Although there are many styles in Chi Kung, but there is one commonality. If we observed closely, we will see that breathing is in synchronization with the slow body movements. The combination of the breathing and movements is a biochemical-mechanical loop for completing the muscle contraction process. The muscle contraction requires energy. Thus, it raises the question where does the energy come from?

The muscle tissue consists of body cells. The muscle get the energy from the cells. Within the cell, there are organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondria are the power generators of the cell; using oxygen converting the glucose into the chemical energy. The chemical energy is adenosine triphorsphate(ATP) which powers the cell's metabolic activities. Hence the conversion of ATP from glucose requires the oxygen from breathing, the metabolic process is called cell respiration.

The ATP is used in any reaction we do that needs biological energy, such as breathing, heart beating, nerve message transmission and even lifting weights. ATP can be generated from two sources of oxygen. Hence, there are two processes for energy production depend on the sources. Anaerobic respiration uses the oxygen stored in muscles, in small quantity, can only produce a small amount of energy for one time; and aerobic respiration uses the oxygen from breathing which can generate a large amount of energy constantly.

There are only a small amount of oxygen stored in the muscles. When there is insufficient supply of oxygen in the blood, anaerobic respiration will use the stored amount to produce two molecules of ATP causing oxygen debt. Anaerobic respiration is the worse situation for the body to be in. It is because, with the absence of oxygen, the glucose is converted into lactic acid causing pain and fatigue in the muscles. However, anaerobic respiration only occurs in strenuous exercise.

In Chi Kung, anaerobic respiration will never take place inside the human body. The abdominal breathing method always provide a constant source of oxygen for aerobic respiration. The slow movement causing slight muscle contraction by utilizing the biochemical energy(ATP) produced by the mitochondria. Therefore, the biochemical-mechanical loop can be represented by the formula below:

Glucose + Ob + Om => H20 + CO2 + Heat + Energy
Ob is the oxygen we breathe into the lungs for aerobic respiration. Om is the small amount of oxygen stored in the muscles to be used for anaerobic respiration.
Energy is the number of ATP, in molecules, a dependent of oxygen.

Ob at the left of the formula indicates that the more oxygen we breathe in, the more Energy will be produced at the right. Only Chi Kung can accomplish this condition. The stored Om in muscles were never being used because there are no oxygen debt in Chi Kung practice due to the abdominal breathing method.

In strenuous exercise such as sprints, at the lactic threshold, the heart beats too fast. The heart contracts before the blood were filled completely. Therefore, there are not enough oxygen collected by the blood from the lungs for all the body cells. Due to the lack of oxygen(Ob), anaerobic respiration used the small amount of Om stored in the muscles. The formula becomes:

Glucose + Om => H20 + CO2 + Heat + Energy

The aerobic respiration can no longer take place to generate any more ATP until the oxygen(Om) was paid back to the muscles and breathing returned to normal. The glucose cannot breakdown to produce ATP without oxygen. Therefore, it was converted into lactic acid.

Author's Bio: 

Mr. James Lee is a practitioner of Tai Chi and Chi Kung for more than thirty years. Since his homeostasis was gained from the practice of Chi Kung, he would like to have the mystery of Chi Kung resolved once and for all by seeking a scientific explanation of the eastern concepts by integrating with the western modern science and technology. He is in the process of developing a DVD, may be called "The Simpleffective Chi Kung Method." The steps are simple and effective and easy to follow without verbal instructions; and they can be practiced almost anywhere at any time. May be he will share it with you someday, so everyone will be in a state of homeostasis. His email is