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Qigong: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Need

By Master Mingtong Gu, founder of The Chi Center

Like India’s yoga and Tibetan Buddhism that migrated to the West, China’s cultural treasure, qigong, is taking hold in the United States and helping people attain their autonomy to gain and retain their health, balance, and happiness. In this way, qigong can help bridge the East and West and usher in a world of unity, balance, and peace.

The United States and China are already inextricably intertwined economically, and culturally we share a great many things from education to technology to architecture. However, tension is rising as experts predict China will become the largest economy in the world within ten years, displacing U.S. as the global superpower. According to Noah Feldman, author of Cool War, “Economic interdependence will mitigate this conflict–but cannot eliminate it altogether.” One way to individually and collectively alleviate conflict is with the 5000-year-old health and spiritual practice of qigong.

For thousands of years, qigong was taught to few, dedicated students but after the Cultural Revolution in China, due to the needs of the populace for healthcare and cultural healing, it became widely practiced and embraced by millions for its physical, emotional, and mental healing and spiritual realization properties. With the advance of qigong in the Chinese culture, doors opened for scientists and medical professionals to study the benefits of qigong and the selective and somewhat secretive teachings were replaced with groups of hundreds, even thousands, of practitioners.

In 1988, the founder of Zhineng (Wisdom Healing) Qigong, Grandmaster Pang Ming, trained in Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine, opened the largest medicine-less hospital in the world, the Huaxia Zhineng Qigong Clinic and Training Center (a.k.a., the Center). It was here that the ancient wisdom tradition of Qigong came alive and thus set an example for modern times for health, healing, and spiritual awakening.

At the Center, tens of thousands of cases over a period of eight years were scientifically documented. In a 1991 study, 7,936 patients showed an overall effective healing rate of 94.96%. (15.20% cured; 37.68% very effective; 42.09% effective.) In 2001, the Center closed for political needs of the government.

In the U.S., Tai Chi, one form of Qigong, has also been rigorously researched and documented in more than 700 peer-reviewed, scientific publications. In The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi (2013), Peter Wayne, Ph.D., suggests that Tai Chi is transforming Western health care into a more integrative medicine. Wayne states, “…Tai Chi plays an ambassadorial role, helping to integrate Eastern and Western approaches to optimize health.”
In general, qigong teaches integration, wholeness, and expanded and grounded awareness of the connectedness of all life. By opening up to the perception and experience of energy (qi/chi), qigong practitioners start to recognize and incorporate the presence of energy into their life’s experience. This can include physical healing, regulating the mind and emotional states, and cultivating their spirituality.

The three treasures of qigong inform us how to live in health, peace, and balance.  

1.    Pure qi activation accesses the source energy and not only allows us to expand the resources of health and life through direct experience of the creative energy of the universe, but also allows us to transcend the differences between all religious and spiritual traditions.

2.     Pure qi cultivation through gentle movements, sound, breath, visualization, and meditation, provides an experiential system, not only to bring the benefits of health and healing to the body but also to skillfully cultivate the power of the mind through working with energy (qi) as a link between mind and body and to all life. Therefore, qigong brings the practical (health and well-being) and the spiritual (connection with the wholeness and awakening of consciousness) together.

3.    Pure qi connection with all life between heaven and earth, not only taps into the collective and accumulative energy of love, wisdom, and joy, but also allows us to feel deeply connected with family, co-workers, and the community at large. By using qigong’s movements, visualizations, and sounds, we can make the connection between heaven and earth in our bodies and move out of fear and hate and into gentleness and kindness.

When we transform our own energy with the ancient technology of qigong, we transform the energy field of all humanity and the earth. Ultimately, as each human awakens to the possibility and responsibility of healing themselves, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, humanity can awaken to the same possibility as well as the responsibility of healing the planet.  

China and the United States have much to offer each other. In the United States, people don’t gather in hundreds to practice qigong, thus building a strong chi field that all can tap into, however, there is relatively more freedom in the West to explore the power of consciousness and its benefit to health and transformation. The gentle movements and mind-body-health approach of qigong can provide the best outlet for the next exploration of spirituality and health, therefore, making qigong a cultural envoy between East and West.  

Master Mingtong Gu is the founder of The Chi Center (TCC) based in Sonoma County, California. TCC offers on-going trainings including live stream online classes and in-person healing retreats for public and health professionals. For more information visit


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This article appears in:
2013 Catalyst - Issue 9

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