Can Practicing Qigong Cause More Harm Than Good?

An inquiring mind asks:

Question: I bought your book ‘Shaolin Chi Kung’ but I’m concerned about something I read elsewhere. That someone who practices Qigong without formal training under the guidance of a Master could do themselves more harm than good.

Could you give me some advice on how best to practice Qigong safely and effectively?

Marcus: Here’re 3 things to consider:

1) Not all Qigong is the same

You’ll notice that some Qigong looks like mini Tai Chi sets made up of only 3 or 4 moves. The 18 Qigong exercises from my book fit into this category.

Then you have Qigong that doesn’t have any ‘moves’. The practitioner simply gets into position and holds that stance. From the outside they appear to be doing nothing. Zhan Zhuang, Small Universe and Big Universe are examples of this type of Qigong.

2) Follow the instructions to the best of your ability

The 18 Qigong exercises in my book are very safe to practice without the guidance of a Master.


Because they’re made up of more than one ‘move’. So if you get that move wrong it’s not the end of the world. And the PERFECT Qigong System I teach in the book has many safety features built into it.

If you’re the kind of person who can follow instructions (you’d be amazed how many people can’t) then you can gain valuable Qigong benefits safely.

3) It’s not what you can see that’s important

There are 3 levels of enhancing and building energy flow through the meridians (energy streams) of your body:
Zhan Zhuang Qigong Exercises

  • By practicing 3 or more Qigong exercises in one set. At this level the focus is on using the exercises performed in a Qigong State of Mind (QSoM) to enhance energy flow. Medical Qigong and Self Manifested Qi Flow are good examples of this type of Qigong.
  • By practicing 1 Qigong exercise. At this level the focus is on performing the exercise in a QSoM combined with the correct breathing (if applicable). This is my preferred method of practicing Qigong.
  • Advanced Qigong techniques e.g. Zhan Zhuang, Big Universe, Small Universe etc. Personally I believe these techniques are impossible to learn from a book or DVD because so much of their ‘performance’ is internal. You can’t see it. These techniques make use of the mind to enhance and build energy flow.

I used to think you could learn anything from a book, until I got my first skateboard


If learning physical movements you can see from a book or DVD is so difficult, imagine how hard it is to learn the internal stuff.


It’s hard enough to get advanced Qigong techniques right with the guidance of a great Qigong teacher (ask me how I know!). Which is why I think you’re insane if you believe you can learn advanced stuff from a book or DVD.

At best you’ll just waste your time and money. At worst you’ll slowly cause yourself insidious harm that is likely to go unnoticed for a long period of time and may appar to be untreatable by western medicine.

And that’s why I only teach advanced material face to face.

To wrap this up for you…

If you can follow instructions then the material in my book: Shaolin Chi Kung – 18 Exercises To Help You Live A Longer, Healthier And Happier Life — is incredibly safe to learn.

Sure, the benefits you’ll get will be less than if you learned Qigong directly from me. But they’re still worthwhile.

Plus, let’s not forget the huge upside of learning from a book…

You get to learn at your own rate, in the comfort of your own home without travelling 1000’s of miles and spending 1000’s of dollars.

There’s a lot to be said for that.

Enjoy your practice!

Kindest regards