Is Qi Gong Effective as Alternative Medicine?
- What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? | NCCAM
An overview of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) including types of CAM, safety and regulation, and additional resources. From the U.S. government’s NCCAM, NIH.
- National Health Statistics Reports from the National Health Interview Survey
National Health Statistics Reports released from All Vital and Health Statistics Programs
- International Institute of Medical Qigong
Articles, research, and links on medical qigong.
Alternative Medicine Defined
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines "alternative medicine" as that used in place of conventional medicine -- i.e. medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. degrees and other allied professions. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 38 percent of American adults used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). (See the link for the National Health Statistics Reports for further details.)
The NCCAM grouped the different CAM practices into major broad categories. See the table below for the summary.
Major Broad Categories of CAM
Herbal medicines, vitamins and minerals, and other natural products such as probiotics -- live microorganisms -- and fish oil/omega 3s fall under this category.
17.7 percent of American adults had used a nonvitamin/nonmineral natural product.*
Mind and body medicine
Meditation, various styles of yoga, acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi are some of the practices that fall under this category.
12.7 percent of adults had used deep-breathing, 9.4 percent had practiced meditation, 6.1 percent had practiced yoga.*
Manipulative and body-based practices
Two commonly used therapies fall under this category:
1. spinal manipulation -- practiced by chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, naturopathic physicians, physical therapists and some medical doctors
8.6 percent of adults had used chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
2. massage therapy
8.3 percent had used massage.*
movement therapies like Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, Pilates, Rolfing Structural Integration, and Trager psychophysical integration
1.5 percent of adults had used movement therapies.*
0.4 percent of adults had used a traditional healer.
manipulation of various energy fields to affect health e.g., magnet therapy and light therapy
0.5 percent of adults had used energy healing/Reiki
whole medical systems include Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine; More modern systems like homeopathy and naturopathy
1.8 percent had used Ayurveda or naturopathy, homeopathy
Spring Forest QiGong on YouTube
Why Qi Gong?
As you have read so far, the field of alternative medicine is rather broad. So why indeed did I choose to focus on Qi Gong? You see I've heard and read about the concept of energy healing and have always been interested in it. However, I have never actively pursued or explored or even tried it out for myself.
A few months back, while doing my usual online work, I came across a Spring Forest Qigong promotion offering a week-long free webinar. I needed only to allot around an hour a day to watch the videos (links were sent via email). I then decided to sign-up for it just to check it out. You see, that time I already knew that I needed to undergo operation for myoma. (I underwent operation for hysterectomy two months ago.)
I was raised in a culture where a big portion of the population believes in faith healing, so I am also open to the idea of energy healing. I'm glad that I attended the week-long webinar. I learned many things not only about the concept of Qi Gong, but also its use in daily life. What struck me most was what Master Chun Yi Lin said in one of the videos, "The body cannot make the mind sick, but the mind can make the body sick." It was then I realized this is true. My state of mind wasn't exactly healthy in the months prior to the discovery of my condition.
Now that I've discovered Qi Gong, all I need is a little discipline and commitment to incorporate it in my daily life. Most importantly, I've learned that having a positive mindset really does wonders for one's health.
Qi Gong Is Worldwide
Medical Qi Gong
The International Institute of Medical Qi Gong states that medical qi gong is an ancient form of Chinese energetic medicine. It is one of the four main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), along with acupuncture, herbal medicine, and medical massage. As with other branches of TCM, healing in qi gong occurs through balancing qi or electromagnetic energy throughout the body.
Benefits of Qi Gong
Goal of Qi Gong*
Benefits of Qi Gong*
correct bio-energetic imbalances and blockages
If practiced properly, Qi Gong exercises can:
strengthen the body
improve physical strength and energy
regulate the internal organs, the nervous system and the immune system
help to relieve pain, illness, and physical problems
maintain and improve your state of physical fitness and mental well being
provide a feeling of calm, comfort, balance, and rejuvenation
release deep-seated emotions and stress
aid in increasing longevity and overall good health
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Types of Qi Gong
Depending on the type of exercises that you choose to practice, Qi Gong has its benefits.
Three major disciplines:
1. Martial or Sports Qi Gong
Qi Gong is used in Chinese martial arts. In fact, martial artists helped improve many Qi Gong techniques in their quest for increased speed, stamina, power, balance, flexibility and coordination. Qi Gong exercises can improve performance in any sport.
2. Medical Qi Gong
Doctors in China and in some places in the US employ Qi Gong in hospitals and clinics for treatment of patients suffering from a variety of ailments. There are various studies that said that medical qi gong can be used in the treatment of cancer -- reducing and eliminating side effects from radiation and chemotherapy -- cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease and post-stroke syndrome.
Medical Qi Gong can be further subdivided into two methods:
- Internal Qi Gong or self treatment
Simple breathing and movement exercises or seated meditations are employed in internal Qi Gong. This is done by the individual to regulate and harmonize the flow of energy within one's body.
- External Qi Gong or Qi emission
This is external healing like when a Qi practitioner emits his/her Qi to others to release their toxic emotions or blockages. The practitioner need only pass his/her hands over the body of the patient.
3. Spiritual Qi Gong
The spiritual aspect of Qi Gong evolved from Taoism and Buddhism. This practice leads one to seek self-awareness, tranquility, and harmony with nature. Meditation is involved.