Let’s begin with two definitions: Qi can be translated as vital energy, and Gong can be translated as skill cultivated through steady practice, so the simplest answer to the question, “What is qigong”, is that it is energy skill or practice.
A broader understanding is that qigong is an important branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and in that context is a highly refined system of mind-body-spirit practices that improves one's mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing technique, self-massage, sound, and focused intent. There are two principal divisions under the broad heading of qigong; self-regulation and medical. Self-regulation qigong can be taught individually or in a group setting and can be practiced by anyone to good effect. Medical qigong is performed by a practitioner trained to work with clients one to one in a treatment room setting to restore and improve vital energy flow. (Credit NQA website)
Medical Qigong has existed for several thousand years. Like Acupuncture and Tuina therapies, Medical Qigong is based on meridian and point theory as well as ancient Chinese philosophy. Medical Qigong refers to a wide series of therapeutic methods, including (but not limited to) breath training, psychosomatic exercises, meditation, and guided visualizations that direct the practitioners to create a place of health and balance in their clients. Medical Qigong practitioners are trained in Qi transference and replenishment to be used as a healing art different from self-Qigong exercises taught for personal use. (Credit AOBTA website)
Qigong opens the flow of energy in the meridians also used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It enhances our ability to feel the Life Force underlying the physical world and to deepen our communication with it.
Physically, slow gentle qigong movements warm tendons, ligaments, and muscles; tonify vital organs and connective tissue; and promote circulation of body fluids (blood, synovial, lymph). Thousands of studies have shown qigong effective in helping to support improved health and wellbeing. (Credit NQA website)
Qigong helps/benefits/supports improvements in:
Low back pain
Gait and shape
Vascular Cognitive Impairment
What to Expect in a Medical Qigong session.
A Medical Qigong session is approximately one hour. Initial sessions may be longer.
At this time the practitioner makes observations to determine the physical, emotional, and energetic condition of the client. Based on this information the practitioner will formulate a treatment protocol.
Qi can pass through air and clothing, so there is no need to disrobe. The practitioner often works about a foot away from the client’s body, and sometimes lightly touches the client to guide and manipulate the movement of Qi. The client may feel varying sensations as the Qi moves, such as warmth, tingling, coolness, vibration, and sometimes twitching as the stagnant energy releases. Generally, clients find the treatments extremely relaxing and rejuvenating. Sometimes clients may become aware of uncomfortable emotions that have been suppressed and have an emotional release either during or after the treatment. As one of the primary goals of Medical Qigong therapy is to release toxic emotions from within the body’s tissues, having an emotional release is extremely beneficial to one’s psychological and physiological well-being.
After the treatment the client will be given qigong prescriptions to assist in their ongoing healing. These Medical Qigong exercises and meditations are tailored specifically to the clients, similar to an acupuncturist prescribing healing herbs or a medical doctor giving a pharmaceutical prescription.