What is Qìgōng?

Qìgōng Basics... simple understandings.
What is Qìgōng?
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In this article…

The definition of Qì Gōng.

The medicine & value of Qì Gōng.

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What is “Qìgōng?”

(Also known as Chì Gōng & Qì Gòng)

Qìgōng exercises are a health revitalizing practice that is an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Some of the first known Qìgōng exercises date back to before 300 B.C.. Qì has been observed and recorded for thousands of years, as seen in the Yi Jing (The book of Changes, 1122 B.C.) 

Qìgōng masters not only studied the natural patterns of nature, but also observed the natural movements of animals. 

Qìgōng exercises have also been taken from martial techniques.

Definition of “Qì Gōng?”

“Qì” (pronounced chee) = air, breath of life, or the vital energy that flows through all things in the universe. The word Qì is also used to express the state of something energetically whether it is alive or dead. The energy of qì can be electric, magnetic, heat, sound and light.

“Gōng” (pronounced gung, as in lung) = “The skill of working with, hard work or cultivating, self-discipline and achievement.”

“Qì Gōng” = “Having the skill to work with the electromagnetic energy of the body.”

Qigong, maria furlano

The Medicine of Qì Gōng

Medical Qìgōng is one of the 4 main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Branch 1. Medical Qìgōng Therapy:  Includes five main branches in its treatment.

1. Distance qì emission.

2. Self-regulation prescriptions.

3. Qìgōng Massage.

4. Healing Sound Therapy.

5. Invisible Needle Therapy.


Branch 2. Chinese Herbal Medicine:

Chinese herbal formulas taken internally as tea's, soups, tinctures, powders, and granules. For the external body used as a compress, liniment, oil, or balms. Food is considered and treated as medicine and nutritional education is essential in TCM for prevention and treatment of illness.


Branch 3. Bodywork:

Jie Gu Therapy: Translation is “knotted bone” and is used for bone setting.

Tui Na Therapy: Translation is “push and grasp” and is used for muscle and tendon tissue manipulation.

Gua Sha Therapy: Translation is: Gua =“to scrape or scratch.” Sha = “cholera” this refers to redness that appears on the skin after the scraping. 

An Mo Therapy: Translation is “press and rub” used mostly for internal visceral manipulation.

Jing Point Therapy: Original term for channel point therapy or Acupressure. Used to press, pinch, clap and tap specific points to stimulate specific channel flow.


Branch 4. Acupuncture:

Needling, auricular acupuncture, threading, bloodletting, cupping, and moxibustion, magnet therapy, electro-acupuncture.

The value of Qì Gōng

During our lifetime, our bodies experience disruptions in its electromagnetic energies. These disruptions result from experiencing a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, injuries, surgery, the suppression of emotions, and aging.


What is electromagnetic energy?

Defined as: "A form of energy that is reflected or emitted from objects in the form of electrical and magnetic waves that can travel through space." Forms of electromagnetic energy include: gamma rays, x rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, microwaves and radio waves. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/electromagnetic+energy)

Definition of electromagnetic field: "A field (as around a working computer or a transmitting high-voltage power line) that is made up of associated electric and magnetic components, that results from the motion of an electric charge, and that possesses a definite amount of electromagnetic energy." (http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/electromagnetic%20field)


The goal of Qìgōng is to purge (release), tonify (strengthen) and regulate (harmonize) bio-energetic imbalances and blockages in the body.   

Channel and organ flow:

Qìgōng exercises are movements, postures, breathing techniques and focused intention; which connect and move energy and blood flow through the Acupuncture meridian systems and connected organ systems, lymphatic system and circulatory systems of the body.

Lymphatic pump:

The twisting, breathing and stretching movements of these exercises promote the pumping of the lymphatic system, to help flush toxins in the body.

When practiced consistently,Qìgōng exercises can increase flexibility and joint mobilization, as well as deeply increase a state of relaxation. The gentle and fluid movements, combined with proper breathing can strengthen our immune system and help regulate PMS and menopausal transitions, ease digestive imbalances and improve sleeping patterns. Through correct practice this practice can calm our "fight and flight" responses to life, help regulate blood pressure, and overall stress management.

Practicing Qigong exercises is like giving yourself an Acupuncture treatment.

The movements in Qìgōng exercises distract the mind.

In seated meditation it is often difficult for someone to quiet what often sounds like SHOUTING thoughts.

Qìgōng movements engage the mind to focus on “the task” of the exercise.

As the mind is given a task (through gentle movements and breathing), it is able to relax and feel safe. At the same time the specific movements increase circulation of energy, blood and lymphatic flow.


Dynamic postures are practiced to train the channels, collateral's, muscles and bones externally.

Dynamic qìgōng is divided into slow, even, and graceful movements (yin approach), or intense physical movements (yang approach). When the dynamic movement is stopped, some of the energy will dissipate, while the remainder of energy will flow through the channels and increase energy circulation.


Yin method:  External quietness with internal energetic movement.

Yang method: Internal quietness with external physically active movement.


Quiescent postures are practiced to cultivate the shén (spirit). These postures include seated, standing or lying meditations and breathing techniques.


When imbalances are corrected, the body can strengthen and regulate its internal organs, nervous system and immune system with great efficiency. This will support pain relief, and the regulation of hormones. Management of stress is possible and emotional support is created.


Johnson, Jerry Alan. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Volume 1:  Energetic Anatomy and Physiology. California:  The International Institute of Medical Qigong, 2002.

Johnson, Jerry Alan. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Volume 2:  Energetic Alchemy, Dao Yin Therapy and Qi Deviations. California:  The International Institute of Medical Qigong, 2002.

Johnson, Jerry Alan. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Volume 3:  Differential Diagnosis, Clinical Foundations, Treatment Principles and Clinical Protocols. California:  The International Institute of Medical Qigong, 2002.

Johnson, Jerry Alan. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Volume 4:  Prescription Exercises and Meditations, Treatment of Internal Diseases, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Neurology and Energetic Psychology. California:  The International Institute of Medical Qigong, 2002.

Johnson, Jerry Alan. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Volume 5:  An Energetic Approach to Oncology. California:  The International Institute of Medical Qigong, 2002.

Shannon, Bernard. International College of Medical Qigong. "Types of Qigong." Sept. 8, 2012. May 18, 2014. http://www.medicalqigong.org.

Yang, Jwing-Ming. The Root of Chinese Qigong. 2nd ed. Massachusetts:  YMAA Publication Center, 1997.

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