What is Qi Gong?

Qi Gong Healing HandsFirstly we need to look at what the Chinese characters qi gong 气功 actually mean. Qi sometimes written as Chi,  is somewhat difficult to translate and can have a number of different meanings depending what context it is used in. It is often translated as energy when used in the context of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, though Life Force may be a more meaningful and easier to understand term. Often, authors have classified the word Qi in the same basket as the Indian Ayurvedic word Prana, which again is often referred to as Life Force.

The concept of Life Force is the basic fundamental factor that differentiates modern western medical thinking and traditional Chinese medical thought. Modern medicine does not have any concept of Life Force. This energy or Life Force is all around us; hence Qi is sometimes translated as air or vapor. The Life Force also is within us, circulating in the meridians of the body and emanating at the acupuncture points. This Qi or Life Force can’t be seen, caught, measured or bottled and therefore western scientists conclude Qi doesn’t exist, and therefore traditional acupuncture is nonsense or at best, only works because of placebo.

Qi gong actually means qi cultivation

The Qi is cultivated through exercises that focus on specific types of breathing whilst simultaneously calming the mind. These exercises can involve stationary postures or gentle moving and stretching movements. In fact, many people refer to qi gong as moving or standing meditation. Other qi gong exercises can involve tapping the body at acupuncture points or energy centers sometimes called chakras in Indian yoga terminology. The main qi gong energy centre of the body is located just below the naval and called the dan tian.

There are many different styles and methods of qi gong including qi gong specifically for your own general health, qi gong to heal others and what is called hard style qi gong for kung fu martial artists.

However, all of the different qi gong styles have one common denominator amongst them all, and that is they require concentration and focus on the dan tian area below the naval at some stage of the exercise process.

The ultimate goal of performing qi gong exercises, is to improve physical health, increase mental alertness, prevent disease and even actually treat disease.

In the hospitals in China, you actually have qi gong doctors working in their own wards. When you undertake Traditional Chinese Medicine training in China you specialize in one of the fields of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tui na (Chinese therapeutic massage) or qi gong. Not many students opt to do the specialist training in qi gong because it is so time intensive and involved. It takes a lot longer to graduate as a qi gong doctor than as an herbalist or acupuncturist. Many hours of each day are spent actually doing the qi gong exercises to cultivate their Qi so their energy accumulates and becomes very strong so as to be able to heal other people.

Sometimes Qi is translated as aura which is the Life Force around the human body. Qi gong practitioners through their exercise training build up their aura which can be equated to building up their electro-magnetic force field around them. This strong force field around them can be re directed through the practitioner’s will power to go to the sick person’s aura.

Research has been done in China where scientists have measured the out come and the results of the qi gong practitioner’s healing intention. For instance, the practitioner was able to change the ion concentration in water, make plants grow faster and change the taste of food and wine.

Qi Gong healing on bodySome acupuncture practitioners have been doing qi gong for many years and use it along with their treatments. One method of applying the Qi is simply for them to place their hands on the patient and it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the problem area. When someone has been practicing qi gong exercises for many years, when they go into a qi gong or meditative state, their brain waves actually change. By the practitioner placing their hands on the patient, this altered brain wave state of the practitioner is transferred to the patient. Then the patient’s health benefits from this altered mind state. Research has confirmed that meditation ala the qi gong brain wave state can treat and improve many disorders including cancer. In Wellington, Xiao Meng who works from the Newtown Acupuncture Centre opposite Wellington Hospital,  is one such a gifted individual who after many years of cultivating his Qi is able to combine acupuncture with qi gong healing to further benefit the treatment outcome.

In order to benefit from the healing effects of Qi, it is suggested that a number of different treatments are combined. Acupuncture can specifically regulate the Qi circulation in the meridians; herbs have properties of specific Qi, such as warming, cooling and harmonising and are prescribed as depending what is needed by the body. If you take up learning and doing qi gong and meditation on a regular basis you will be able to improve the quality of your Qi and circulate the Qi to improve your health. This will also make any acupuncture or herbal therapy work even better for you. For very ill people or people aiming for optimum health balance, it would be of great benefit to receive qi gong healing.

I personally have traveled  to Hong Kong and China and observed Mr Shao Xing Xuan who has developed his own qi gong form, known as Han Yang Ru Yi Gong. To see a demonstration of Mr Shao’s qi gong healing sessions performed on me, please go to the YouTube link.

In the first few minutes of the movie, you will see other patients receiving the Qi when they were standing up. Please note that Mr Shao doesn’t actually touch the patient yet his qi gong healing will make the patient move around as if in a drunken walk. Just imagine when someone hits your funny bone and your elbow jerks involuntarily. The YouTube movie demonstrates how the healing effect of Qi can cause involuntary movements of the patient, only much more dramatic than the funny bone test.

Mr Shao when doing qi gong on me in the second part of the movie exemplifies the dramatic effect of the Qi on the human body. All the movements of myself twisting and shuddering on the floor were involuntary and during some of the spinal twists all my vertebra even cracked into place.

Results that can be achieved with qi gong are beyond what western science could comprehend.

One patient of Mr Shao Xing Xuan that I interviewed  had an incurable, inoperable liver tumour which had reduced by 60% with 3 months of qi gong treatment as confirmed by western medical tests. Other patients bound in a wheelchair would have their legs moving around in the air kicking out while seated in their chair. Patients on sleep apnoea machines would sell their machines after a few months. These people had regular healing qi gong sessions from Mr Shao and when possible also learnt and practised his style of qi gong exercises as well.

Qi Gong StanceMany patients coming to The Acupuncture Clinic continually ask “What else should I be doing to improve my health”. The simple answer is to take control of your own health and destiny and don’t rely on the marketing tactics implemented by pharmaceutical companies. Learn and practise a therapy that improves your Life Force, empowers you and has the potential to heal you such as Tai Qi, Yoga, Kung Fu, Meditation and Qi Gong.

Improving your own health is your responsibility. It’s your choice.

To learn Qi Gong in Napier see Cory Lee Waterreus.



About Heiko Lade

Hi, I'm Heiko Lade - qualified acupuncturist at The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings, New Zealand. If you would like to make an appointment for a consultation and treatment, please contact me.


  1. Travis B says:

    absolutely amazing video and a great article ! How can i get treatment of the style displayed in the video and what ailments is it best suited to treat ?
    I have to say i enjoy your site and the articles very much !
    Kind regards

    • Heiko Lade says:

      Hi Travis,
      Many of my patients still don’t believe it was a real video, and say its not possible. Admittedly, I was very sceptical even before I went. You would have to go to China/Hong Kong to see him to get treatment, though he does do trips to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Any ailments can be treated, from hay fever to cancer. If you are interested in doing a trip to see him, let me know as I hope to organise a special tour.

  2. Peter C says:

    Hi Heiko
    good article you are doing great work in promoting Qigong

  3. Hi Heiko,

    I’ve just watched your your tube video and have a couple of questions. I guess the first is how did it actually feel while you were laying there? it reminded me of the times when you are in bed and have an involuntary twitch, some of the other movements look like he is a puppet master moving you around the floor. second one would be is did you go there for a specific treatment and if so did it help it? last would be can you shay the guys contact details


    • Heiko Lade says:

      Hi Matt,
      The feeling when the qi gong treatment is being done on me is nothing out of the ordinary. I am still completely conscious and can still hear conversations around me and even talk with other people while my body was bending around etc. When I first lied down on the floor in this video, I was on the floor with my eyes closed and knew he was around somewhere, I could hear his steps, and then I felt like a magnet had been placed over my 3rd eye area. You know that feeling when you put two magnets together and you can feel the “force” in between, this is what it felt like on my 3rd eye. I opened my eyes and he was quite a way back from me. It is as if you can almost know just before hand that I am going to move into a funny posture, you sort of know you are doing it, but it is being done for you. While it was happening I had this excessive greasy type sweat pouring off me. Afterwards, I was really energised and clear headed, as if I had a run long. One of my patients, who went with me on this trip, you can see him lying on the couch in a couple of the camera angles, was absolutely exhausted, I almost had to carry him to the taxi and he would sleep the whole afternoon. I didn’t go for any specific problem, I go to just have re tuning treatments so to say and learn his qi gong form. He only speaks Cantonese and doesn’t take appointments so to say. When I go to see him, I go through one of his students who helps with phone calls etc. Some of my patients are interested in doing a trip for 10 days or so, get daily treatment and learn the form. One of his students is in Singapore and teaches there. Where are you based, New Zealand?

      • Hi Heiko,

        I’m based in Singapore, work with a friend of yours, (TB).

        I was interested as I’m often in HK but if you have a contact closer to home that would be great.



Please join the discussion by leaving a comment...

Please note: Your email is required but will not be displayed. Comments posted here will appear publicly on the website. If you have a private enquiry please email me via the contact page instead.