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Is Qi Gong Effective as Alternative Medicine?

Updated on March 11, 2013

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

Natural products
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.*
Other practices
movement therapies like Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, Pilates, Rolfing Structural Integration, and Trager psychophysical integration
1.5 percent of adults had used movement therapies.*
traditional healers
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
*Data based on the 2007 National Health Interview Survey

Spring Forest QiGong on YouTube

Dan tians
Dan tians | Source
Qigong Chinese characters
Qigong Chinese characters | Source

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

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day | Source
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day | Source

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
relieve pain
maintain and improve your state of physical fitness and mental well being
regulate hormones
provide a feeling of calm, comfort, balance, and rejuvenation
release deep-seated emotions and stress
aid in increasing longevity and overall good health
*source: The International Institute of Medical Qi Gong

Your Feedback Is Appreciated

After reading this hub, are you interested in Qi Gong?

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Your Own Practice

What type of alternative medicine do you use?

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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.


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    • Rosyel Sawali profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosyel Sawali 

      6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Thanks for visiting my hub. I know I've been lacking in exercise as well, but at least there's Qi Gong exercise that I can practice and incorporate in my daily activities. Now I just need to push myself to actually do it. LOL! ^_^

    • rcrumple profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      You have hit me with an entirely new concept. I'm interested, but, will probably not pursue it. I'm the world's worst at taking care of my body. I even have a hard time just making myself walk each day, little lone adapting to an entirely new practice. But who knows... you've planted a seed. It may sprout into a day of change!

      Great Hub! Extremely well laid out and presented!

    • Rosyel Sawali profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosyel Sawali 

      6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Thanks for the comment, MarleneB ^_^

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      This is very interesting. I never heard of this type of alternative healing, but I see Tai Chi falls into this category, so now I see how it would be effective. I like the quote you used, "The body cannot make the mind sick, but the mind can make the body sick." I think that makes a lot of sense.


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