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What is Medical Qigong?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Medical qigong is a form of alternative medicine that applies aspects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to correct disease, illness, and other problems in patients. There are two forms, one practiced by individuals seeking to improve health and another external form where practitioners work with patients who need treatment. There is a great deal of debate about medical qigong and its effectiveness.

The underlying belief behind medical qigong is that every person's body is filled with an energy or life force known as qi. Levels of qi wax and wane throughout a lifetime. Illness and disease can be traced to imbalances in this energy and if the imbalances can be corrected, the patient will get better. In medical qigong, the goal is to identify the imbalance responsible for disease and correct it.

Some people practice medical qigong as a preventative and wellness measure. Qigong involves techniques like breathing exercises, creating and holding physical poses, meditation, and working with tools that are designed to manipulate energy levels. People may practice qigong daily with the goal of keeping their energy in a state of balance to prevent disease. Regular practitioners can experience benefits like feeling more calm and focused, as well as having stronger and more flexible joints as a result of gentle exercise.

When someone is ill, medical qigong can be personally applied, with people using qigong exercises to work through the illness and release energy blocks. People can also see a medical qigong practitioner. The practitioner will manipulate the patient's flow of energy with a series of directed exercises after thoroughly evaluating the patient. Patients may need to attend several sessions and they can also be given homework in the form of exercises to perform at home.

Medical qigong can be used as a form of complementary medicine to supplement a patient's more conventional medical care. This practice can be beneficial for people with a variety of conditions ranging from mental illnesses to injuries, and can be integrated into physical therapy, psychotherapy, and other approaches to treatment. When used as complementary medicine, qigong is designed to work in harmony with other methods of treatment. Sometimes, a conventional doctor may even recommend complementary treatments or care providers that a patient might want to explore.

People should be aware that regulation of qigong practitioners is variable. In some regions, people must be certified in order to practice, while in others, they do not, meaning that anyone can advertise as a qigong teacher or practitioner. Before seeing a practitioner or taking a qigong class, it is advisable to get information about where the person trained and how long the person has been practicing. Fully qualified practitioners are happy to provide this information and can also answer additional questions that people may have.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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