translates to "energy work" and is a relatively recently coined
umbrella term used to describe many types of Chinese "body
technology" developed in pre-industrial China.
Chi refers to "Chi
to work or effort or time.
Chinese medicine Chi energy is considered life energy, the blockage or
deficiency of which causes disease.
the defining features of Chi Gung is its "body friendliness".
For example Chi Gung advocates the 70% rule,
i.e., any movement or exertion is only taken to 70% and no more.
In contrast many Yoga schools advocate
muscular exertion and stretching to a much greater level.
In some types of Yoga the ball and socket
joints in the hips and facet joints in the spine are stretched into positions
that are only otherwise performed by elite gymnasts and contortionists.
These positions are risky and often produce
injury either quickly or slowly.
Indeed, although statistical evidence is
I have heard several anecdotes
of Yoga practitioners of several decades experience requiring surgical total hip replacement.
By keeping stretches and exertion to 70% of
maximum and concentrating on efficiency of movement and releasing of
unnecessary tension Chi Gung maintains a high degree of benefit for a low
degree of risk.
important to note that although Chi Gung advocates exertion to only 70%, it is
used as a primary practice by martial arts such as Tai Chi, Hsing-i, and Bagua, each
of which are at once considered internal or soft martial arts and effective
ones as determined by the success of their practitioners in mixed martial arts
The relaxing of
unnecessary muscle tension and clean movement from core of the body is
said to confer a speed that external or hard martial arts are not able to
So while Chi Gung is safe enough
to practiced by the very old or infirmed population, it is also of much use to
martial artists and athletes.