What are the differences between martial, medical and health Qigong vs Taijichuan? In today’s episode you’ll learn in an easy and clear way what those differences are.

Qigong vs. Taijichuan?

Welcome! It’s great to have you here.

Breathing Break

00:38:  But first, let’s pause and take a moment please to access our breath, inhale through your nose nice and long, and if you can exhale nice and long out of your mouth, that would be wonderful. Let’s get present in our bodies and give ourselves a little bit of a mental relaxation.

Again, when you’re ready a nice full inhale through your nose…. And then an even longer exhale out your mouth.

Breathing is essential when you train in any type of soul, mind and body practice.

Our breath is a life force and gives us life energy to every cell in our body, so it moves our Qi. “Qi” again is energy. And different kinds of breathing methods go hand in hand in the practice of Qigong, Medical Qigong and Taijichuan. In episode #004, I shared a little bit about how Qigong and helped me with an injury and chronic pain that I experienced many years ago. And I also talked a little bit about the definition of Qigong. If you haven’t heard that episode, you might want to go and explore it (www.mariafurlano.com/004).

Qigong (health, martial & medical) vs Taijichuan

02:22:  Today I’d like to break down the major differences between health Qigong, medical Qiigong, Sports Qigong, which is also known officially as Martial Qigong and Taijichuan.

Tai Chi

So let’s begin with Tai Chi. I would say in my experience that many people are more familiar with Taijichuan than with Qigong, or they’ve seen it practiced more often in parks or on TV. And even though Taijichuan can have amazing, beautiful, slow, graceful flowing movements, Taijichuan was originally created as a martial art.

Taijichuan translates into the words supreme ultimate fist, or also commonly called supreme ultimate boxing.

The beautiful forms that are part of Taijichuan (either long forms, or short forms) are actually strikes and blocks and flowing leveraging techniques such as the style of push hands, which you may have heard of or even practiced.

Taijichuan is a martial system and it focuses on the dynamics between Yin and yang.

A form in any martial art is a practice of specific movements and they’re practiced as an imaginary fight against an opponent.

Taijichuan is a practice just like Qigong, in that it integrates breathing, balance and focused intention. It’s strengthening and it has relaxation techniques with each movement and is incredibly beneficial to health and mental emotional wellbeing.

But, Qigong is not a martial art.

This is the biggest difference between Taijichuan and Qigong practices.

For clarity let me explain…

04:19:  For easy clarity, let me explain a little about each version – Health Qigong and medical Qigong. Qi Gong philosophies and techniques are weaved within a Taijichuan practice, but Qi Gong was not created as a fighting art.

If you were to take a general well-being Qigong class, you would be taking a health Qigong class. The exercises breathing and the sets of movements that would be taught to you in a group would be geared towards a specific goal of general health and mental relaxation in the body, for everybody in the class.

If you were to work with a medical Qigong doctor, they would evaluate your specific condition and then prescribe specific exercises based in medical Qigong to move you towards your specific health and emotional wellbeing goals.

 A way that I always explain Qigong to people is…

If you were to go to a physical therapist for an injury, they would prescribe and teach you very specific exercises, maybe stretches, and even some treatments that you can do at home to apply to yourself, to heal your specific injury.

In medical Qigong, not only do Qigong doctors and therapists prescribe exercises to treat injuries and chronic pain, but also all kinds of health issues, such as recurrent or chronic illnesses, managing high stress lifestyles, digestive issues, all different kinds of physical disharmonies.

Medical Qigong is based in traditional Chinese medicine.

And when you work with a medical Qigong doctor, they will know how to diagnose your challenges first through traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis. And then instead of using acupuncture, unless of course they’re also an acupuncturist, they will prescribe you medical Qigong exercises that you’ll take home and practice.

And these exercises keep the energy moving through your body the same way an acupuncture treatment moves the energy in your body.

If the medical Qigong doctor is also skilled in medical Qigong therapy, which is an energetic treatment that helps clear and direct and actually rebalance the energy flow in the body in the same ways as an acupuncture treatment does (just not using needles). They may also perform a medical Qigong Therapy treatment on you.

When we practice Qigong exercises, the benefits are that it fully engages your breathing, focus and creates clarity in your mind. (episode #004 | What is Qigong?)

It pumps your lymphatic system and it stretches the Fascia of the body. But it also engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which again is the relax, digest and repair system of the body. And it moves the energy through the Meridian systems.

You actually target specific levels of healing in the body.

With medical Qigong exercises, you actually target specific levels of healing in the body. For example, when I’m treating someone who has a lung weakness, maybe they have always had weaker lungs or um, they have recently had a run with pneumonia or bronchitis or colds and flu, or someone who is actually going through loss and a grieving period in their lives…

Because the energy of the lungs (the emotional energy of the lungs) holds the “acquired emotions” of grief, sorrow, shame and guilt and the emotional energy in the lungs can also need to be released and supported. It’s very important to support and strengthen this part of their system, especially since the strength of the lung energy also influences our immunity protection.

So, as a medical Qigong doctor, we would use specific medical Qigong exercises for releasing what needs to be released in the lungs – such as phlegm (if there’s phlegm present from an illness).

Or, if there’s emotional energy present such as someone dealing with loss, or grief we would move into specific regulating and strengthening exercises to enhance the energy of the body.

Western Medicine treatments vs Chinese Medicine treatments

Chinese medicine is very different from western treatments in supporting health. For example, instead of only giving something to release the phlegm, for example, or to subdue the emotional feelings of sadness, we know in Chinese medicine that we have to follow up with the next phase of regulating the energy and strengthening the energy in these areas of a person’s health.

Otherwise, what will most likely happen is that the very next season the lung issues will repeat themselves because instead of clearing the issue, you end up suppressing the energy of the issue and condition.

And I’m using lung issues as an example today, but this can be any disharmony in the body, digestive disorders, headaches, pain, fatigue, stress, whatever’s out of balance in the body.

Martial Qigong (sometimes called Sports Qigong)

10:07:  In the final category for today, there is Martial Qigong and martial is sometimes today in the modern world, called Sports Qigong. And this is a kind of Qigong that’s extremely dynamic and it’s used to increase physical strength and stamina in the body’s organs, the muscles, the tendons and the ligaments. And to practice martial Qigong, you really need to be in good health first.

So Qi Gong in all of its forms is not all slow moving and neither is Taijichuan. There are a variety of movements and exercises that range from slow to quick, easy and relaxed to challenging with high intensity of strength building. And breathing, of course, is not always slow. There’s a variety of breathing methods that are used for different purposes, whether you’re releasing energy in the body, whether you’re regulating energy in the body, whether you’re strengthening energy of the body.

~ Recap of today’s information ~


Let me give you a brief recap of what we’ve talked about today, a simple glimpse into the world of Chinese energetic arts and medicine.

First we have the beautiful Martial art of Taijichuan, which translates as supreme ultimate boxing or supreme ultimate fist. And it was originally a fighting art, but it’s also used as a tremendous healing self-practice. It has a series of movements that flow into the next to create longer and shorter style forms and Qi Gong techniques and understandings. They’re all used in the forms of Taijichuan.

Some of the health benefits of Taijichuan are greater balance, stretch, and opening of the Meridians. It also moves, of course the lymphatic flow in the body. It helps with mental focus and of course a real emotional balance and peace and wellbeing in the body.

Then we moved to Qi Gong. Qi Gong translates to mean energy skill and it’s a healing art form, not a martial art that also focuses on cultivating the internal energy of the body

Health Qigong is for general wellbeing and Medical Qigong is used for specific diagnosed conditions and it treats with prescribed medical Qigong exercises.

Those specifically targeted movements will clear, regulate and strengthen organ systems and enhance the energetic flow in the Meridians.

Like Taijichuan, Qigong exercises work with the lymphatic system and engages the fascial system.

Qigong exercises stretch and moves the blood, while relaxing the nervous system so that the immunity of the body can be enhanced.

And then finally Martial (or sports Qi Gong) is using a dynamic form of Qi Gong training that’s used to enhance the needs and the demands of martial artists and athletes.

As I mentioned in episode #004 (What is Qigong?), when focusing the mind on the movements of Qigong (and this also includes Taijichuan) those movementsdistract the mind and you create a moving meditation that brings you into a state of complete internal presence.

Soul, Mind & Body

This kind of presence is a true integration of soul, mind, and body, Beyond the physical health benefits, it is just so supportive to enhance mental and emotional peace within those that practice.

I hope this was helpful and insightful for you today.

Thank you for being here, for being everything you are and for tuning in with me today.

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