Thursday, February 20, 2020

Qigong: Ancient Chinese Healing for Modern Times

May 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Qigong Info

Five Thousand Years Ago…

Daisy Practicing Qigong

Five thousand years ago, the wealthy and elite of China practiced a secret self-healing art from behind closed doors called Qigong , pronounced “chee-gung”. Practitioners were reported to have more radiant skin, stronger muscles and bones, and a deep sense of peace and tranquility that glowed from within. The exercises themselves were said to be deceptively simple and gentle, yet it was whispered that regular practice could reverse even serious illness and the ravages of aging.

If the rumors were true, could Qigong be the key to modern society’s health crisis? What exactly was this ancient practice and where could one learn Qigong?


In simple terms, “Qi” can be translated as “breath,” or “life force energy,” an invisible force that courses through the energy channels of the body, aided by the qi of the natural world around us. The “gong” part of Qigong literally means “work” or “cultivation”, so a practitioner of Qigong is consciously cultivating his/her own life force to achieve optimum, vibrant health.

Learning Qigong

In the old days, Qigong could only be learned in secret from martial artists and sequestered monks living in the remote mountains of China, which only added to the allure and mystery of this ancient art. Only those who were wealthy, disciplined or otherwise favored by the masters could learn Qigong.

These days, world-class athletes like golf legend Tiger Woods admit to practicing Qigong to give them an edge in their game by improving mental clarity and focus, and movie stars like Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, and Ken Watanabe are giving Qigong sex appeal, making people wonder what it is about this mysterious self-healing practice that so invigorates the body, mind and spirit.

Transformative Change

On the surface, the graceful, flowing movements of Qigong can look like a beautiful dance, yet the synchronized breathing techniques together with the practitioner’s own mindful intent to move the qi through the body enables transformative change to take place as blocked energy is released and immune function greatly improved. When combined with a healthy, balanced diet, supplementary herbs and meditative practices, Qigong becomes one of the most complete and comprehensive systems of life enhancement that exists for the modern-day individual who is overwhelmed by stress or fatigue.

Curious westerners now flock to gyms, community centers and private health clubs to learn these gentle, meditative stretching exercises from masters or trained instructors of the art. Often practitioners claim an improved sense of health and well-being, balanced weight loss and the elimination of pain, amongst a long list of health benefits.

Transformative Change

Today there are literally thousands of styles of Qigong, some of them known popularly as Tai Chi. In fact, Tai Chi came from Qigong, and owes its foundation to Qigong principles. What is different is that Qigong is simple enough to be practiced by the very young or the very elderly. For the wheelchair or bedridden, Qigong can be done sitting or lying down, using the mind and breath to direct the qi in a non-moving or still form of Qigong. Patients in pre- or post-surgery often find Qigong to be an effective pathway to quicken recovery and to release pain and discomfort in a gentle manner, often without additional medication.

Business executives, athletes, students and homemakers alike find their minds clearer and their bodies more limber after practice, and are therefore more capable of performing under pressure and handling day-to-day stresses with a greater sense of ease and control.

Health Benefits

For all its benefits, few people actually practiced Qigong openly before the 1960′s. It was only during the Cultural Revolution that the Communist government decided to put Qigong through rigorous scientific testing to prove or disprove its efficacy. If the rumors were true that these ancient exercises could improve physical health, then it should be made available to the common person and not just the elite and wealthy of China.

How fortunate for everyone that this medicine-less medicine was indeed proven effective at defending the body against ill health and even capable of reversing disease. Hypertension, diabetes, cancer and other serious conditions were found to be positively affected by Qigong exercise and meditation. The government announced Qigong as a viable means of maintaining the health and productivity of the world’s largest population. More than a billion people could now keep trim, fit and robust, regardless of social class or wealth. Qigong was allowed to flourish in parks and schools around the country.

Practice Around the World

Today, more than 100 million people practice Qigong around the world. Qigong is often part of a well-rounded health and fitness program, while also being used as a complementary therapy in hospitals and clinics in China and the west

The ancient practice of Qigong, once a closely guarded secret by the elite of China, is now being embraced by all cultures as the fashionable way to release stress, increase strength and flexibility, and reverse the aging process. With so many health benefits, it is no wonder the art and science of Qigong is becoming so popular in today’s modern society.


15 Responses to “Qigong: Ancient Chinese Healing for Modern Times”
  1. Gus Rodriguez says:

    This is all very interesting to me as I work with race horses and I have used a machine called Qigong with good results and would like to do it hands on if I could.thankyou very much
    Gus Rodriguez

  2. Gus Rodriguez says:

    Yes please do

  3. daisy_lee says:

    Hello Gus,
    I was just in Colorado where one of my students has two horses (not for racing)…the Qigong put them into a state of deep relaxation and they closed their eyes for what seemed like a long time, though I think it was only a few minutes. It was very interesting to see. I wonder if it’s similar to what the Qi Machine does? Have fun playing Qigong with your horses… Daisy

    • Warren says:

      I have done the same with touch and intent on horses,dogs and cats. My intent is to calm and heal,which seems to work.

      • daisy_lee says:

        Hi Warren,

        Yes, intention carries healing information and animals seem to be a good testament to that theory. One of my teachers in China, Master Wan, did experiments on pigs whose spines were injured, and through qi emissions, was able to get them to walk again.

  4. Randy says:

    I wanted to compliment you on a well-written site. I have practiced qigong for the past 15 years and have enjoyed improved health because of it. With regular practice, the cumulative effect on health improvement is amazing. I do recommend, however, that people who are first embarking on the practice to work with a master or certified teacher. In doing so, you can learn many things that you cannot from a video or written instructions. Group practice can also be of great benefit as well.

    • daisy_lee says:

      Dear Randy,

      Thank you for your kind thoughts, and yes, it is always preferable to learn from a teacher in person even if the DVD’s are of fine quality. 3 of our DVD’s, Qigong Beginning Practice, Qigong for Stress Relief and Qigong for Cleansing, have won instructional media awards, so I hope that those who can’t join me or Francesco for an in-person class will at least be able to have a taste of Qigong until we meet in person.

      Thanks for your enthusiasm for Qigong and for sharing your thoughts with me, Randy. I wish you much peace, joy and vibrant health always. Warmly, ~ Daisy

    • daisy_lee says:

      Hello Randy,

      Thank you for your kind thoughts, and keep up the great “play” using Qigong to enhance your life! I totally agree that videos themselves are not nearly as rewarding as learning eye-to-eye from a good teacher as there is no room for spontaneity and questions that might arise during practice. Having said that, I hope our DVD’s provide access to people who would otherwise not have a chance to learn Qigong. I say this only because I personally grew up in a remote farm town where there was no Chinese culture but that which came from my family.

      I wish you much joy in sharing your love of the art, and thank you for taking the time to write.



  5. Lorna says:

    I for one am thankful for qi gong instructional dvds because I can’t find instructors or classes :-( I would really really like to do it in a group though but meanwhile I have Qigong for Cleansing. Is there some reason why Qi Gong is just not so accessible as Tai Chi, which seems to really be available everywhere? Thank you – and I’m sure when I’m ready my teacher will appear ;-)

    • daisy_lee says:

      Hello Lorna,

      I’m happy you have the instructional DVD’s for now. I think one of the reasons Qigong is not as popular as Tai Chi (although it is growing fast!) is that it is easier for people to get their heads around a form and with Tai Chi there is a clear form, whereas there are virtually hundreds of styles of Qigong…this is at least my view…

      Thank you for your kind support of our work, Lorna, and I hope we can meet in person for a class one day. Have you heard of the National Qigong Association? – you may be able to find a teacher in your area in their directory. They also hold a Qigong conference where many teachers and students from all over the country converge each year. Check their website for more info. I will be teaching there this August.

      Wishing you peace, joy and wellness,


      • Lorna says:

        Thank you Daisy for your explanation – and the peace, joy and wellness you sent with it :-) I’m based outside of the US, in Dubai, UAE, so for now will be thankful for the dvd and web resources and keep my eye out for a live opportunity. Lorna

        • daisy_lee says:

          Hi Lorna,
          Thank you, Lorna, and I’m happy you have our dvd to practice with there. I trust we will meet when the time is right, and in the meantime, wish you all the best in Dubai.



  6. Shunya says:

    To see what Master Sha (one of the incredible masters featured in this film) is up to now, go to google Soul Mind Body Medicine or Tao Retreat. His teachings have changed my life!

  7. Julianne says:

    Dear Daisy and Francesco,

    I would like to thank you personally for the wonderful teaching videos you have produced. One one I have is very effective and so delightful to perform along with (Qigong, Beginning Practice). I have learned a great deal from both the CD and attending book.

    From the stress and sedentary lifestyle of the past 40 years in the corporate world, I seem to have developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. So I am looking forward to reopening and strengthening my chi channels. If Francesco can heal his decimated ankle, so can I rebuild, through my inner body, a stronger outer body.

    Just a quick question : Is Master Duan still alive? He must be 95 or 96 by now. What an inspiration he is! You can actually feel and see the qi move through his body when he does his forms.

    In gratitude,

    West Palm Beach, FL

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