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What is Qi Gong?

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What is Qi Gong?

By: Gregg St.Clair, L.Ac.

Everything is Energy, that’s all there is too it!

~Albert Einstein

Qi Gong


I’m often asked how I became an acupuncturist and came to study Chinese Medicine as a profession. The simple answer is, because I wanted to learn more about Qi. Qi (sometimes spelled Chi- pronounced Chee) means energy and Gong means study, so quite simply, Qi Gong is the study of energy.

What is Qi?

Qi is the energy that animates our body, extracts nutrients from food for nourishment, allows us to think, move and breathe, and buoys our spirit. I have a BA in Philosophy, with a concentration in Eastern Thought—  particularly Zen, Buddhist and Hindu practices, but it was really Taoism, the Chinese Philosophy on how to live in tune with Nature, that sparked my interest.

In 1991, I purchased the book, The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity, by Daniel Reid, which became a seminal book in my life and a turning point where I not only studied these philosophies, but I began to live them. I began practicing Tai Chi Chuan, and doing energy based meditations; and as my studies became practice I began to realize that the basis of the whole system, from the meridians in acupuncture, herbs and massage used in Chinese Medicine, to the more esoteric spiritual practices, was based on this thing called Qi.

The three types of Qi Gong

There are three types of Qi Gong: medical, martial and spiritual. The medical can be used as exercises to prevent disease and promote longevity, or for specific exercises to treat diseases, almost like the way we might see a physical therapist here in the west.

Tai Chi Chuan is a Qi Gong practice that is a martial art and we have punches, kicks and postures that can all be used for both offensive or defensive applications. The spiritual Qi Gong is a system to tap into our potential and raise our consciousness and even obtain enlightenment. After practicing the spiritual and martial Qi Gong, I decided I wanted to learn more about how this Qi works in the body, and moved to San Diego, California in 1997 to begin studying Chinese Medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. It was here that I truly began to learn about this wonder called Qi.

The mind and body are connected

To the Chinese, we are not a body that has energy, we are energy that has a body! It is interesting that Western Medicine is based on Newtonian Physics which looks at the body like a machine, but Chinese Medicine is based more on Quantum Physics that states that when matter is broken down to its smallest components (Quanta) all that is there is energy. Only now is Western Medicine starting to understand that the mind and body are connected, but that philosophy is an underlying fact in Chinese Medicine.

With Qi Gong exercises, we can not only work on the body for health, but work on calming and centering the mind, releasing stored negative energy and tapping into the deepest parts of our psyche and spirit. When our energy is abundant we will have more health, feel better, be happier and be able to help others. Is it any wonder I was so interested in finding out more about Qi? If everything is energy, that makes Qi Gong one of the most important practices we can embark on to plug in, recharge and energize our lives! It is my personal belief we should all have a practice to help us tap into our authentic selves and Qi Gong can be a tool to open the door to miraculous wonders.


Gregg St. Clair

Gregg St.Clair is a New York State licensed acupuncturist with his Master ’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a teacher at the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy. He teaches locally and nationally and has a healing Qi Gong Class once a month in Clifton Park. To find out more about Gregg St. Clair or purchase his book The Natural Health Companion, go to

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Administrative Office: (518) 489-4026 | Student Massage Clinic: (518) 489-4068 | Fax: (518) 489-0522