A Chinese exercise that has been described as "the secret to anti-aging," medical tai chi is proving increasingly popular in the U.S.
The technique, also known as qigong, looks similar to martial tai chi, but its slow movements are designed to boost the immune system and open acupuncture "chi" channels without using needles, according to Healing Tao Retreats.
Michael Winn, ex-president of the National Qigong Association, says the appeal of this technique lies in the fact that the less effort one makes, the more powerful the healing energy the exercise generates.
"Yoga and martial tai chi styles are also healthy alternatives, but qigong is medically far more effective," says Winn.
"[It] can be targeted to heal specific mental or physical illnesses. I’ve witnessed countless healings in people abandoned by the medical system," he emphasizes.
Dr. Bryan Lewis, an integrative healthcare expert, believes people are turning to alternatives like qigong because they cannot afford insurance premium costs which can be as high as $25,000 a year.
"The NIH knows that greater reliance on prevention and self-care is the only long term solution our national health system can afford," he says.
"If 200 million Chinese rely upon medical qigong for good health, why can’t Americans?" he asks.
Qigong has been used in China to heal chronic illness for more than 2,500 years.