Qigong is a somewhat controversial practice that is purported to have vast health benefits.
It is, in short, a series of exercises that seek to balance the energy of the human body, first within itself and then ultimately with all of creation.
Intrinsic with this spiritual idea is the improvement of health and the curing of disease.
In many ways, it is the spiritual component that gives many western health experts the most trouble.
However, ground breaking research is currently going on that is attempting to lay aside the spiritual facet of this training and look at the results. And on that front, there are some tantalizing data.
Many Western medical experts and quite a few practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine view qigong as only a set of breathing and movement exercises, with the benefits tied to stress reduction and exercise.
In addition, any practice that encourages movement and is practiced consistently will result in an increased range of motion and improved joint flexibility and resilience. There are also mental benefits that come through focusing on the calm exercise.
The other, spiritualistic camp, have no issue with this view but add that the exercises facilitate the movement of the life force called Qi. It is more than mere movement, according to the adherents: it is more a matter of generating and balancing this force and then rectifying with the universe itself.