What is Chi Kung (Qi Gong)?

Written by Wayne Bilyk.

The Chinese have practiced an art form called Chi Kung for thousands of years. Chi Kung had it's beginnings around 770BC and has had many names throughout the ages. It received its formal name in 1953 when Liu Guizheng from the Beidaire Chi Kung Hospital published Practice on Chi Kung Therapy. It wasn't until the mid 80's when it became the most popular health exercise practised by 60 million in China. The Chinese government, recognizing its importance, has regulated its use in hospital and clinics. It is believed that Chi Kung will be as popular as other alternative methods including massage therapy within 5 to 10 years.

chi gong

Chi Kung literally means energy work in Cantonese, Qi Gong meaning the same in Mandarin. This is an ancient and noble art with a long history. In China it is used predominantly as a preventative method against many diseases. Chi Kung has been proven to stimulate the immune system to create optimum health. Many clinical studies in China have been done to support this.

My personal experiences also supports this as I rarely get ill, not having had more than one cold or flu in the past 10 years and recovering quickly from the one I had. Chi Kung promotes inner peace and inner balance, the key element needed to forge a dynamic immune system and a stress free life.

Like any other alternative modality, one wonders whether these precepts are of science or mystery. My mentor and teacher, Master Wu made it very clear to all his students that Chi Kung has basis in science. Although the science behind this may not be obvious to most, he suggested this is not easily explained by the tools now used. This is part of the reason why Chi Kung is not widely accepted in the medical community. We are taught many important skills in order to be efficient practitioners.

The first is how to gather universal chi, an infinite source of energy. We all gather this chi without effort, as this is a natural source of energy to us. The practitioner needs to have an infinite source for healing, teaching and whatever energy work they may be called on to perform. This chi may be better explained as biorhythms from a scientific point of view. Most masters feel you need to learn certain stances and exercises to collect this chi. A few believe that this is a very natural process which anyone can tap into.

This is all well and done but how can Chi Kung help individuals strive to be healthier? Chi Kung can take many forms. One usually starts by taking classes which help you breathe in a more deliberate manner and have your body movements creating a balanced system. This sense of inner balance is critical to the operations of your body.

While there is an obvious physical side, heart pumping blood, the brain with its electric response etc, there is also an energetic system within your body that truly runs things, keeping it in balance. This is where Chi Kung creates the balance, through the chakras and the meridians among others.

There is a great need in today's society to be healthy which can be achieved by a strong immune system. It is just as important to reduce the stress in our lives. Chi Kung is a key element in accomplishing both of these.

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