A Family of Practices for Healing, Health, and Energy


Last updated on by Al Simon

Qigong is a family of practices for healing, health, stress relief, and energy development.

Qigong (also spelled "chi kung" and pronounced "chee gung") literally means "energy practice." It refers to a family of practices for health, fitness, energy development, and stress relief.

In answering the question "What is Qigong?" I like to use the term "family", because the practices in Chi development are all related. But also like a family, the practices don't always "get along" with each other. There's a great variety of approaches in this family, and some actually contradict each other.

As you explore the family tree, you'll find it has many different branches:

  1. Movement exercises - some fast, some slow, some like what most people think of as "exercise," some like Tai Chi or yoga, some like martial arts, etc.
  2. Meditation - sitting meditations, standing meditations, recumbent meditations, moving meditations, etc.
  3. Breathing techniques - chest breathing, normal abdominal breathing, reverse abdominal breathing, full breathing, skin breathing, etc.
  4. Massage - general massage, acupressure point masssage, chi "meridian" (energy pathway) massage, organ massage, self-massage, etc.
  5. Theraputic techniques - acupressure (needling) of chi points, cupping, moxibustion, topically applied ointments, energy healing, etc.
  6. Injestion techniques - diet, herbs, supplements, tinctures, plant and animal based remedies, etc.
  7. Diagnostic techniques - pulse taking, tongue analysis, diagnosis using eyes, hair, skin color, lips, etc.

... and that's just a partial list.

Of course, when looking online for information about these practices, most people focus on the first three - movement, meditation, and breathing. Indeed, in our courses and programs, I emphasize those three the most, but I also include some practices from the fourth group, self-massage.

What does tie all of these together to make this a "family" is the concept of "chi". Most people think of this as some sort of "life energy" that surrounds and permeates our body. But while most practictioners take an almost mystical, "belief" approach to chi, I prefer to take a more practical, workable approach in my courses.

The chi practices are often mentioned in conjunction with Tai Chi. Tai Chi also has some of the same roots, and I like to consider Tai Chi as a form of Qigong or energy building practice. As such, in our program, we freely choose and inter-mix the practices from Tai Chi with our chi work. I've found that mixing the two gives you the best boost for your health, stress relief, well-being, and energy development. As a matter of fact, though my program is often thought of as a "Tai Chi" program, our focus on chi development means that we tend to use chi practices from a variety of Qigong sources - especially in the introductory levels of the program.

Are you looking for Qigong for beginners? Or are you an experienced practitioner look for more details on how to improve your knowledge and skills? I recommend joining us for our free lessons in Tai Chi and Qigong. You'll discover our unusual approach to Chi Development through Tai Chi and Qigong, along with some in-depth information, on topics like energy pathways. We also cover some advanced details you won't find elsewhere on the web, or in other classes or books.

You can learn more about these arts on our home page, or sign up for the free lessons using the button below.

You have my best wishes for health, well-being, and Chi Development,

Al Simon   Al's Signature



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