What is Qigong?

For thousands of years, qi gong (pronounced chee gung) has been practiced in China to create health and well-being by balancing and boosting the body’s natural energy. Combining breathing, movement and meditation, qi gong has been used to remove blockages to the body’s energy flow and energize the organs to enhance physical and emotional health. This is done in accordance with the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, which includes other practices such as Tai Chi and methods, such as acupuncture.

A key component of qigong practice is meditation. Through meditation, the energy activated in the body by qi gong can be guided by the mind, which becomes able to perceive the subtle functioning of the qi. Together, body and mind work for the benefit of the practitioner.

In Chinese, “qi” refers to the body’s vital, or life, energy. “Gong” denotes a skill or achievement cultivated through regular, disciplined practice. The results of the practices of various schools and methods have been documented in China for thousands of years, though their documentation does not generally accord with Western medical standards. 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.

Yi Ren® Qigong was founded by Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, a molecular geneticist from China. 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 left to build 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.


*”Yi” means change, with the upper part of its hexagram symbolizing the sun and the lower part, the moon. “Ren” means human.