Chi Kung has a tremendous reputation in China, and increasingly, around the world, as a self-healing art. But many of the reported benefits of this art come from anecdotal experience, not scientific studies. For instance, I could tell you about the many ways Chi Kung has helped me, and about how, for instance, Chi Kung has helped ease the symptoms of depression in several practitioners in our school, but these personal accounts do not carry the same weight as scientific research, which is typically done under controlled conditions.

So what does the science on Chi Kung say about the benefits of this art? Recent years have seen a spike in research on Chi Kung and related arts like Tai Chi. PubMed, the online database of the National Institutes for Health, currently lists the results of more than seven hundred studies on Chi Kung (spelled “Qigong” as a search term), a majority of which were published within the last decade. The research on Tai Chi is even more extensive: PubMed currently lists close to 2,500 studies on Tai Chi.

In one study, published in 2013, researchers examined the effectiveness of Chi Kung in managing the symptoms of depression in patients who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. The findings were promising: the researchers found that study participants who did Chi Kung experienced an “antidepressive effect.” In short, the study provides evidence that Chi Kung may help alleviate symptoms of depression. These results seem consistent with the experiences of practitioners in our school.

The growing body of research suggests that Chi Kung may offer a whole host of benefits, such as:

• better sleep

• better cognition

• relief from chronic pain

• lower blood pressure

• greater strength

• improved balance

• better quality of life

Some of the studies look at the effects of Chi Kung in different demographic groups, such as adolescents and seniors. Other studies examine the use of Chi Kung for patients who are getting treatment for breast cancer, knee arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, and COPD, among other conditions. Browse the research yourself, then check out my upcoming classes.

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