Also Known As: Qigong, chi kung, chi gung
Qigong, chi kung, or chi gung (æ°”åŠŸ or æ°£åŠŸ) (pronounced "chee-gung") is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophy, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to balance qi (chi) or what has been translated as "intrinsic life energy." Typically a qigong practice involves rhythmic breathing, coordinated with slow stylized repetition of fluid movement, and a calm mindful state. Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide, and is considered by some to be exercise, and by others to be a type of alternative medicine or meditative practice. From a philosophical perspective qigong is believed to help develop human potential, allow access to higher realms of awareness, and awaken one's "true nature."
As a form of gentle exercise, qigong is composed of movements that are typically repeated, strengthening and stretching the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial, and lymph), enhancing balance and proprioception, and building awareness of how the body moves through space. In recent years a large number of books and videos have been published that focus primarily on qigong as exercise and associated health benefits. Practitioners range from athletes to the physically challenged. Because it is low impact and can be done lying, sitting, or standing, qigong is accessible for disabled persons, seniors, and people recovering from injuries.
As a healing art, qigong practitioners focus on prevention and self-healing, traditionally viewed as balancing the body's energy meridians and enhancing the intrinsic capacity of the body to heal. Qigong has been used extensively in China as part of traditional Chinese medicine, and is included in the curriculum of Chinese Universities. Throughout the world qigong is now recognized as a form of complementary and alternative medicine, with "significant results for a number of health benefits".
There are three main forms of medical qigong: 1) Qigong exercises for general health or specific diagnoses (e.g. cancer, fibromyalgia, hypertension); 2) Qigong massage by a trained Qigong practitioner to treat specific injuries and illnesses (e.g. autism); and 3) External qigong in which a trained practitioner focuses healing energy on patients without touching them.