Qi gong is a broadly defined traditional Chinese therapy that uses low-to-moderate intensity exercise and posture, movements, meditation, and breathing patterns. Qi gong attempts to regulate mind, body, and breath. Tai chi, a relatively well-known form of traditional Chinese exercise, is one specific type of Qi gong. Other practices such as meditation, yoga, and Reiki therapy are also considered parts of Qi gong.
Qi gong is used for treating pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, depression, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and stress and fatigue. It is also used for preventing osteoporosis and falls, for maintaining weight loss, and for general health and exercise.
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for QI GONG are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Qi gong for these uses.
“Qi” means “vital energy” or “life force” and “gong” means “work” or “discipline.” So, “Qi gong” can be translated to mean “energy work.”
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that disease is caused by a blockage or unbalanced energy flow in the body. Like many therapies in traditional Chinese medicine, Qi gong is thought to help unblock or balance energy flow and help the body heal.
Several Qi gong exercises have been developed to specifically open the 12 energy channels or “meridians” in the body that are recognized in traditional Chinese medicine. Opening these channels allows Qi to flow throughout the body.
There is interest in using Qi gong to boost body defense (immunity) in older adults. Developing research shows that a combination of Tai chi and Qi gong causes older adults to develop more immunity after receiving a flu shot.
There is interest in using Qi gong to improve physical activity in older adults. In these people, Qi gong exercises produce a moderate level of exertion. Qi gong increases heart rate and feelings of exertion about as much as walking. A combination of Tai chi plus Qi gong exercise also appears to improve balance in older people.
There are no known safety concerns. So far, no harmful side effects have been reported.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of Qi gong during pregnancy and breast-feeding. If you are pregnant, check with your healthcare provider before starting Qi gong or any other exercise program.
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines.
Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
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