What does this mean for you?
Chi Kung (qigong) refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve methods of accumulating, circulating, and working with Qi or energy within the body. Qigong is sometimes mistakenly said to always involve movement and/or regulated breathing; in fact, use of special methods of focusing on particular energy centers in and around the body are common in the higher level or evolved forms of Qigong.
Chi Kung is practised for health maintenance purposes, as a therapeutic intervention, a spiritual path and a component of Chinese martial arts.
The Chi in Chi Kung means breath or air in Chinese, and, by extension, life force, dynamic energy or even cosmic breath. Kung means work applied to a discipline or the resultant level of skill, so Chi Kung is thus breath work or energy work.
Attitudes toward the scientific basis for qigong vary markedly. Most Western medical practitioners and many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, as well as the Chinese government, view qigong as a set of breathing and movement exercises, with possible benefits to health through stress reduction and exercise. Others see qigong in more metaphysical terms, claiming that cosmic qi can be drawn into the body and circulated through channels called meridians.
Qigong, and it’s intimate relation the Chinese martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine, are often associated with spirituality. This link is much stronger than with other techniques in traditional Chinese medicine. Qigong was historically practiced in Taoist and Buddhist monasteries as an aid to concentration as well as martial arts training, and the health benefits of martial qigong practice have recently been confirmed in western medical studies. In addition, the traditional teaching methods of most qigong schools descend from the strict teacher-disciple relationship conventions inherited in Chinese culture from Confucianism.
In some styles of qigong, it is taught that humanity and nature are inseparable, and any belief otherwise is held to be an artificial discrimination based on a limited, two-dimensional view of human life. According to this philosophy, access to higher energy states (and the subsequent health benefits said to be provided by these higher states) is possible through the principle of cultivating virtue. This could be described as a process by which one comes to realize that one was never separated from the primal, undifferentiated state of being free of artificial discrimination that is the true nature of the universe. Progress toward this goal can be made with the aid of deep relaxation (meditation), and deep relaxation is facilitated by the practice of qigong.