Using Qi Gong to improve health

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
November 13, 2007 9:00:00 PM PST
Many people looking to improve their health are turning to an Asian technique known as Qi Gong.Experts say the exercise provides very specific health benefits. With more, Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

Qi Gong, like acupuncture and yoga, comes from Asia. It is one of the health practices called energy medicine that have gained popularity in recent years. The Qi Gong exercise is one that also involves mental attention, as well as a lot of muscle strengthening and balance.

It is slow, graceful and mindful. It focuses on breathing, flexibility, muscle strength and balance.

Michelle Gallina began Qi Gong when her son started a martial arts class two years ago.

She says the practice is helping both her body and her mind.

"I have severe asthma and cardiovascular problems," she said. "It has helped me relax, and it's gotten me through some tough times."

A class is Edgewater, New Jersey, is taught by Master Karl Romain, a Kung Fu world champion. But Qi Gong can be found at many gyms, martial arts schools and even health spas.

"Qi means energy, or life force, internal force," Romain said. "And Gong is about work or effort. So it's about using your life force to make your body healthier. It's about mind, body and spirit."

Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz writes about Qi Gong in the best selling book, "Staying Young," that he co-authored.

He says Qi Gong can help us stretch and stay loose and balanced in both mind and body.

"It makes us limber, and to understand where our body is, even when we're not looking at it," Dr. Oz said. "So it allows us to cope with the day-to-day struggles of being human."

"I'm getting younger, thats what I'm doing," Qi Gong studier Beverly Deevers said.

Deevers is nearing 60. She began classes five months ago when she happened to walk by the school. She came in with asthma and bad knees.

"And I'm amazed," she said. "I'm just totally amazed at how I've changed in just five months. And my knees. I can do my horse stances. I can breathe better and I sing a lot too, so it's helped my singing."

Qi Gong does require commitment, and as you heard, people say it helps them. But there are no large studies in this country documenting the benefits. Reportedly, there are many Chinese studies that prove its value, but they aren't known in this country. Still, for people who need a soothing practice, Qi Gong may be helpful. But don't forget to get some cardiovascular sweating along with it.

For more information, visit:

Energy Medicine: An Overview