The Mind-Body Benefits of Qi Gong—an Ancient, Meditative Movement Practice
There's no doubt that mindfulness and meditation have been proven over and over again to be beneficial for everything from stress relief to sleep. And there's a form of meditation that has been around for thousands of years that you may not be aware of yet, qi gong (pronounced chee-gong). Qi gong, or qigong, is an ancient Chinese practice that involves meditation, controlled breathing, and movement. Qi means energy, and Gong means cultivation or practice. Unlike traditional meditation where you sit still, qi gong involves stretching and some movements and poses that are closely related to Tai Chi. If you're familiar with acupuncture, you may also be familiar with qi, as acupuncture is another modality to balance and regulate the qi (or flow of energy) in the body. That's why qi gong is often used in conjunction with other traditional Chinese medicine modalities.
"It's great for people who want a meditative practice and overall detoxification. [It] mentally and physically aligns the body and mind (like meditation) with some motion that helps people feel less distracted and frustrated," says Gisele Wasfie, doctor of acupuncture and East Asian medicine who is also trained in qi gong and tai chi.