice yet is said to be difficult to master. Standing Qigong practice develops integrated body/mind awareness and focus, called “soong” in Chinese. Some masters train only using this form of Qigong. Shown is Chen style Tai Chi Grandmaster Chen Qingzhou demonstrating zhan zhaung. Zhan Zhuan is a powerful basic training for Qigong as well as Tai Chi practiced for health or martial arts.

Training for Vitality or Internal Power?

"The man is not sick because he is ill; he is ill because he is sick". --Chinese proverb

World Congress on Qigong

These are amazing gatherings of world-class Qigong and Tai Chi experts and western medical doctors, PhD's, and research experts. For information visit East West Healing Arts. Qigong Institute Founder Ken Sancier is one of the experts interviewed in the following video.

serene lake with gazebos on rocksBioelectricity, Qi, and the Human Body. Qi is the electric energy associated with living organisms. Electricity, defined by Merriam-Webster, is as follows: a fundamental form of energy observable in positive and negative forms that occurs naturally (as in lightning) or is produced (as in a generator) and that is expressed in terms of the movement and interaction of electrons. Generally speaking, when thinking of electricity, we think of it as something external to our human bodies: the naturally occurring lightning and human created technology being two said instances. There is, however, a form of electricity that is prevalent in every living creature: bioelectricity.


New Fact Sheet on Qigong: A Review of An Important New Resource 

by Josie Weaver

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) published the Fact Sheet on Qigong February 2022, and it is available on the NCCIH website. Included under Other References is a paper by Qigong Institute President Tom Rogers and Vice-President Josie Weaver: Rogers T, Weaver J. Regulating the Practice and Teaching of Qigong and T’ai Chi. Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness. 2019:18-25.

The Qigong Fact Sheet publication is a valuable resource for educating the general public as well as health care professionals about Qigong. As a health care practice, Qigong is a mind-body exercise that could readily be integrated into the ordinary life of the individual and also into professional health care settings. The publication of the Qigong Fact Sheet both honors the roots of Qigong as an ancient practice originating in China and acknowledges scientific evidence that Qigong is a safe and effective as a health care practice. The Qigong Fact Sheet also importantly educates the public about Qigong as a practice that is related to Tai Chi but also distinct as an approach to movement-based contemplative practice. Read More.

The History of Qigong

Although the practices that are today called 'Qigong' are millennia old, the term 'Qigong' was coined in the mid-20th Century.

qi journalThe Man Who Invented "Qigong" by John Voight was originally published in the Autumn 2013 issue of Qi Journal. This and other issues of Qi Journal can be purchased from Insight Publishing. A more complete scholarly history of Qigong in 20th Century China can be found in Qigong Fever: Body, Science, and Utopia in China.

Chinese Medical Qigong
The Introduction to the English Edition of Chinese Medical Qigong (the official Chinese textbook) discusses the origin of Qigong and its use as a clinical therapy. 

More information on the history of Qigong (also called "Dao Yin") can be found in Dao Yin (a.k.a. Qigong): Origin, Development, Potential Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications [PMCID: PMC6854271].

History of Qigong with Ken Cohen

Qigong Fever

Qigong—a regimen of body, breath, and mental training exercises—was one of the most widespread cultural and religious movements of late-twentieth-century urban China. The practice was promoted by senior Communist Party leaders as a uniquely Chinese healing tradition and as a harbinger of a new scientific revolution, yet the movement's mass popularity and the almost religious devotion of its followers led to its ruthless suppression. In this absorbing and revealing book, David A. Palmer relies on a combination of historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives to describe the spread of the qigong craze and its reflection of key trends that have shaped China since 1949, including the search for a national identity and an emphasis on the absolute authority of science. Qigong offered the promise of an all-powerful technology of the body rooted in the mysteries of Chinese culture. However, after 1995 the scientific underpinnings of qigong came under attack, its leaders were denounced as charlatans, and its networks of followers, notably Falungong, were suppressed as "evil cults." According to Palmer, the success of the movement proves that a hugely important religious dimension not only survived under the CCP but was actively fostered, if not created, by high-ranking party members. Tracing the complex relationships among the masters, officials, scientists, practitioners, and ideologues involved in qigong, Palmer opens a fascinating window on the transformation of Chinese tradition as it evolved along with the Chinese state. As he brilliantly demonstrates, the rise and collapse of the qigong movement is key to understanding the politics and culture of post-Mao society.

8 Extraordinary Vessels, The Science on Life, Death, and Extraordinary Consciousness Experiences

16 Reasons Qigong Will Be Bigger Than Yoga in 16 Years

Read Article.

The 19 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Qigong

Read Article.

Physiology of Qigong and Yoga

townsend letter magazine cover with roger jahnke portrait

Qigong and yoga are ancient methodologies developed and refined over thousands of years, designed to sustain the inherent healing systems of the body by maximizing restorative energies, termed chi or qi in China and prana in India. Research indicates that these therapeutic practices promote a range of beneficial physiological effects involving mechanisms currently well understood in Western biomedicine. Full article.

Cultivating Qi and Activating the Healer Within

An Interview with Roger Jahnke, O.M.D.

man portrait

Dr. Jahnke’s message is simple, striking, and empowering: The most profound medicine is not at the hospital, pharmacy, or doctor’s office. It is produced within us through the balance and harmony of physiology, mind, and spirit. According to Dr. Jahnke, all of the necessary components of self-healing have been in place within us since the beginning of the human race. Both ancient and contemporary philosophers have pointed to our naturally occurring self-healing capacity and contemporary science has confirmed the spontaneous function of self-repair and self-restoration. More...


man in snake creeps down tai chi pose

Qigong — Awakening and Mastering the Profound Medicine Within. Asian philosophies and the ancient personal transformation traditions of the pre-colonial, original cultures have always held that the world we experience through our senses is but a fragment of what is. An individual’s energy field is proposed to be the essence of one’s being, rather than a physical body. As western science frees itself from its “seeing is believing” position, what occurs is a validation of ideas and traditions that were called “mysterious,” “savage,” “unscientific,” and “primitive” as little as a decade ago. As we now use science to explain the “why” and the “how” of the mysterious, unusual arts and disciplines are revealed as practical and meaningful. More...

pubmed logoThis review finds Qigong and Tai Chi performed as Qigong [i.e. Qigong and Tai Chi as Meditative Movement] are valid complementary and alternative therapeutic exercises.

Qigong and Tai Chi as Therapeutic Exercise: Survey of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Addressing Physical Health Conditions.

Health and Medical Benefits of Qigong

This section lists just a few of the benefits of Qigong. Also see RESEARCH and RESOURCES drop-down menus on the HOME page.

pubmed logoA Comprehensive Review of the Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. The first and most thorough review of the Qigong and Tai Chi research literature. [PubMed]

The Top 7 Reasons to Practice Qigong and Tai Chi.

National Qigong Association Research and Education Committee Updated Review of Qigong Research. 

Restore the Immune System with Qigong.

"Calming the mind and calming the body allows healing. Strengthening the muscles through simple postures and movements prevents falls. Moving with flow and gentle weight bearing helps balance and can positively impact bone density. Achieving a relaxed state of the mind reduces stress. These are some of the simple premises that underlie the health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi." Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong.

Harvard Medical School: Breath meditation: A great way to relieve stress. "One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to simply focus your attention on your breath. It's a form of "entry level" meditation that anyone can do. You'll notice an immediate sense of relaxation that could help protect your health over time. If you enjoy it, breath meditation can be a gateway to a broader practice of "mindfulness," in which you learn to accept and appreciate what comes in life and stop fighting your own thoughts and feelings. "Many people take up mindfulness practices thinking they'd like to relax more, but where it leads is a very different approach to life and its inevitable challenges," says Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.


Dr. Herbert Benson describes the myriad health benefits of mind-body practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi. Surgery and pharmaceuticals are unable to treat the vast majority of stress-related illness. Children should be taught these practices. They can dramatically reduce stress and healthcare costs.


mom hugging two kids

After years of living with the debilitating autoimmune disorder lupus, Jana Eshaghian discovered qi and healing through Qigong.


pubmed logoDeep Breathing Increases Heart Rate Variability in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systematic Lupus Erythematosus. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been associated with an impaired function of the autonomic nervous system and reduced vagus nerve (VN) tone measured through lower heart rate variability (HRV). This study found that HRV can be modulated via deep breathing in patients with RA and SLE. This is more evidence for how Qigong helps with autoimmune disorders via toning of the vagus nerve (as measured by HRV) through deep breathing.

pubmed logo Understanding Mind-Body Disciplines: A Pilot Study of Breathing and Dynamic Muscle Contraction on Autonomic Nervous System Reactivity. "Breathing combined with rhythmic muscle contraction led to greater activation of the parasympathetic response than either alternating contractions or breathing alone, which may help explain the stress reducing benefits of mind-body disciplines." Moving Qigong is more beneficial than sitting meditation or mindfulness alone.

What is the scientific evidence for Qigong?

pubmed logoDual-task training on cognition and resistance training improved both balance and working memory in older people. Dual-task interventions improved both balance performance and working memory, but more so if cognitive performance was specifically trained along with resistance training.” Qigong is a practice focused on enhancing both executive functions and balance performance simultaneously. Executive functions are coming online whenever we make choices, as in the choice about where and when and how to focus attention and in execution of movement. Focusing attention on internal bodily events (via interoception as it relates to physical systems) such as the vestibular system for balance, or systems involved in breath and movement, can potentially improve function as one consciously engages muscles in the learning of choreography and in increasing duration of practice through repetition.

Harvard Neuroscientist: Meditation Reduces Stress and Literally Changes Your BrainScientists assert that using proprioceptive input (generated during the practice of Qigong and Tai Chi) to ground your body is helpful when attempting to reach a meditative state

What Is Mindful Movement? First Global Data on a Growing, $29 Billion Wellness Segment

woman on yoga mat on grass

According to this article, Tai Chi and Qigong are practiced by 1.2% of the world's population. Article.

Your Strength Routine's Most Important 15 Minutes

woman athlete's abs

Although there are as many recovery techniques on the market as there are exercises, qigong (chee-gong) presents a unique and previously unexplored method to eliminate the negative effects of stress and give you a 25% increase in strength in 8 weeks. Read entire article. Full thesis: THE IMPACT OF SELF-PRACTICE QIGONG ON STRENGTH GAINS AND WELL-BEING DURING OFF-SEASON TRAINING FOR FALL SPORT ATHLETES.

Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi

"I am a physician. I attended Dartmouth Medical School. I trained as a pediatrician at Duke and then trained as a psychiatrist at Mass General Hospital....I do Qigong or Tai Chi every day. I think of it as medicine, too. Can I say for sure that it has worked for me? Not with a double blind study, but I do believe that my investigations have led me to a plan which has helped me and maybe could help you, too. At my last visit my rheumatologist told me that the Tai Chi and Qigong have probably helped my bone density stabilize at osteopenia. Let me tell you some of what I have learned through my experience.

Calming the mind and calming the body allows healing. Strengthening the muscles through simple postures and movements prevents falls. Moving with flow and gentle weight bearing helps balance and can positively impact bone density. Achieving a relaxed state of the mind reduces stress. These are some of the simple premises that underlie the health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi.MORE.

More Introductions to Qigong

Go with the Flow - Tai chi and qi gong are two gentle practices designed to keep your energy moving. The Qigong Institute is quoted in Energy Times magazine.

 "Tai Chi and Qigong will play an important role in global awakening" - Eckart Tolle, Oprah's Book Club


"Tai Chi, Qigong, Yoga will play an important part in the global awakening."
-- Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth (Oprah's Bookclub pick)


Daisy Lee interview about Qigong (chi kung) YMAA

Daisy Lee gives a short introduction to the essence of Qigong.

Mawangdui Daoyin Shu: Qigong from the Mawangdui Silk Paintings (Chinese Health Qigong). Daoyin exercises are a form of Qigong dating back to at least the early Han Dynasty. They are physical and breathing exercises done in various postures and movements. The most well known type of Daoyin Qigong is Mawangdui Daoyin Shu.

Qigong with Tom Rogers (video 36:37). Tom Rogers, President of the Qigong Institute, gives an interview describing what Qigong is, how it works, and what it does. He reviews some of the scientific studies validating its value. He also explains that Qigong is a moving meditation that pays attention to the breath. The emerging field of epigenetics emphasizes how we can change the expression of our DNA through lifestyle strategies. He also reviews the biological basis for life from the perspectives of energy medicine that includes light, electromagnetics, sound and biochemistry. Another interview can be found on blogtalkradio (audio 70:00).

Qigong for Older Adults


Feasibility and Acceptability of Qigong Exercise in Community-Dwelling Older Adults in the United States.

CONCLUSION: An 8-week qigong exercise program was feasible, acceptable, and safe for American older adults. PMID: 28708414

Ken Sancier portrait

"The science and art of Qigong may open a window into new thinking about health, medicine, psychology and spirituality. It is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that continuously supports our natural tendency toward homeostasis. Innate abilities have an opportunity to develop; the senses more keen, organ function more consistent and strong, the sympathetic nervous system relaxed, parasympathetic nervous system efficient, the mind relaxed, alert, clear, freely channeling messages in a multitude of new and diverse directions." Dr. Ken Sancier, Founder of the Qigong Institute.

37 Qigong Benefits for your Mental and Physical Health

With a regular practice, qigong benefits can be felt almost immediately. Pronounced “chee-gung”, qigong is an ancient form of Chinese yoga that cultivates “qi” (life energy) also known as chi and incorporates deep breathing and stretching. Chinese shamans, Taoists and Buddhist monks originally practiced qigong thousands of years ago as a way to seek peace and harmony with nature. More.

The article's description of the difference between Qigong and Tai Chi is not accurate. Qigong is the foundation of Tai Chi and there are many Qigong forms, just like Tai Chi, e.g. Wild Goose Qigong. Some real differences are that Tai Chi does not have qi transmission and self-massage, and Qigong does not have push hands. Other than that, good article. A more extensive discussion of the differences between Qigong and Tai Chi can be found on the What is Tai Chi page on the Qigong Institute website.

Energy Psychology

There are many different energy psychology techniques. Two of the more prominent approaches to this profound psychotherapy technique and healing modality include the use of Qigong and Acupoint Tapping. More...