Qi Gong is one major component of Chinese treatment or medicine. It has been in use for over three thousand years but is often associated with the beginning of the cultural revolution of post-Mao China.
Qi gong is made up of two Chinese words ‘qi’ which means gas or breath and by ‘cosmic breath,’ ‘energy’ and ‘life force’ and gong which means work often associated with resultant level of skill or a discipline. Qi gong therefore means ‘energy work’ or ‘breath work’.
Qi gong is considered by some people to be a series of breathing exercises and movements that result in healthful benefits as it is an activity deigned to reduce stress. Others see it in a more ‘metaphysical’ perspective, as they believe that cosmic qi can be absorbed by the body and circulated through energy pathways called meridians.
Today, qi gong is regularly used as a health maintenance exercise by millions of people around the world. Since 1989, this practice has been officially recognized by Chinese hospitals as a legitimate form of medical treatment.
In 1996, after several years of debate, the Chinese government decided to officially control the practice of qi gong through government regulation. They made it a part of their National Health Plan.
For its practitioners, qi gong can help with the management of their stress. This is done by breathing through the diaphragm. This is an essential part of the relaxation response. Instead of diaphragmatic breathing, the type of Qi gong practiced by Taoists utilizes the inverse breath of inhaling to the back of the thoracic cavity. It is believed that the diaphragmatic style of breathing can bring about reproductive problems in women.
Some practitioners believe that that in order for qi gong to be fully accepted in Western cultures fully, it needs to hurdle the prerequisites of scientific studies. In the mid 1980s, some of them started systematic study of qi gong in institutions of studies in both the United States and China. at the time of this writing, over 20 research trials have been published.
Both Western and Chinese medicine practitioners in Encino agree that qi gong can help improve and preserve health, by enhancing the range of movement, boosting resiliency and flexibility of the joints, and promoting movement of the practitioners.