What is Qigong?
There are many schools of teaching in qigong, and many that do take more theoretical positions with detailed explanations of the different kinds of “chi” that exists in and around the body. There are different schools of Tai Chi, which is more popularized, as well. The practice of qigong, now categorized as “meditative movement” a new category of exercise defined by
(a) some form of movement or body positioning,
(b) a focus on breathing, and
(c) a cleared or calm state of mind with a goal of
(d) deep states of relaxation.
While often called “meditation in motion,” Harvard Medical School has referred to Tai Chi, a form of qigong, as “medication in motion” because of Tai Chi’s therapeutic effects on the mind and body for preventing and treating health problems.
Professor Peter M. Wayne, in his book “The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi” dives into over a decade of his research on Tai Chi for health and refers to it as having eight active ingredients, likened to the active ingredients in pharmacological treatments.
The eight active ingredients include:
1. Awareness, mindfulness, and focused attention;
2. Intention, belief, expectation;
3. Dynamic structural integration;
4. Active relaxation of mind and body;
5. Aerobic exercise, musculoskeletal strengthening, and flexibility;
6. Natural, freer breathing;
7. Social interaction and community; and
8. Embodied spirituality, philosophy and ritual.
(Wayne & Fuerst 2013). I admire his work, where he takes an ecological and integrative view of the mind, body and health in Tai Chi and appreciating it within a Western medical paradigm.  Larkey, L., Jahnke, R., Etnier, J. & Gonzalez, J. (2009). Meditative movement as a category of exercise: implications for research. J Phys Act Health 6(2), 230-238. Doi: 10.1123/jpah.6.2.230
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