chi kung

Photo credit: ebatty / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Chi Kung is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and Taoism, Chi Kung is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance chi or what has been translated as “intrinsic life energy”.  It is generally accepted that Chi Kung exercises have three components: a posture (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus on guiding chi through the body. The prerequisite is a calm relaxing state of mind.  Chi Kung 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.  Chi Kung is believed by some to help develop human potential, allow access to higher realms of awareness, and awaken one’s “true nature”.   Possible health benefits of Chi Kung have been studied in various medical conditions.

  • In recent years a large number of books and videos have been published that focus primarily on Chi Kung as exercise and associated health benefits.
  • Because it is low impact and can be done lying, sitting, or standing, Chi Kung is accessible for disabled persons, seniors, and people recovering from injuries.
  • As a healing art, Chi Kung 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.
  • There are three main forms of Chi Kung used to complement medical treatment: 1) Chi Kung exercises (also called “internal Chi Kung “) performed by individuals for general health or treatment of disease, 2) Chi Kung massage by a trained Chi Kung practitioner to treat specific injuries and illnesses (e.g. autism); and 3) External Chi Kung in which a trained practitioner focuses healing energy on patients without touching them.
  • Chi Kung has been purported to enhance health and well-being with many benefits, including improving cardiovascular function, healing specific acute diseases, and increasing longevity.