The Difference between Qigong and Neigong

Qigong and Neigong are both practices related to Chinese martial arts and healing, focusing on cultivating and manipulating the body’s energy, known as “qi” or “chi.” Though they share some similarities, they are distinct practices with different emphases and methods. Here’s how they compare:


Meaning: Qi means “life energy,” and gong means “work” or “skill,” so Qigong translates to “life energy work.”

Focus: Primarily emphasizes the cultivation, circulation, and harmonization of qi within the body to promote overall health, well-being, and sometimes spiritual enlightenment.
Techniques: Involves specific movements, postures, breathing techniques, and mental focus to guide the qi.

Accessibility: Often considered more accessible and straightforward, suitable for all ages and abilities.
Applications: Used for therapeutic, medical, and spiritual purposes, as well as martial arts.
Training: Typically taught more openly and structured, with many public classes and resources available.


Meaning: Nei means “internal,” and gong means “work” or “skill,” so Neigong translates to “internal work” or “internal skill.”
Focus: More focused on the internal aspects, such as the deeper connection between mind, body, and spirit. Often seen as a more advanced or profound practice that goes beyond mere energy manipulation.
Techniques: While also involving breath control and mental concentration, Neigong emphasises meditation and internal awareness more. It’s often more subtle and profound.
Accessibility: Generally considered more complex and challenging, sometimes seen as an advanced practice beyond Qigong.
Applications: Often connected to martial arts, with an emphasis on developing internal strength and power, but also has healing and spiritual aspects.
Training: Traditionally taught more secretly or within specific lineages, making it less accessible to the general public.

In summary, while Qigong is a more external and accessible practice emphasising the flow and balance of energy, Neigong is a deeper and often more secretive practice focusing on integrating and mastering mind, body, and spirit. Some practitioners may view Neigong as a continuation or deeper aspect of Qigong, while others see them as separate but related practices.