Complementary Health Approaches

Frequently Asked Questions

11. What are tai chi and qi gong?

Tai chi and qi gong are closely related practices from traditional Chinese medicine that combine specific movements, coordinated breathing, and mental focus.

Tai chi, which originated in China as a martial art, is a mind and body practice. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation”—practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently, and with awareness, while breathing deeply. Mind and body practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are being used by older adults for fitness and relaxation and for possible health benefits.

(Watch the videos to see tai chi and qi gong performed. To enlarge the videos, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner of the video screen. To reduce the videos, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

Researchers are studying whether tai chi or qi gong can help people manage symptoms associated with some chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and heart failure.