Sustained practice of Qigong results in a somatic hermeneutic process, contributing to appreciation of life. An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Author: Ruth Sheard1, Adam Davidson2
1 School of Psychology, University of East London, UK. Electronic address:
2 School of Psychology, University of East London, UK.
Conference/Journal: J Bodyw Mov Ther
Date published: 2023 Oct 1
Other: Volume ID: 36 , Pages: 100-108 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2023.06.002. , Word Count: 189

Over the past few decades evidence has accumulated into the health benefits of practising Qigong, particularly in the amelioration of physical conditions. Previous studies have been conducted using positivist biomedical model methodologies, which may be limited in understanding the nuanced meaning-making and embodied experience of practitioners. This study uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to inquire into how the sustained practice of Qigong contributes beyond the relief of physical conditions to improved self-awareness and appreciation of life. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five Qigong practitioners who each had over 10-years' experience and analysed using the interpretive methodology of IPA. Findings reveal a crucial antecedent theme of 'Openness to experience' and four, interrelated, super-ordinate themes common to each of the participants: 'Finding a Teacher', 'Bodymind' (proprioception and interoception), 'Primary Process of Developmental Change', and 'Awareness of emergent Authenticity'. Insights revealed how each practitioner makes sense of the sustained 'autotelic' practice of Qigong, and how this contributes to a transformative understanding of themselves and of life. Qigong presents a possible promising intervention to improve both physical and psychological well-being.

Keywords: Authenticity; Biopsychosocial; Embodiment; Interoception; Meaning; Movement; Proprioception; Qigong.

PMID: 37949545 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2023.06.002