An apology of sorts here from me – this should have been published last night but for some reason went to drafts and I was too busy to notice, so sorry dear readers and there will be a post at the right time tonight. 🙂
Qigong, is a complementary therapy based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s an exercise system which involves “aligning breath, movement and awareness”. It depends heavily on meditation techniques for healing.
Obviously the name Qigong, comes from Qi and the practice is supposed to be about harmonizing Qi in the body. It has roots in martial arts practices and in both Confucianism and Taoism, and while there are many supposed methods for the techniques to be passed on involving master and pupil relationships, the Chinese government spent some time integrating the practice into a single discipline during the 1940s and 1950s.
Methodologies of Qigong
Dynamic Training – If you’re familiar with Tai Chi – then you’ve already seen in this in action. It involves slow graceful movements that mimic motions of the five animals and the Wild Goose and White Crane.
Static Training – As it sounds this involves staying still in a single posture for an extended period of time, it’s a little similar to Yoga.
Meditation – the usual mix of breath control, mantra and visualisation but in Qigong the visualisation element is all about focusing on the qi, rather than enlightenment (Confucianism), or peace of mind (Buddhism).
External Agents – massage and herbal remedies play a part, as do some transfers of Qi between practitioners (similar to Reiki).
Claimed Health Benefits
It is claimed that Qigong helps with stretching and strengthening the body, and improves balance and fluid movement.
As with much of Traditional Chinese Medicine, there’s a lack of any valid scientific research to back up these claims – however anything is possible.
Arguments Against the Powers of Qigong
- Qi – cannot be demonstrated to exist in any meaningful way.
- The supposed focus of Qi used in martial arts to break objects – can be explained through physics.
- The manifestation of supernatural powers in gurus also appear to be sleight of hand rather than any real powers.
Essentially Qigong is probably OK for you, meditation is relaxing and being relaxed is good for you, it’s also a mild form of exercise and that’s good for you too – though not as good for you as more intense work out regimes. But as a form of medicine it seems unlikely that users would gain any benefits over and above placebo effect, but no firm evidence exists one way or another at this moment.