The word qigong is made up of the words qi, meaning vital energy, and gong, meaning to develop or cultivate. Therefore, qigong is the process of focusing on the body’s vital energy to obtain a balanced and healthy state.
Qigong, and other alternative health practices, should never be considered a replacement for conventional medicine. Instead, practitioners should consider both western medicine and qigong to be an integrative approach to their overall health.
According to Chinese Medicine theories, illnesses are cause either by blockages that restrict the flow of qi or a condition that results in an excess or deficiency of qi. The main branches of Chinese medicine are qigong, acupuncture / acupressure, body therapy/massage, and herbs. All of these branches rely on the adjustment of qi as their basis.
Due to the subtle nature of the body’s vital energy, a student of qigong should practice regularly to build up a cumulative effect. The time needed to improve a particular affliction will vary depending on its severity. However, while a person may attend classes to learn qigong exercises they can then practice in their own home at a time of their convenience.
The exercises themselves typically involve standing practices with movement and seated meditation, but the majority of the practices can be adjusted to be performed seated or lying down if the practitioner’s condition requires it.
As a person’s practice develops, they should begin to experience improved mental concentration in daily activities as a result of the mental focus involved in the practices. Practitioners also typically experience a calmer, more relaxed, attitude in their daily affairs.