Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

April 7, 2007

Qi Gong in the NY Times

Filed under: General Health & Wellness, Tai Chi Chuan — doctordilday @ 6:54 pm


This New York Time article on Qi Gong is great and features a comment by local Tai chi instructor Kim Ivy at Embrace The Moon. The article is off in one respect: Qi Gong isn’t an umbrella discipline that encompasses Tai Chi. Tai Chi includes aspects of Qi Gong and goes beyond Qi Gong with it’s inclusion of martial aspects. Otherwise it’s a great article.


CHUNYI LIN remembers the first qigong class he ever taught in the United States. In 1993, he traveled from China as part of a cultural exchange between schools, and was asked to teach at a community center in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Only five people showed up.

“Nobody knew of qigong,” said Mr. Lin, 49, a master of the age-old practice, which entails coordinating slow movements with breathing to cultivate the flow of energy, or qi, in a sort of graceful, fluid dance.

Now, he runs a qigong center in Eden Prairie, Minn., called Spring Forest, where he teaches to packed classes of more than 60 students — and workshops nationwide to hundreds more. “Qigong is growing like crazy in the United States in the past few years,” Mr. Lin said. “People want to be more proactive with their health care.”

The face of exercise is changing in America. Instead of relentlessly pursuing a sculptured physique, people are chasing longevity, stress reduction and improved health through mind-body practices like qigong.

“The realm of working out has shifted from people just wanting to build bulk and lean, toned muscles to them understanding that the inner health of the body is just as important as the outer health,” said Bernard Shannon, a medical qigong therapist who works one on one with clients and sits on the board of the National Qigong Association, a trade group.

This vanguard of wellness-motivated exercisers prefers a regimen that encourages self-awareness to one with a high calorie burn.

“People want to get back to a simpler time,” said Ted J. Cibik, a medical qigong therapist and a certified health and fitness instructor, whose patients include athletes. “They want to find something they can practice that doesn’t take a lot of apparatus, allows them to deal with their stress, and gives them a good physical workout in the sense that it gets them moving.”

It wasn’t until recently that the ancient, gentle practice of qigong caught the attention of even the most sophisticated American exercisers.

The reasons vary. Mindful yoga has acclimated people to Eastern practices. Rising health care costs and expensive prescriptions have led people to look for alternative ways to feel vital. And an influx of qigong teachers from China has paved the way for new generations of teachers and students.

“There is a whole community of people who are intrigued by the whole mind-body shift happening in clubs, gyms and personal training centers who are now pushing these ancient arts,” Mr. Cibik said.

It’s taken decades for qigong — which is an umbrella term for numerous energy-based practices, including tai chi — to spread across the United States, in part because there weren’t enough instructors. That started changing in the 1980s and ’90s, when a handful came from China. Then in the late ’90s, after the Communist party made most forms of qigong illegal and cracked down on members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, who practice a form of qigong, an influx of teachers immigrated to this country.

“Many great masters have left China,” said Jampa Stewart, the director of Healing Tao Institute, a qigong center in Austin, Tex., and as a result, qigong education has improved in the United States.

Today’s qigong masters — “master” being an ambiguous title that requires no specific training — crisscross the country teaching their art, far beyond large cities to places like Heavenly Mountain, a wilderness retreat in North Carolina, where the Thailand-based Mantak Chia will hold six days of workshops this summer. This year, Yang, Jwing-Ming, a qigong expert, will travel to Boston and Chicago, but also to suburbs like Roswell, Ga., and more-rural towns like Glen Garden, N.J.

A decade ago, most Westerners didn’t know how to pronounce qigong (CHEE-kung). Plenty still don’t, but that hasn’t stopped them from attending classes at YMCAs, gyms, medical centers and college campuses. Roughly 950,000 American adults have practiced qigong in their lifetime, according to a study conducted in 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and released in 2004 by the C.D.C. and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The yoga boom has made mind-body exercise more run of the mill. “Yoga has now become acceptable,” said Judith Hanson Lasater, a yoga teacher since 1971 who now teaches restorative yoga, a form that encourages relaxation. “Qigong is a little further away, but yoga has opened the door.”

Because some forms of yoga are downright strenuous, qigong appeals to yogis tired of the mat race. “I went to power-yoga studios and practiced in heated rooms crammed with people’s mats, shoved over each other,” said Kyle Burton, 27, from Los Angeles. “But once I was introduced to qigong and learned the difference between a muscle-based workout versus an energetic-based practice, I switched.”



  1. This is great article, I especially like the reference to the mat race – an offspring of the rat race phenomenon. It’s true, I see more people concerning themselves with what they’re putting into their bodies, treating their bodies and the bodies they choose to surround them…

    I believe that 2007 is a pivotal year for an amazing culmination – exciting things are happening and people of similar values are banding together in demand of a united consciousness! Lately, I’ve been having to remember to breath, stretch, meditate and stay quietly sober more than ever. I really would love to learn more about Qigong and how to integrate it into my life. Thanks for posting this, Dennis!

    Comment by Ingrid — May 5, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

  2. Thanks Ingrid. Go to this site for a start: http://hometown.aol.com/ddilday239/myhomepage/business.html

    I think reading Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine book is also a great way to learn about Qi Gong, though it is indirect.


    Comment by doctordilday — May 6, 2007 @ 12:09 am

  3. NY healing center place that you can find a peace of mind. to have a relax.

    Comment by NY healing center — December 30, 2008 @ 2:23 am

  4. NY retreat center here you can find peace of mind and relaxing place that you will surely like it.

    Comment by NY retreat center — January 9, 2009 @ 3:35 am

  5. […] chi: A Randomized Controlled Trial – A look at how to look at health and disease And Diabetes…. Tai chi or Qigong? A great tai chi article from the International Herald Tribune with a quote from my teacher’s […]

    Pingback by Index of Chiropractic, Tai Chi and other Wellness Posts « Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — August 13, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  6. Actually, it is accurate that Tai Chi is a form of Qi Gong. Qi Gong is a very broad term, and most definitely also includes martial forms.

    Comment by shape5 — August 25, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

  7. Thanks much for your comment, and your opinion. I don’t agree but that doesn’t matter. After a conversation we would likely end up in the same place. Again, thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

    Comment by doctordilday — August 26, 2014 @ 7:17 am

    • Ok – I’m just passing on the info that has come directly from chinese qi gong & tai chi grandmasters who come from a long family lineage of respected masters. Take it as you will.

      Comment by shape5 — August 27, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

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