For thousands of years, qi gong (pronounced chee gung) has been practiced in China to balance and enhance the body’s natural energy. Using a combination of breathing, movement and meditation, qi gong can remove blockages to the body’s energy flow and energize the organs for improved physical and emotional health. This practice is based on the tenets of traditional Chinese medicine, which includes other practices such as Tai Chi and methods, such as acupuncture.
Meditation is a key component of qigong practice. Through meditation, qigong activates and guides the body’s energy, allowing body and mind to work together to benefit the practitioner.
A 2013 article in The Wall Street Journal, “The Intriguing Health Benefits of Qigong,” reported that recent studies of qigong found that qigong improved cancer patients’ quality of life, helped fight depression, improve balance and lower blood pressure. And a recent comprehensive review of the health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi* cautiously noted that, though some health benefits were reported across the board and others needed more research, “The evidence suggests that a wide range of health benefits accrues in response to (Qigong and Tai Chi)” including bone health, cardiopulmonary fitness and related biomarkers, physical function, falls prevention and balance, general quality of life and patient-reported outcomes, immunity, anxiety and depression.
While many forms of qigong have come to attention in the West in recent years, not all emphasize the individual activation and management of one’s personal qi, a keynote of Yi Ren® Qigong, founded by Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, a Chinese molecular geneticist. His personal healing and subsequent practice lead him to attempt to understand the scientific basis for what he experienced through qi gong. Following his studies in China and Japan, Dr. Sun came to the United States and worked in his field at the University of Washington. In the 1990s, he started the Institute of Qigong and Integrative Medicine www.iqim.org, now based on Bothell, Washington. Dr. Sun continues to offer classes through the institute, though his teaching now is largely limited to advanced students.
To practice and to benefit from Yi Ren® Qigong, physical fitness is unnecessary. While it is helpful to be able to be able to follow the physical part of the exercises, you only need to be able to follow the instructions with your mind to experience a benefit.
*”A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi”, Roger Jahnke, OMD, Linda Larkey, PhD, Carol Rogers, Jennifer Etnier, PhD, and Fang Lin, National Institutes of Health, Public Access author manuscript