What is Qigong?

Qigong can be described as a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one's mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing technique, self-massage, sound, and focused intent. There are likely thousands of qigong styles, schools, traditions, forms, and lineages, each with practical applications and different theories about Qi (“subtle breath” or “vital energy”) and Gong (“skill cultivated through steady practice”). The mission of the National Qigong Association is to help each individual find a path that best supports their personal goals, and to evolve this amazing energetic science.

Trademarking Qigong Terminology?

The following is a policy statement issued by the National Qigong Association’s Board of Directors, at their June 13, 2019 meeting, regarding current attempts in the United Kingdom to trademark generic Qigong terminology.

Whereas the wording “Health Qigong” or “Qigong for Health” is considered a generic wording for many qigong practices, the NQA finds in the interest of global qigong practice, that these words are a generalized term and therefore cannot be trademarked. “Health Qigong” or “Qigong for Health” are not legally capable of being trademarked in the United States of America.

What are the Benefits of Qigong?

Qigong opens the flow of energy in meridians used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It enhances our ability to feel the Life Force underlying the physical world and to deepen our communication with it.

Physically, slow gentle qigong movements warm tendons, ligaments, and muscles; tonify vital organs and connective tissue; and promote circulation of body fluids (blood, synovial, lymph). Thousands of studies have shown qigong effective in helping to heal life challenges ranging from high blood pressure and chronic illness to emotional frustration, mental stress, and spiritual crisis.

How Do I Choose a Path?

Qigong is a general term used to describe a wide variety of training paths, which all have intrinsic benefits, but differ in areas focus, intention, and methodology. Under the umbrella of Qigong, there are two greater paths: the primary of personal cultivation and the secondary of clinical application.

  • Personal Cultivation: All Qigong paths begin as a personal journey of self-discovery through the use of movement, breath, and intention. Although some practitioners may independently determine how and what to practice, the NQA also recognizes the benefits of working with an experienced teacher.
  • Clinical Qigong: Clinical Qigong Professionals, drawing upon their depth of training, study, and self-cultivation are able to effectively use qi transmission methods and teach prescriptive Qigong exercises and/or meditations which are based upon a variety of diagnostic and assessment systems to restore health and wellness.

Within the larger path of Personal Cultivation, there are a number of different paths of cultivation:

  • Health Qigong: A self-cultivation practice to prevent dis-ease and to improve, sustain, and maximize overall wellbeing.
  • Clinical Qigong: A practice where the teaching of self-cultivation and clinical applications are intertwined throughout a curriculum wherein clinical abilities develop as personal cultivation evolves.
  • Martial Qigong: A practice that increases one’s defensive and offensive martial abilities.
  • Spiritual Qigong: A unity practice to increase a practitioner’s connection to the transpersonal—heaven, earth, humanity, and source.

A Note on the Term "Medical Qigong”

Due to the breadth and richness of the many applications of the words “medical” and “medicine” in the Qigong context, the NQA has consciously removed the term "Medical Qigong" from its descriptions above. The definition of “Medical Qigong” ranges from clinically-oriented Qigong with a certified professional to a personal practice of Qigong for health maximization or a medical challenge. However, the NQA recognizes and supports those who use the term "Medical Qigong" in honoring their distinct tradition or understanding of the phrase.

How can I learn if there aren't any teachers near me?


If there are no instructors in your area, many teachers regularly travel to give workshops in all regions of the country. 

We Suggest the Following Options:

  • Explore some of the many excellent instructional books and videos available to get a feel for modalities and instruction styles
  • Seek referrals in your area and visit local classes, talk to instructors to get a feel for their teaching style
  • Attend NQA annual or regional conferences and events to sample many styles of Qigong and practitioners from around the world
  • Once you find a style and instructor you feel comfortable with, it is important to develop a consistent, daily practice
  • When beginners ask, "What is the most important aspect of practicing Qigong?" The answer is always..."just do it."

The National Qigong Association does not use nor recognize the terms Master and Grandmaster.

Five Treasures DVD
Discover Qigong for yourself and your friends.
Simple and  inspirational.

What is Qigong? by the National Qigong Association
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Inquiries for permissions beyond the scope of this license may be made by contacting us.


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