Chi Kung encourages to perform the abdominal breathing with slow movements to bring out its effectiveness in two folds. The abdominal breathing is to increase the volume of air intake; the slow movement is to increase the rate of cell respiration.

Under normal breathing, one inhalation of an average person is 500cc of air. If breathing 12 times per minute, then it would be 6 liters (500cc times 12). Those who practice Chi Kung under abdominal breathing may be up to 120 liters. Thus a Chi Kung practitioner inhales 20 times more oxygen by volume per minute than normal. The significant of the oxygen intake is the amount of the biochemical energy that can be generated by the body cells.

Under normal breathing, the body cells can only generate enough energy for the body to carry out its function. Under Chi Kung breathing, the energy generated by the body cells is more than enough for the body to function. Therefore, the excess of energy can be used to support the external activities of the body such as weight lifting. The body energy will be consumed as soon as it was generated; however, any unused portion will be collapsed after the next exhalation. New energy will be generated by the next inhalation. Another word, if the oxygen was not constantly provided to the body cells, then no energy will be generated. Thus the more oxygen provided the more energy will be generated.

Why is oxygen a dependent of the body energy ...??? It is because the breakdown of the glucose depends on the oxygen to decompose into water, carbon dioxide, heat and energy. The energy is the biochemical energy generated by the body cells called adenosine triphosphate(ATP). The more oxygen provided to the body cells, the more the ATP will be produced by the cell respiration process.

The rate of cell respiration depends on the speed of the Chi Kung movement with slight muscle contraction. The faster the movement, the faster the energy was produced and faster it consumes. In the contrary, the slower the breathing and movement, the more energy will be generated but at a slower dissipation rate. However, the energy that was not consumed will be available only for a very short time as reserve. The constant provision of energy allows the body to function more effectively and do strenuous work without fatigue. Unfortunately, under the normal breathing condition, there was no such opportunity for the reservation of energy and the body becomes tired more easily with any light task. Indeed, the effectiveness of Chi Kung for the body cells to generate the maximum amount of ATP energy was based on the abdominal breathing with the slow movement.

Please see a simplified Tai Chi demo:

Author's Bio: 

James S. Lee is a practitioner of Tai Chi and Chi Kung for more than thirty years. Since Chi Kung has a great effect on the human body, he is searching for a possible scientific explanation of Chi Kung with Western science. He feels that the old Chinese concept about Chi Kung is very ambiguous. Therefore, there must be another way to explain it for a better understanding. Email: