For general information, questions, submission of educational material, changes to Teacher Directory entries, etc.:
What is Qigong?
The word Qigong (pronounced "chee gong") is a combination
of two ideas: "Qi" means air, breath of life, or vital energy
of the body, and "gong" means the self-discipline skill of working,
cultivating, and balancing Qi. The art of Qigong consists primarily of
the use of intention, meditation, relaxation, physical movement or posture,
mind-body integration, and breathing exercises. Practitioners of Qigong
develop an awareness of qi sensations (energy) in their body and use their
mind to guide the Qi for improving their health, all of which can easily
be learned by almost anyone. Medical Qigong has been extensively studied
scientifically more than any other alternative therapy and it has been
shown to be a cost-effective therapy. Ultimately, Qigong is not about
pursuit of excellence in form; rather, it involves experience through
Although the term "Qigong" was coined around 1948, Qigong
is a self-initiated health practice that has its roots in pre-historic
China. Ancient dao yin, nei gong, and yangsheng practices combined with other Taoist
exercises to form the basis of Qigong. Qigong is a pre-cursor to but considered
part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with herbal medicine, acupuncture,
and acupressure. Qigong can be considered acupuncture without the needles
because both practices involve manipulation and balancing of the body's
energy. Qigong differs from acupuncture in that Qigong additionally includes
cultivation and balancing over time of the body's energy through
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seventy percent
of diseases are preventable, yet most people have no idea of how to do
this. Being truly well requires much more than workouts at the gym or
western-style aerobic sports. While most exercises focus on building muscles
or endurance, Qigong focuses on the body as a whole and involves the regulation and regeneration of the cardiovascular/circulatory, lymphatic, digestive, and nervous systems as well as the body's internal organs. Slow, graceful movements combined with mental
concentration and relaxed breathing are used to increase and balance a
person's vital energy or life force (qi). When mind intent and breathing
technique is added to physical movement, the benefits of exercise increase
There are thousands of Qigong systems. Medical and spiritual components
such as clearing the mind to reduce stress and increasing focus are built-in
to all forms and styles of Qigong. Literally millions of people practice
Qigong in China and around the world each. It gives people a practical
way to take more responsibility for their own health care, especially
for disease prevention and wellness. Qigong is not just a physical exercise
system or a healing technique; it is a way of being.
Beyond its medical capabilities for disease prevention and chronic illness,
Qigong is a superb way to achieve spiritual awareness. It has a long history
of cross-fertilization with the fascinating Chinese philosophy of Taoism.
This heritage is responsible for Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Zen Buddhism, and the
modern Chinese blend of Taoism and Buddhism. The beauty of pursuing spirituality
through Qigong is that you get the medical benefits for free as part of
the practice. A good place to start with spiritual Qigong (which can deepen
anyone’s spiritual awareness, regardless of their religion) is getting
a good solid grounding in Qigong by reading:
Cohen, Ken. The Way of Qigong. Ballantine Books. New York. 1997.
Cohen's book and others may be found in the section on Qigong and Energy Medicine Books.
Also consider the books on Qigong and Taoism by John Cleary, books from
the masters and teachers listed in the Qigong Institute Teacher Directory, and the Qigong Institute's information on Spiritual Qigong.
To get more acquainted with the spiritual and philosophical aspects of
Qigong and the modern adaptation of Taoism to western life, check out
the quarterly publication The Empty Vessel (see www.abodetao.com).
What is the Mission of the Qigong Institute?
The Qigong Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated
to promoting Qigong to improve health and healing by programs of research
and education. The Institute's website contains scientific reports published
in peer review journals by it's members. The Institute supports
research efforts including: experimental studies; development of the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™, which contains over 4000 abstracts
in English of scientific studies of Energy Medicine (the majority of which
involves Qigong); cooperation between Chinese and American researchers
in clinical studies; providing an opportunity for graduate students to
publish their findings in Qigong research; and sponsoring classes and
lectures series in Qigong. The educational component of the Qigong Institute
includes sponsoring classes; co-sponsoring events
to raise the awareness of Qigong, such as World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. The Qigong Institute website provides lists of Qigong teachers & practitioners,
copies of scientific studies by Qigong Institute staff, the sale of video tapes of lectures given by professionals on various aspects of Qigong,
popular media articles on Qigong, and reports of current events and what's new on Qigong published in the press. The QI
website also has a Related Links page which serves as a gateway to worldwide
The Qigong Institute also takes part in meetings and conferences to support
efforts to help integrate Qigong and Tai Chi into chronic illness management
and preventative healthcare programs, especially for the elderly. These
efforts include participation with the Coalition for Living Well After
50, the American College of Sports Medicine, the Active Aging Partnership,
the National Council on the Aging, Oregon Research Institute, UC Irvine,
the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Integral Qigong and
Tai Chi, and World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, the Department of Kinesiology
at the University of Illinois, and others.
I have recently become aware of Qigong and Taiji (what is the difference between "Taiji" and "Tai Chi?") and feel that this practice
is just what I need now. I would like to learn about the different styles
and what would be best for me. I am seeking mind, body, spirit connection
as well as physical healing, deep inner peace, finding Qi and using it,
increased strength and abilities, and deep, deep relaxation. Do you have
any recommendations for me?
If possible, find a competent Qigong instructor with whom you can discuss
your objectives. For some possibilities, please visit the Teachers' Registry of the Qigong Institute, the National Qigong Association, World Tai Chi and Qigong Day,
and the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi.
Read books on the subject: authors whom you might want to search for
including Kenneth Cohen, Francesco Garripoli, and Roger Jahnke. These
authors (as well as the instructors in the Qigong Institute Teacher Directory) also
have Qigong videos, DVDs, and books available and they give seminars and retreats.
Attend Qigong conferences. The NQA (National Qigong Association) sponsors
such conferences, as does the East West Academy of Healing Arts. Show me some Qigong videos. Show me some Qigong DVDs.
I hurt my back a few years ago and am the primary
care giver for a child who cannot take care of himself. I don't
drink alcohol or smoke. My doctor suggests that I'm stressed and
could use some relaxation techniques.
See previous answer. Also, understand that Qigong is something that you
can be doing throughout your day to get the most benefit. How do you do
this? It's as simple as making three adjustments: adjust your posture, adjust your breath, and adjust your mind. A good time to do this is when
you would otherwise be wasting time or becoming stressed through anticipation,
such as waiting at a traffic light, standing in line, or worrying. You
can be doing Qigong all the time. It then becomes an integrated part of
your life instead of a "practice" that you have to set aside
time to "do." The minutes that you remember to do this during
the day add up. Also, you can carry through the calm achieved during your
regular practice to the other parts of your day.
Adjusting your posture involves a few easy steps: pretend that your head
is suspended by a string, like a marionette, so that your spine is straight;
tilt your pelvic bowl slightly forward so that the "fruit"
(your internal organs) does not spill out; pull your shoulders slightly
back and down; feet are shoulder-width apart; eyes looking forward; and
the chin is slightly tucked. In this posture, you could draw a straight
line from the middle of the top of your head, down through your perineum
to the balls of your feet. Another way to approximate this pose is stand
upright with your back straight against a wall, doing all the posture
adjustments described earlier. Then slowly move out from the wall without
changing your vertical alignment, until your back is no longer in contact
with the wall. Then do a standing meditation or some other Qigong form.
This will give you a kinesthetic grounding that you can use to adjust
your posture during the day when you aren't doing Qigong.
The posture adjustment is the easiest adjustment to do and remember.
It can provide an enormous benefit when your body energy is allowed to
flow unobstructed by, for example, slumped shoulders or a sunken chest.
Slow, deep relaxed breathing, where your abdomen fills up first and then
your chest when you inhale, constitutes adjusting your breathing. Try
to remember to do this type of breathing whenever you can. You may figure
out ways to remind yourself to do this, like at every stop sign, when
you do the dishes, watch TV, etc.
There are many different names and phrases for "adjusting your
mind", such as stress reduction breathing, meditation, mindfulness
meditation, clearing your mind by eliminating thoughts, etc. The three
adjustments get you into the Qigong state where relaxation and healing
occur. Note that your brain and nervous system are engaged during dreaming,
since the brain doesn't know the difference between what it experiences
in real-time and imagines. It may well be that the only true relaxation
time that many people can get is during meditation when the nervous system
is in the parasympathetic, relaxation, and regeneration state.
What is the difference between Qigong, Tai Chi, and Kung Fu?
Tai Chi (also spelled/referred to as Taiji, Taijiquan, and Tai Chi Chuan)
and Kung Fu (also called Gong Fu, and more recently WuShu) are both martial
arts forms of Qigong. Tai Chi is a soft, or internal martial art whereas
is Kung Fu considered a hard, or external, martial art form of Qigong.
Qigong provides the foundational power, strength, focus, discipline, etc.
for all of these martial arts practices (regardless of whether they are "hard" or "soft") through manipulation and balancing of
the body's energy. Tai Chi started as a health practice and was
so effective in developing internal power that it was adapted by some
into the martial art Tai Chi Chuan. Now Tai Chi is once again becoming
primarily a way for people, especially older adults, to take responsibility
for their own health care. The health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi are
legion. The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ contains over
4000 Energy Medicine references, the majority of which involve Qigong.
A particularly good summary of the benefits of Tai Chi can be found in:
Li, J X; Y Hong; K M Chan. Tai chi: physiological characteristics and
beneficial effects on health. British Journal of Sports Medicine, June
2001 v35 i3 p148.
Also see Tai Chi for Health for more information on Tai Chi, the health benefits of Tai Chi, and additional differences between Qigong and Tai Chi.
Perhaps a more philosophical way to characterize the key differences
between martial art Qigong and Qigong for health and spirituality comes
from Roger Jahnke, OMD:
When you cultivate balance and harmony within yourself, or in
the world -- that is Tai Chi. When you work and play with the essence
and energy of life, nature and the universe for healing, clarity and
inner peace -- that is Qigong.
What is the difference between Yoga and Qigong?
Unlike Qigong, most yoga (with the notable exception of Vinyasa Flow) involves very little, if any, movement. It is
movement, and not just deeper breaths, that normally increases the amount
of oxygen to the tissues. No amount of deep breathing will produce more
oxygen to the system when the blood is already oxygen saturated. Movement
is required. Movement is also key to balance and excellent health. There's
the story of Bodhidharma who came from India to China around 500 CE and
settled in with the monks at the Shaolin Temple, who were extremely adept
at meditative techniques. However, they were not physically fit. Bodhidharma's
moving Qigong practices turned the monks into lean, mean, Kung Fu fighting
and meditating machines.
Yoga is based on asanas, which are essentially static poses held for
varying periods of time. Although the founder of yoga (Patanjali) describes
a progression from asanas to pranayama (breath practice), breathing isn't
built-in to a lot of yoga classes or instruction, or it isn't taught
until some skill with asanas is achieved. Another way of saying this is
that breathing is incorporated into yoga practice at different times,
depending upon the particular style of yoga and the teaching style of
the yoga instructor. By following some styles, it can take years before
breathing becomes part of the practice.
By contrast, breathing is key to Qigong from the start. Furthermore,
yoga is harder to do than Qigong, especially for older adults, and yoga
does not have practices that involve energy transmission. On the other
hand, both can ultimately lead to similar higher levels of spiritual awareness.
In terms of public perception, Qigong is where yoga was twenty years ago. Also see Qigong and Yoga.
Is a more complex type of Qigong better than a simple one?
The simple answer is no. We'll say over and over that there are
many different styles of Qigong. There is no single best way to do Qigong.
Some people like a single motion or stance as their entire practice. Others
may want to do a type of Qigong for a particular ailment, condition, or
for prevention of illness, and the complexity of the practice may vary
accordingly. One of the most popular types of Qigong, especially for martial
arts, is zhan zhuang ("jan jong"). This is also known as "stake
standing". The practitioner stands motionless in a particular posture
to develop internal strength. Others like a variety of Qigong forms, with
different amounts of movement. Some even like Qigong forms (such as Wild
Goose, or Dayan) that are similar to Tai Chi forms in that they are long
forms with many individual movements that may take from a few minutes
to forty-five minutes to complete once.
Ultimately, find a form or type of Qigong that you like. If you eventually
get tired of it, try a different type of Qigong. If you are very fortunate,
you can find a good teacher in your area that can help you with your practice
and show you new forms and how to more effectively do the Qigong that
you have chosen. Also note that there some Qigong masters who argue that
your body knows best -- so just do any general Qigong practice with proper
intent and your body will do the right thing.
How can I find a teacher in my area? How do I know how good a teacher is?
Start with the Teacher Directory on the Qigong Institute website. If
you don't find what you want there, try the Teacher Directories
on one of the following sites: the National Qigong Association, the
Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi, and the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.
Be wary of teachers who want more money to show you each new level of
Qigong, teachers whose Qigong practice consists trying to impress you
through seemingly incredible physical feats, and those who claim that
you are getting the benefits of Qigong from them, and not directly from
your practice. Beyond that, some evaluation will be required on your part.
You have to see whether you like the teacher's teaching style or
resonate with their type of Qigong or Tai Chi. There's no problem
with trying a number of teachers. Each of us is different, so a teacher
who would appeal to one student might not appeal to another. There's
a lot of subjectivity/personal preference involved in the selection.
Perhaps the best advice, especially when you are starting out, is try
to get references from people you know and whose opinions you trust, and/or
just try a bunch of different teachers. Eventually you'll find what
you are seeking. Try taking a few seminars from the teachers
you can find in the Teachers Directory. This is an excellent way to get
acquainted with quality Qigong practice. More considerations on teachers can be found in Qigong Teachers - Masters or Chinese Knock-offs? Finding a Qualified Qigong Instructor.
Since there are so many types of Qigong to choose from, how will I know which one is right for me?
Doing Qigong is a way to strongly support your own fundamental health
and invest in your future health, healing, and happiness. It is important,
however, that you understand there is a bit of a 'period of exploration
and discovery' involved. One often needs to be exposed to several different
teachers and styles before one finds the most appropriate one for his/her
particular needs. In addition, it is important to be clear about exactly
what is your goal in practicing Qigong. Try to find a style or practice
that helps you to meet that goal. Different practices have different effects.
Make sure you are choosing a style that will support you toward your desired
outcome. For example, some Qigong forms have the specific quality of developing
specific sensory ability such as vision or olfactory. Others will focus
on calming the nervous system and relieving anxiety. Yet others will develop
one's stamina or mental acuity. Still others support immune function or
digestive function, etc. Experiment, practice, and enjoy different types
of Qigong as you create and refine your own Qigong practice. Ultimately, the Qigong practice that keeps you doing your practice is the one that is right, at least to start with. You may develop a base set of favorite Qigong forms and then add new forms and movements as you deepen your practice.
I would like to learn Qigong. How much does it cost to attend your classes?
The Qigong Institute does not teach classes. Current information about qigong conferences and special events is listed in What's New.
You can also check for teachers and classes in your own area (see
the Qigong Institute Teacher Directory).
Can I learn Taiji or Qigong just from books or videos?
There are many excellent books on Qigong. You can learn how to do a non-moving
form of Qigong from a book. Although you can learn some motion-oriented
Qigong practices from books, it is best to study a video or DVD. If you
already know Taiji or Qigong, then it is much easier to pick up a new
Taiji or Qigong form from a video/DVD because you understand the basics
of energy cultivation. Still, some subtleties of particular forms will
elude you, and they really require some sessions with a master. It's
the old 80-20 rule: You can get eighty percent of the form from the video/DVD,
but the rest you really need to get from the master/teacher. However,
the 80-20 rule doesn't hold as well for someone with no experience.
Also, only remarkable individuals or those who have had lots of previous
Taiji experience will be able to truly master a Tai Chi form from a video.
Don't let any cautions stop you: You can always learn enough from
a video or DVD (show me some Qigong DVDs) to benefit your health and spirit. However, there are many
layers and subtleties to many forms of Qigong and Tai Chi. Understanding
how energy flows and how to kinesthetically make that happen often requires
time spent with a Master or teacher. Tai Chi or Qigong forms (as opposed to individual
movements that are repeated some number of times) are best learned from
an expert (e.g. a master or a teacher). You can also check out Qigong and Energy Medicine Books and Qigong Study Materials.
When is the best time to practice? How often should I practice?
Traditionally, most people do it in the morning. This is when the Qi
is "best", the complexities in your daily life have not started
to happen yet, and air pollution is normally at a low point for the day.
Practices may last a few minutes, ten minutes, or an hour. Practice when
it feels right to you and for as long as it feels right (although more
than an hour at any one time is considered a lot). This answer is ambiguous
and subjective. But that's the nature of doing the practice. Some
times will feel better than others, and you should feel free to practice
whenever you want. There may be some suggested guidelines depending upon
the type of Qigong form that you are doing. Ultimately, it is best to
incorporate Qigong practice into your life and do it all time. To do this, just Stop, Breathe, Relax.
You can see that there are many different recommendations on when to practice and how to practice. Don't
practice because you feel you have to practice. If you do, Qigong will
become something that you feel compelled to do, just like any other exercise,
and not something that you are. Millions do it in China, and practically
all of them do it in the morning. This is the traditional time to do it.
It may have as much to do with convenience as anything else.
Is it OK to mix different Qigong systems? Is it true that people should find one type of Qigong they enjoy doing, and NOT mix it with another form of Qigong?
It's fun to do different stuff -- this is a good way to prevent
practices from becoming boring. Eventually you might want to specialize
in a particular Qigong or you will potentially settle in upon a certain
set of practices. These may change over time as you become more experienced
with Qigong. You can also practice different Qigong forms at different
times of the day. For example, you may do your Tai Chi in the morning
and Qigong in the early evening before dinner.
Is the Kong Jing or Empty force no contact pushing for real?
We'd have to see this and experience it for ourselves to believe
that it is possible. Many such claims by presumed "Qigong Masters"
turn out to be stage tricks done on a gullible population. It usually
involves a subject who is in on the trick.
What is the best Qigong for my specific illness?
There are several schools of thought here. One is that you
should just do your Qigong practice and let your body do its natural
healing thing (i.e. you activate the "healer within") because
it's smarter than you are and knows what it needs. The other is
that you should do specific practices for specific problems. If the problems
are chronic or severe, it is best to seek advice from a qualified Medical
Qigong Therapist or doctor (OMD, or Doctor of Oriental Medicine).
Can Taiji or Qigong help me to lose weight?
Any practice that involves controlling appetite through mind control
or physical practices has the potential to help with weight loss.
Where can I go to get certified as a medical Qigong doctor?
Check on the web. There are numerous programs in the US and many more
in China. Some examples are the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine,
the International Institute of Medical Qigong, the Oregon College of Oriental
Medicine, and the University of East-West Medicine. For more information see Integrative Medicine and Medical Qigong Therapy.
How do I know when to believe over-the-top hype claims of a Qigong master?
The main thing to watch out for is people who charge more money for revealing
each new Qigong practice. Worse is those who claim that any benefit you
derive from your practice comes from them. It doesn't. The benefit
of Qigong practice comes from you. Since Qigong
Masters are not licensed in the USA, it's a little bit difficult
to know whether they are in fact medically competent. Note that people
cannot practice medicine without a license, yet the constitution of the
US says that people can speak their minds (and teach whatever they want, as long as they aren't "practicing medicine without a license"). Also, the problems with Western
medicine are huge (see Qigong - Energy Medicine for the New Millennium,
available on the QI website's Scientific Papers page), and more
and more people are turning to CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
for solutions for their health problems.
There are many grades of certification and expertise of practitioners of alternative (to standard western) medicine. An OMD (Oriental Medical Doctor) or Medical
Qigong Therapist should be able to produce documentation of their certification
as trained medical practitioners. They are certified to give medical advice
and treatments in a clinical setting. Qigong/Tai Chi teachers can also
be certified to teach Qigong and Tai Chi. There are two main ways this
will occur. One is where you get a certification based on a number of
hours of study, like 200. This is the common requirement for yoga instructors,
for instance. For an example of how to obtain Qigong and Tai Chi Teacher certification see the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi. People also get certification from a lineage holder in a
Tai Chi or Qigong form who certifies that the teacher is qualified. Beyond
that, you have people who teach Qigong classes and are "Qigong Masters"
who may or may not have any of the above qualifications/certifications.
Some judgment on your part may be required as to their real expertise.
Find a teacher/master you can learn from and who gets you excited about
your practice. That is always a good way to start. Also, realize that some of the best teachers of what you are interested in learning are not "masters" and do not call themselves masters.
Can people send me Qi or heal me from a distance?
Some Qigong masters claim this skill. Some people claim to have been
healed this way. There are many reports of remote intention (such as prayer)
helping people. There is also much evidence of people being helped simply
by knowing that others are sending their thoughts, love, and good energy.
This is part of the placebo effect, which is quite real and is becoming
a subfield of study in neuroscience. A popular press article can be found
in Parade magazine: Why Prayer Could Be Good Medicine, Diane
Hales, March 23, 2003: 4:5. For more scientific information on placebos,
start with "Pain and the Placebo - what we have learned",
Hoffman, Harrington, and Fields, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine,
volume 48, no 2 (spring 2005): 248-65. John Hopkins University Press.
Also, an entirely new field of medicine has been created in the last
twenty five years to address the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and
health: psychoneuroimmunolgy. This field studies the n-way interrelationship
between the nervous system, immune system, and psychological states. A
fascinating background book (and a great read, especially for non-scientists) on this topic is
Pert, C. The Molecules of Emotions. Why You Feel the Way You Feel. Scribner.
New York. 1997.
Even more recently, psychoneuroimmunology has been expanded to include endocrinology
and it goes by the name psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology.
As far as how remote intention would work if someone doesn't know
that they are being thought of or prayed for, this is currently being researched mainly
in the realm of physics, and such topics as particle entanglement, quantum
field theory, subtle energy, and stochastic electrodynamics.
That there is Qi (or vital energy) and a person's Qi can be affected by someone else is not a question. We've had too many first-hand experiences to feel or believe otherwise. But the Qi is either circulated or transmitted from very short distances, on the order of inches or less. To find out what science has to say about Qi, see The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine.
How important is it to properly close before ending a Qigong practice?
Openings and closings done to honor the practice are not essential to
the practice, but they are nice to do. Closing by smoothing your energy
or storing energy is part of many forms of Qigong. It really depends upon
the particular form. Try different practices and let your own body guide
you in developing your own routine. Also, a nice way to end any Qigong
session is with a short self-massage.
Can Qigong cause side effects?
In general, absolutely not. Side effects would be an exception for a
very small minority of people. Some people claim that Energy Medicine
practices like Qigong can cause side effects. We've had an OMD (Oriental
Medical Doctor) tell us that the only people who could possibly experience
this would be people who already had psychological disorders before practicing
Qigong. And even with these people the chance of a problem is incredibly
remote. Others point out that there are some more advanced practices that
can potentially lead to problems, such as obscure male sexual abstinence
For more information on the side effects issue, there is an excellent
section on it in A Criticism of Qigong with Pseudoscience Method by the
Qigong Institute's Director of Research, Kevin Chen, available on the QI website
in the Scientific Papers section.
If you have any questions or concerns at all about this, seek qualified
medical advice. There are psychologists trained in Qigong. You can watch a short trailer for Psychotherapy and Qigong by Dr. Michael Mayer.
Can machines give me Qi or enhance my Qi?
A person's Qi is normally affected by practicing Qigong. However,
a few companies have created Qi machines to mimic at least the acoustic
portion of Qigong energy, and they are being used extensively for medical therapy.
These machines are for real, they were developed based on original research
done in China, and they can provide help to some people. Qigong machines
are best found via the web (google "qi machine" for more information).
Thousands have been sold, and many people have found them useful. Note: not all "Qi machines" are created equal. If you really want one, do your homework on who produced it and know whose technology it's based on.
How many different kinds of Qigong are there?
There are thousands -- maybe tens of thousands.
Are there any ways to help concentration or focus?
Any Qigong practice done sincerely should help with both concentration
Should I practice Qigong when I am running a fever or really sick?
The simple answer is no, and we aren't qualified to give general
advice for particular medical problems. Check with a qualified Medical
Qigong Therapist or Medical Doctor.
What does the flow of Qi feel like?
It feels different for different people. Some report tingling, puffiness
or swelling (as in the hands), hot flushes, or heat. Others may feel like
there is invisible force acting on them (especially when the palms are
held facing each other in the form of an imaginary ball). However, many
people, even those who have been practicing for years, may feel nothing.
This is perfectly ok. They can still be getting the benefits of Qigong
but just not feel it. If people do not "feel the Qi" and start
worrying about not feeling it, they separate themselves from the practice,
and this is to be avoided. That being said, there will be some cases where
there are actual blockages that have to be removed by practice or with
the help of a master or therapist before someone can feel the Qi. These
blockages are often associated with conditions such as injuries or pain
or musculoskeletal misalignments.
Does the Master's energy really have an affect on me?
Having had a lot of first-hand experience, we'd have to say the
answer is yes, you can definitely feel the effects of someone "transmitting
energy to you" or "working with you energetically".
The mechanism for how this works is still being debated and researched,
but the fact that something is happening energetically, can be perceived
by the senses, and can be measured scientifically is not. Just a few of
the questions associated with this are: Where does the energy come from?
What exactly is the energy? Is the Master opening blocked energy pathways
in the patient or is energy being transmitted? Is the Master inducing
energy flow in the patient? Is the energy coming from the Master, or is the Master merely channelling energy from the environment through the patient? Note that you don't have to be a "Master" to have the experience of being able to induce Qi flow. You can learn some basic techniques in a relatively short period of time.
Where can I find scientific information about Qi and Qigong? Is Qi electromagnetic or does Qi have frequency or wavelength? What is Qi and can it be measured or seen?
Glad you asked. The Chinese love to discuss the question: What is Qi?
Frankly, no one knows what Qi is because 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
(some other examples are yoga, pranic healing, therapeutic touch, reiki),
although there is also a lot of recent research becoming available on
the effectiveness of acupuncture. The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ contains over to 4000 references to articles and research studies on
Energy Medicine, of which Qigong is the major part. A good survey article
(be sure to check out the References section) can be found on the Qigong
Institute website Scientific Papers page: Qigong – Energy Medicine
for the New Millennium by QI Vice President, Tom Rogers. A great book
to start with is Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis ( Oschman, James L.). Elsevier Science
Limited. China. 2003.
One of many organizations dedicated to Energy Medicine research is the
International Alliance for Mind-Body Signaling and Energy Research. Members
include UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UCLA in the US and Shanghai University
of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kunming Medical College, and others,
in China. The US Government';s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) sponsors research as well. There are
many, many other organizations and individuals. The research runs the
spectrum from bioenergetics to quantum physics to neuroscience and more.
The Samueli institute as well as the US Government's National Center
for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) also research Energy
Medicine. To date, acupuncture has received the most
research attention. Also see The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine.
To which public health problems can Qigong make important contributions and have the biggest impact?
Qigong is not just a simple therapy for some diseases, but a complete
recovery health system that can treat multiple chronic conditions at the
same time. It is the most cost-effective healthcare method among alternative
therapies. Self-initiated Qigong has unique value because it enables practitioners
to take responsibility for their own health. Research on the clinical
applications of Qigong surpasses any other Energy Medicine therapy.
On-going studies of Qigong address some of society's main concerns,
1. Health and longevity (e.g., stress, high blood pressure)
2. Performance of students in schools
3. Outcomes in hospital and clinical settings
4. Productivity in office environments
5. Outcome for prisoners
6. Multiple chronic conditions (hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, lower
back pain, degenerated disk disease, etc.)
7. Addiction treatment outcomes
8. Complementary therapy in cancer treatment without side effects
9. Anti-aging (e.g. slowing cognitive dysfunction)
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seventy percent
of disease is preventable yet most people don't know how to do this.
In fact, the DHHS report lists a number of recommendations, such as elimination
of smoking, regular exercise, and proper diet. These can certainly help,
however, the largest impact upon the delivery of health care in this century
can be made by the adoption of Qigong's self-initiated health maintenance
practices. Tens of millions of people practice Qigong every day in China.
A large portion of the research done on Qigong has involved Tai Chi, the most popular and well-known
moving form of Qigong. Besides aiding prevention of disease, Qigong and
Tai Chi have been proven to be effective with chronic conditions and rehabilitation,
stress reduction, increasing immunity, reducing muscular system tension,
lowering blood pressure, easing arthritis, improving balance and flexibility,
improving mental well-being, improving cardio-respiratory and musculo-skeletal
function, reducing the risk of falls in seniors, and building strength.
In addition, large strides have been made researching and proving the
benefits of the most well known form of Energy Medicine, acupuncture,
yet most acupuncture research is done on particular illnesses or to provide
targeted treatments. In order to have the greatest impact, people must
be able to carry out their own self-initiated health care. Having research
that proves the effectiveness of energy-based therapies would provide
enormous health benefits.
Do you have video tapes/DVDs?
There are a number of good DVDs available for Qigong, especially
for beginners. We suggest you start with those that are offered by the
teachers and masters listed in the Qigong Institute's Teacher Directory.
A few of the DVDs that can be found this way are all of the DVDs by Francesco
Garripoli (see www.kahunavalley.org)
and Qigong Chi Kung - Awakening and Mastering the Medicine Within
by Roger Jahnke (see www.feeltheqi.com).
Beginners' videos/DVDs often only involve only upper body movement.
Or if the feet are involved, they are basically stationary with the exception
of a little vertical motion. After you are comfortable with the most basic
types of Qigong, try some Qigong/Tai Chi practices that involve moving
the whole body. A good place to start would be first video/DVD in the
sequence of Paul Lam's excellent Tai Chi for Arthritis series.
The Qigong Institute sells a few DVDs of Qigong lectures/seminars. Also check out the Qigong Study Materials.
Is Qigong anything like Chi Lel?
There are numerous forms of Qigong; Chi Lel is one of them. It is a very
good Qigong practice, and many people love it. However, it is a little
more advanced (i.e. it’s a bit harder to learn) than many other
types of Qigong and it is more energetic to practice. Unless you have
someone locally to teach you, it would be best to start with an easier
type of Qigong.
I would like to ask you to put up a link to our
Qigong website, which is full of scientific explanation for the mechanisms
of Qigong Healing. Our Qigong Master has decades of training and has worked
in numerous Chinese Hospitals using Qigong medically. We also host Qigong
workshops in a number of states.
We suggest that your Master consider applying for a listing on our Qigong Directory of Teachers/therapists listing. A free listing includes name,
address, phone & Email, and principle activity. Many people prefer
the Personal Access Page (PAP) in which you can include details of your
practice as well as well as a link to your website; the PAP requires that
the individual become a member of the Qigong Institute for a $40 annual
I am taking time off from my college to learn
from many Qigong videos while reading about these healing arts, as well.
I was wondering if you/someone could make any suggestions as to who/what/where
See previous answers concerning teachers, DVDs, and research information
that is available. Also, we would highly recommend that you take some
seminars from teachers listed in the Teachers Directory. This is the quickest
way to get up to speed on Qigong and help you figure out where to go next
in your studies.
What is reverse breathing?
The main forms of breathing are natural, abdominal, and reverse abdominal.
Natural is the every-day breathing that most of us do, which normally
involves filling the chest with air first and then some of the abdomen.
Full abdominal breathing is used with Qigong. On inhale, your abdomen
fully expands first, then your chest. Babies breathe this way, so we all
knew how to do it the right way at one point in our lives. Reverse abdominal
breathing is a more advanced form of breathing where your abdomen contracts
on inhale. This form of breathing is not recommended without the guidance
of a Qigong teacher or master. For more information on breathing, see the Empty Vessel Interview on Breathing with Dennis Lewis.
I have become very interested in Qigong and its
effects on reducing chronic pain and stress, particularly in low back
pain in comparison to traditional exercise therapy interventions. I would
like to propose a study into its effect including a literature review
and methodology. Do you have any suggestions on how I can proceed?
Your question is pretty general. It's kind of like trying to figure out
which type of car to buy. There are a lot of choices out there, depending
upon your criteria. In your case, you are asking about a specific medical
condition, musculoskeletal pain. Qigong doctors and therapists usually
use pretty specific solutions tailored to a patient's condition(s).
Thus, the Qigong professional would say that it is hard to generalize.
This is especially true if you need an exercise for pain in the shoulder
vs. pain in the leg vs. pain in the elbow, for instance. That being said,
Qigong is inherently a medical practice, such that many Qigong practices
are able to benefit many conditions. In fact, people often start doing
Qigong to cure one problem, and they surprisingly end up curing another
in addition to what they were originally trying to help.
As part of your research, you should definitely check out the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ . You should be able to pick up some
good material. It might also overlap with what you can get from Medline.
Beyond that, you should try to find a good alternative bookstore and see
what kinds of books they might have on Qigong. It won't be easy to find
material that you'll be able to use. However, one book will be exactly
what you need for a good foundational understanding of medical Qigong
practices that can be used by a broad range of people for a broad range
of conditions. The book includes general Qigong exercises as well as some
reports by people on which Qigong practices they used for particular problems.
It's an excellent resource for you: The Healer Within by Roger Jahnke.
You might also want to look at his book The Healing Promise of Qi, but
definitely start with The Healer Within.
Some libraries also have good online resources. Also, universities are
starting to integrate Qigong and Tai Chi directly into their curriculums.
One example is the Department of Kinesiology at University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign. Also, look at the References section of the paper
Qigong - Energy Medicine for the next Millenium on the QI's Scientific papers page. These will give you an idea of the fields of research
that are involved with Qigong. It ranges from kinesiology to neuroscience
to molecular biology to psychology, and more. There are more references
that might be of interest on www.worldtaichiday.org.
Also, look at the QI's Related Links page.
I am interested in material that can be used
in the promotion of Qigong as a means to better health and fitness, especially
for elderly people, and to people with chronic health conditions, such
as MS and ME.
This answer is really for any illness or condition, not just MS or ME.
Look at the research papers that are posted or referenced on the Qigong
Institute web site. The papers themselves as well as the bibliographies
have a wealth of information. Some excellent papers, all authored by Ken
Sancier (founder and CEO of the QI), are "Medical Applications of
Qigong", "Therapeutic Benefits of Qigong Exercises in Combination
with Drugs", and "Anti-Aging Benefits of Qigong". Another
example – if you look at the paper "Qigong - Energy Medicine
for the New Millennium" (written by Qigong Institute Vice President
Tom Rogers and available on the QI website on the Scientific Papers page)
you'll see the following references for the benefits of Qigong and
Tai Chi for aging:
Li, J X; Y Hong; K M Chan. Tai chi: physiological characteristics and
beneficial effects on health. British Journal of Sports Medicine, June
2001 v35 i3 p148.
Gallagher, Bill. Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong: physical and mental practice
for functional mobility. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, July-Sept
2003 v19 i3 p172(11).
You should also be able to get these references through the online Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ . In addition, you may be able to search
your local library databases online and get many very useful references,
including the above. We’d also recommend a couple of books to start
with, The Healer Within by Roger Jahnke, and The Way of Qigong by Ken
Cohen. Jahnke’s website is also a good place to visit (www.feeltheqi.com),
as are other sites referenced on the Qigong Institute website. www.feeltheqi.com
and www.worldtaichiday.org both have a number of references and articles
on the benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi for a variety of diseases and conditions.
Is there any research that indicates the benefits
of Qigong in the treatment of Meniere's Syndrome?
Although the practice of Qigong has helped some people with some of the
symptoms of this disease, we know of no random clinical trials definitely
proving that there is any correlation between the alleviation of symptoms
and practicing Qigong. However, stress has a way of exacerbating problems,
and working for a living doesn’t help either (but it’s unavoidable).
So reduction of stress can probably help any condition.
There are several references for Meniere’s disease in the Qigong
and Energy Medicine Database™. The treatments are either Qigong
or Qigong in combination with acupuncture. You can search the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ to get these references,
and research any other diseases. A nominal fee is charged for abstracts, and all proceeds go to supporting
Qigong Institute programs, like maintaining the online database and the QI website.
I live in London, England and am very interested
in starting Qigong. I have chronic repetitive strain syndrome and I am
very interested in training in Qigong to try to help improve the situation.
So far, research on the Internet has proved fruitless, as most of the
development seems to be in the USA. Do you have any information on Qigong
teachers in the UK?
You might find the video Creating Flexibility by Bingkun Hu interesting.
Any type of Qigong that involves a lot of flexibility practices may be
good for chronic repetitive stress. See Dr Hu's website for more info.
There is a practice called "Iron Shirt" Qigong. You create
an "iron shirt" by stretching your connective tissue, especially
tendons, through its range of motion. Thus, you "put on" an
iron shirt by doing these exercises since your connective tissue becomes
greatly strengthened and more flexible (i.e. you have a greater comfortable
range of motion). Roger Jahnke has some of these exercises on his wonderful
DVD "Qigong Chi Kung - Awakening and Mastering the Medicine Within You". You can order this various ways, including from his website.
Another thing you might look into is Qigong Massage. It also goes by
a more generic inclusive name Tui Na. Shaolin Tui Na massage is a well
known form of Tui Na. Shiatsu is a more recent name for energy massage
that may be more familiar, but it's basically a rediscovery of Qigong.
Acupressure is also a very generic term for Qigong massage. You can find a version of Tui Na massage on one of Francesco Garripoli's DVDs.
One more thing, if you haven't read them already, The Way of Qigong by
Cohen and The Healer Within by Jahnke are very good beginning Qigong texts.
Cohen's book is broader and more inclusive while Jahnke's book focuses
on Qigong practices that anyone can learn and start doing without requiring
Qigong Master Michael Tse is located in England and has several centers.
He was a student of Yang Mei-jun, the Wild Goose (Kunlun Mountain School)
Qigong lineage holder who recently passed on at age 105. Michael also
teaches and practices marital arts and Qigong healing. See Tse Qigong Centre.
Tse Qigong Centre
PO Box 59
Altrincham, WA15 8FS UK
Tel: (0161) 929 4485
Fax: (0161) 929 4489
A friend of ours and a person who has come on China Qigong Study Trips
is named David Lees. He is an excellent Qigong teacher, and though a bit
of a drive from London, a person well worth getting in touch with. He
has a caring heart and much experience in Qigong and Traditional Chinese
Medicine. You can write him at:
Lastly, check the Qigong Institute's Teacher Directory for teachers in your area.
What would you say to a doctor who is hesitant
about a cancer patient wanting to try Qigong?
Many doctors are hesitant to try Qigong and other Complementary and Alternative
Therapies. This is often due to cultural biases, as well as medical training
that does not include exposure to these profound eastern healthcare therapies.
Your question could apply to many other energy therapies besides Qigong.
One of the best ways to educate western doctors and introduce them to
eastern healing arts is DJ Benor's (a western trained MD) article
"Energy Medicine for the Internist", Med Clin North Amer 2002.
86(1), 105-125. Beyond that, the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ has thousands of references to articles on the medical benefits of Qigong.
One excellent article that summarizes some of these benefits is K. Sancier's
“Medical Applications of Qigong”, Alternative Therapies, Jan
1996. Vol 2. No 1. This is also available on the QI website on the Scientific Papers page. Another article to look at is “Qigong for Cancer: Self-Healing
Practice”, by Daniel Ko, in the July 2005 Townsend Letter for Doctors
& Patients. Also consider contacting practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine at The Arizona Cancer Center.
Guo Lin's cancer recovery Qigong became so popular within China
that it was adopted in hospitals and healthcare centers across the country.
There are two important aspects to using Qigong for cancer: One is the
Qigong practice itself and the benefit it can provide, and the other is
the group aspect, or the benefit that group support provides. Both are
intrinsic to achieving the benefits of Guo Lin’s cancer recovery
Qigong, which has become so widely practiced that it is just called Guo
Personally, we believe that people have everything to gain and nothing
to lose by doing Qigong. There are many documented successes in Qigong
therapy for cancer, but no literature on any side effect of Qigong for
cancer. As Qigong therapy may significantly reduce the side effect of
chemotherapy by boosting up the immune system, the practice of Qigong
would actually help the patient to complete the course of chemotherapy
and recovery from the side effect of conventional therapy. Therefore,
allowing a patient to try Qigong only stands to increase the effect of
the doctor's conventional therapies, and benefit both patient and the
The doctor should learn more about the field of Energy Medicine and develop
his understanding about the functions and correct applications of Qigong.
The best way is for the doctor to try some Qigong. Beyond that, we understand
that it is difficult to know what type of Qigong might be appropriate
and how one should decide on a good Qigong teacher, Therapist, or OMD.
It is best that the patient investigate several teachers and methods before
deciding. The patient should have a feeling of confidence in the personal
integrity of the teacher and in the method or style being taught. The
technique should actually feel good to the patient. They should feel better
after having practiced the Qigong form.
Are there any situations when Qigong would not
be advised for a cancer patient?
The rare situation would be 1) when a patient has a metal implant in
the key area or organ transplant that depends upon low immune function
(since Qigong will build up immune system quickly, that may form some
rejection from the body), or 2) people who have a history of psychotic
disorder are not recommended to do deep meditation Qigong. If you have
any question at all about your particular condition, consult qualified
Note that there are some Qigong forms that may not produce the desired
results. It is also possible, like with anything, that a given form is
not appropriate to an individual's temperament or current condition --
just as if someone is told to study some tennis or yoga, weightlifting,
pilates, dance or even stretching. Each individual must find methods,
techniques and teachers to suit their own, individual physical needs,
style, and preferences. Otherwise, results will not be optimal. It is
also possible that one can practice a Qigong style that is not appropriate
to his condition. One must be clear with the teacher about one's needs
and goals before deciding upon a Qigong form to study. A qualified Qigong
professional should be able to prescribe a method that is helpful. One
must then feel confident in the method and the teacher. If not, one should
find more appropriate instruction.
What would you say to cancer patients who are thinking of learning Qigong?
Go for it! Qigong should have many benefits for cancer patients without
any disadvantage. Please see the following review on Qigong therapy for
cancer for more details:
Chen K, & Yeung R, 2002. "A review of qigong therapy for cancer treatment." Journal of International Society of Life Information Science. 20 (2): 532-542.
Even in the US, hospitals are starting to incorporate Qigong into their
cancer recovery programs. Arnold Tayam’s work at Stanford Medical
Center is one example. Other Doctors of Oriental Medicine (OMDs) have
written extensively on the use of Qigong as a cancer treatment. Jerry
Alan Johnson is one such OMD. Also see The Arizona Cancer Center.
What do you have to say to those who have tried
Qigong and have given up on it because they haven't seen any results?
Ask them whether it is enough to walk his/her dog one day or one week
for the entire life of the dog. You just have to do it everyday to see the
benefit. Also, ask what type of Qigong they had tried and for how long?
Did they practice with consistency and sincerity, e.g. with dedication
in their mind? Or did they practice with their mind wondering off into
distant places or in constant doubt that their practice would not be helpful?
Constant doubt can be lethal to any practice (see previous answer on placebos
and psychoneuroimmunology). Did they enjoy the practice and feel comfortable
with it? What results did they expect? The teacher/Master should make
clear what one can expect from practice. If that goal is not reached after
having performed the practice in the prescribed way and frequency, then
it is clearly not the right practice for them. It may not be sufficient
or complete enough. The teacher may also be lacking in sufficient skill
or understanding. The proof should be in the pudding. One should feel
better. If they do not, then first clarify that with the teacher. Ask
if there are any adjustments that need to be made in the practice. Following
that, if results are not clear, then use a different method that is designed
to help meet one's specific goals.
Also, it's very difficult to know why someone did not have any
results. There are many factors to consider, such as length of practice,
type of practice, and whether they had a support group. Furthermore, people
have to realize that nothing is a silver bullet with cancer. Chemotherapy
isn't. Surgery isn't. Qigong isn't. In other words,
people who practice Qigong still get cancer, and people who know Qigong
well still get sick and die from cancer. If a cancer patient is not getting
results using some type of Qigong, see another Qigong doctor and try a
different Qigong regimen.
Do you have any personal anecdotes or stories about the success of Qigong with chronic illness?
See Chen K, Turner FD, 2004. "A case study of simultaneous recovery from multiple physical symptoms with medical qigong therapy." The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine. 10(1): 159-162. Also see Dr. Ted Cibik's account of his dealing with "incurable asthma".
Will alcohol consumption or anti-depressants, slow down the positive affects of Qigong?
The most effective way to practice Qigong, or do any type of exercise
for that matter, is in an unimpaired state.
About two years ago, I found that I have energy
in my hands that can heal disease. I tested it several times on my close
family members and found healing power in my energy. The feeling of the
effect of my energy transfer to others is different and depends on people
and their condition. Conditions include heat, sleepy mood, and whether
they are relaxed. Although sometimes some people don't feel the effect
of energy, my energy is doing its healing process. For your info, I don't
need to touch people and can heal different type of diseases, but the
improving effect varies for different people and types of diseases. Now
what I want is to find an official institute or university to test my
energy so I can get a certificate in order to help people officially.
I am sure I have this healing energy but I need to prove it.
What you are describing sounds very much like transmitting qi. There
is a section in Roger Jahnke's book The Healing Promise of Qi that talks
about this ability/phenomena. Just about anyone can learn to transmit
qi, but some are fortunate enough to recognize that they have this gift
and use it to help others (like you seem to be doing).
We're not aware of anyone testing people to provide a certification
that a person can in fact transmit qi, although testing is sometimes done
on research projects where the goal is to characterize or measure the
qi being transmitted. Usually Qigong Therapists do transmission of qi
during a healing session. The person doing the energy healing is most
often a Qigong Master, an OMD (Oriental Medical Doctor), massage therapist,
a Medical Qigong Therapist, or someone certified to do Reiki or Therapeutic Touch.
The qualifications for certification vary in different countries, so
you'd have to research what would be required where you live. However,
we'd suggest looking into being certified in Qigong Therapy or Therapeutic
Touch to begin with. These are recognized fields in Energy healing, and
they are probably the easier certifications to meet. Also, Therapeutic
Touch is being recognized by the Western medical establishment, and is
being used by nurses. There are many levels of Qigong Therapy certification,
with successive levels requiring more study. The Internet is probably
the best place to start your research (I think you already did by sending
your question) into where certification programs are offered. You may
have to travel and do a residence program (weeks/months) of some sort.
To be a little more specific on where you can go for certification, Dr.
Jerry Johnson (China) went to Hai Dian University, Medical Qigong College
of Beijing, in China and received training and certification after his
healing abilities were tested. Arnold Tayam
(OMD) was also certified at that hospital.
I'm interested in reading more about Qigong.
Do you have any handouts or information packets or information on teachers?
See the bottom of the Qigong Institute home-page for a two-sided one-page hand-out on Qigong and the Qigong Institute. Also on the website you'll find research and reference material, as well as the online Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™. Be sure to check-out the Qigong for Health, Tai Chi for Health, and Getting Started with Qigong pages. For information on teachers, see the Qigong Institute Teacher Directory.
Hopefully you can find interesting information on the QI website, or
on some of the Related Links websites.
A company in (substitute any country
name here) is interested in Qigong classes. How would I go about finding
someone to give a Qigong seminar in my country?
See the Qigong Institute Teacher Directory and the related teacher directory links on that page. You may be able to
find a good local teacher through one of them -- and they would speak
your language! Another choice
would be to contact one of the teachers on the Qigong Institute's Teacher
Directory page (who may not be located in your country). They are all very well qualified and many of them give
seminars internationally. Also, google "qigong country", "chi kung country", "tai chi country", and "taiji country" where "country" is the actual name of your country.
At the present time I'm studying to be a Massage
Therapist and will be doing a Tuina (a form of Qigong massage) course
as soon as I graduate. I'm also planning to study Qigong as I feel that
if I'm working on balancing out my clients' Qi then I need to have
some understanding of my own. I've read a lot of articles on what Qigong
can do for people with health problems but what can it do for someone
like myself who is in his twenties and is fairly healthy? Can Qigong help
me with my strength workouts and flexibility training instead?
Qigong is going to help you physically and mentally in a number of ways,
especially if you are active. In order to be active, you have to be healthy.
In order to be healthy, do Qigong. Qigong is extremely effective for prevention
of illness and maintaining wellness -- so that you don't have to take
advantage of it's proven therapeutic value for the treatment of diseases,
especially chronic ones.
Realize that Qigong is not something you just go and do like an exercise
class. If you are serious about it and want the most benefit, you try
to do it all the time: sitting in traffic or meetings, in lines/queues,
while passively watching events, while doing the dishes, etc. How do you
do this? Your mantra is simply this: adjust your posture (easiest –
e.g. always remind yourself to straighten your shoulders so the energy
will flow better), adjust your breath (next easiest -- you have to find
ways to remind yourself to do deep diaphramatic breathing), and adjusting
your mind -- clearing your mind of thoughts or not dweling on thoughts
and emotions so that your neurotransmitter profile heads towards the regenerative
If you want strength and flexibility, do the three adjustments all the
time, but add some movement and more strenuous Qigong. Tai Chi is a good
way to develop strength and flexibility. Some styles such as Chen and
some of the weapons forms are more vigorous. Check out Bingkun Hu's 'Creating
Flexibility' and Wild Goose Qigong videos/DVDs. I guarantee that if you
learn Wild Goose that very few people you know will be more flexible than
you. You might also check out Larry Johnson's '18 Buddha Hands' Qigong.
It's a little more physically demanding than many types of Qigong.
There are thousands of types of Qigong. Part of the fun is trying different
ones and adapting them to your own practice. In no time you'll have more
than you have time for! Another good one to check out is anything from
Francesco Garripoli (www.kahunavalley.org).
I practice Qigong, but I am also very interested
in the theory. I assume that my Qigong practice will be accelerated by
using technical devices. Do you have any references for technical papers
describing the electronic equipment used to measure an electromagnetic
spectrum of qi-energy: frequencies, amplitudes, etc.
Qi energy is not something real and measurable from western science's
standpoint. No one knows what qi really is, and there are no devices yet
that are capable of measuring it. Discovering and measuring qi is still
very much a research project in the scientific community. However, there
have been some successes measuring acupuncture pathways, which are basically
qi pathways. At least one company has created a "qi machine"
based on the acoustic portion of the qi energy spectrum. This work was
done in China. A Qigong master went into a perfectly quiet room used for
testing hearing, and qi energy was acoustically measured coming from the
master's hand. It is also mentioned in the PBS documentary
“Qigong - Ancient Chinese Medicine for the 21st Century.”
You could go into the the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™and look for the reference to this work or other references to
scientific measurement of qi. What might be more helpful would be to use
google and search for "qi machine". You could then do some research
into the products based on the results. But again, realize that these
machines are based on the acoustic signal only, and that is only part
of what qi really is. However, thousands of these machines have been sold,
and many people have said that they have benefited from them. You may
be able to contact the companies that produce these products and ask them
for technical information, but it is doubtful that this information would
be useful for your Qigong practice.
There is a lot of research into qi and Energy Medicine (especially acupuncture)
going on at various universities and research centers. People are investigating
using ultrasound and SQUIDs, among other devices. Just for some background
on Energy Medicine, you might want to read the paper "Qigong - Energy
Medicine for the New Millenium" which you can download for free from
the QI website (look on the Scientific Research page). One of the more published
energy researchers is James Oshman, his book ("The Scientific Basis
of Energy Medicine") is referenced in this paper. It's a great book.
He might have some newer papers that would interest you.
Do not assume that anything with Qigong will go faster or better with
some device. It won't. There aren't any devices except for the qi machine,
and it's doubtful that it would be of much help in your practice. The
whole point with Qigong is to do the practice, not read about it, although
the reading and researching is a lot of fun. Actually, the fastest way
to improve would be to find a great Qigong teacher near you. See previous
FAQ responses for more information on this.
There is at least one device that you might look into. It was created by
the Institute of Heart Math. Read some of their papers. They are very
interesting. Their machine is a bio-feedback machine. You can use it to
calm your mind/lower your stress. This is also one of the major benefits
you get from practicing Qigong. So it's a "machine" that can
help you with your Qigong practice since it will tell you whether you
are calming your nervous system. Google "heart math" and then
go to the Institute of Heart Math and you'll be able to find the device
somewhere on their site or possibly on someone else's, since other sites
sell it now.
For more information on technical devices that measure EM fields, see Energy-Based Technologies and Therapies.
What can you recommend for information regarding recovering from drug addiction
See the paper "Use of Qigong Therapy in the Detoxification of Heroin
Addicts". You can get a copy on the Scientific Papers page on the
Qigong Institute web site. You can do pretty much any type of Qigong for
drug addiction. You'll note in the article that they don't have a particular
Qigong to recommend, but they use a simple one. We'd recommend starting
with a very easy to learn and practice type of Qigong. The enhanced vitality
method by Roger Jahnke (see the DVD Qigong - Chi Kung)
would be great. Another set of excellent DVDs can be found at kahunavalley.org.
Any one of these would be good. The main point about the recommended DVDs
is that anyone can learn to do basic Qigong with them (no personal instruction
What about enhancing learning/education
Any Qigong would work for this. It's mainly the meditative aspect of
Qigong that helps people focus, become more aware, and de-stress. These
and other benefits of Qigong practice result in an enhanced ability to
learn. Qigong and Tai Chi, a martial arts form of Qigong, are used in
many school situations. It is usually done by individual teachers locally,
so it's a bit hard to get write-ups on it, although some have appeared
in either Empty Vessel or Qi Journal. One program that has been very successful
and been used for a number of years was started by Dr. Gaspar Garcia.
If there isn't anything about this on his website (luohan.com) yet, you
could try contacting him. Also see kahunavalley.org for information on
bringing Qigong into the school. Kahuna Valley is doing this with their
local school district and has also worked with corporations. I also just
visited a friend today who has a dojo with many children's programs. They
teach karate, but they also teach Qigong. This is a wonderful combination
for kids, especially. Discipline, respect, hard work, and wonderful life
skills such as the ability to de-stress on demand and exercise and regulate
the immune and nervous systems.
Can you recommend anything about sexual energy transformation
There is a complete text-book for this. It is the most thorough presentation
of the subject that one could imagine: "Taoist Secrets of Love --
Cultivating Male Sexual Energy" by Mantak Chia. I think there's one
for women too….
If you are unaware, there is a website featuring transcendental meditation -based educational programs
Thanks for the pointer. Their program focuses on meditation, which is excellent. Qigong is a
combination of this along with movement, breathing, and self-massage.
Meditation helps the most with handling stress and the development of
mental concentration and clarity. But note that in order to be fully healthy,
you have to do the movement and breathing too. The Shaolin monks were
excellent at meditation, but not that healthy or physically capable. Then
along comes Bodhidharma and introduces movement and breathing exercises.
The rest, as they say, is history: The Shaolin monks became world famous,
and for many good reasons. They are astounding to watch in person.