What does Qi Gong mean?

What does qigong mean

What does Qi Gong mean?


There are many types of Qi within Taoist philosophy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, Tai Chi, Feng Shui, astrology etc. Qi does not have a direct translation from Chinese to English where the concept makes sense with our culture or heritage. Qi is not a noun, an object or a thing. It is a verb, a quality, an interaction or an activity of movement. When talking about qigong as a health preservation exercise system, I use this explanation as an easy to digest and relatable meaning for new beginners.


To benefit from the practice of Qigong you do not need to know what it is, or what it does, you only need to follow the practice. The message from all of my teachers has been, not to force the feeling of Qi, not to try and manipulate it or bring forth a certain Qi result as this will cause ill health. Instead, follow the principles of Qigong, the physical alignment of the body, the choreography and movements, develop body sensitivity and awareness and combine with abdominal breathing. This is what cultivates Qi.


In the physical body, qi, blood and moisture are inseparable. They each have their own function in the body, yet work together interdependently.

  • Blood is a tangible substance and is the mother or Qi.
  • Qi is the activity of movement within the blood, to generate, move and hold, and is invisible and non-tangible.
  • Moisture is the viscosity of the blood and is visible.

Without blood, the human body could not sustain life.

Without qi as the "activity of movement" in the blood, the blood slows down, circulation becomes poor, leading to the blood stagnating and pooling.

Without moisture in the blood, the blood congeals, thickens and clots, and on the other end of the scale with too much moisture the blood becomes too thin.

All three in harmony create healthy blood flow.

In the body on a basic level qi = healthy blood flow.

The meaning of Qigong
The meaning of Qong


Consider kung fu also known as gong fu.

Gong = skill achieved through applied effort, skilful work, skill achieved through determination, hard training etc.

Fu = time spent, over time, long duration etc.

Gong fu is commonly used to describe Chinese martial arts and other related disciplines that are trained for fitness and conditioning, self-defence and personal spiritual development. However, the term gong fu can relate to any practice or skill that requires dedication and effort. You can describe someone as having good gong fu, as a positive statement about their character and internal drive/motivation.

Commonly Chinese martial arts are given the term wu shu, where wu means war and shu means art. However, in the modern world, wu shu is often used to describe contemporary Chinese martial arts that combine martial application with athletic performance for sport and competitions.

Qong fu = (martial) skill achieved through applied effort over time.


Qi gong = healthy blood flow achieved through applied effort over time.

Qi gong is an ancient Chinese physical exercise practice that combines the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with an aligned posture, focused, deliberate, dynamic movements and diaphragmatic breathing. It is a complete system that promotes internal healing, health and longevity.

Many use the literal translation of qi gong as ‘energy work’, which is a little simplistic and is associated more with the new age movement and not the traditional meaning.

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