Qi-gong is a healing method in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is an exercise to regulate the mind and breathing in order to control or promote the flow of Qi. Since Qi plays such an important role in the vital processes of the human body, the regulation of Qi flow is therefore used to preserve health and treat disease. Medical qi-gong, the qi exercise practiced to prevent and treat disease, is different from general physical exercise. While physical exercise is aimed at building up health or restoring physical functioning by enhancing strength, medical qi-gong is focused on the mobilization of functional potentialities by regulating the mind. In other words, physical exercise is purely somatic, while qi-gong exercise is generally psycho-somatic. Another important difference between physical exercise and Qi-gong is that physical exercise expends energy by tensing the muscles and accelerating the heart beat and respirations, while qi-gong works to ease, smooth and regulate breathing to store up or accumulate energy in the body.
Medical Qi-gong can be divided into two main categories: internal qi-gong, which is practiced by the patients themselves to preserve and promote their own health, and external qi-gong, which is performed by a Qi-gong master on a person with health problems. Practicing internal qi-gong requires regulation of the mind, body and respiration. There are many kinds of internal qi-gong, some with motion and others without. Qi-gong can be practiced while sitting still, standing upright, or lying on the back or side. The basic requirement is to stay comfortable and relaxed.