How Qi Gong Can Help You Recover From Surgery

Holden QiGong
5 min readOct 9, 2021


Recovering from surgery can be a long and difficult process. If you’ve ever gone through a medical operation, you know it can lead to pain, stiffness, and discomfort. Depending on the procedure, it can sometimes cause unforeseen changes to your body. Basically, healing after surgery can be challenging, to say the least.

At Holden QiGong, we receive a lot of questions from our students. Practitioners who know the power of Qi Gong are always eager to apply it to whatever adversity comes their way. Needless to say, one of these adversities is recovering after surgery. Today, we’re going to explore the important role of Qi Gong in the process of healing after a medical operation. Although we focus on surgeries, the same lessons apply to the recovery process from other injuries as well.

How We View Surgery

Everything in the physical world is constantly changing. As physical beings, it’s only a matter of time before something happens to our body that challenges us. Sometimes, we can heal ourselves using Qi Gong or other natural medicine remedies. In fact, sometimes those are the only ways in which we can heal. In other cases, we need something different to recover from an injury or illness. Surgery is one of the most powerful tools available when it comes to several different kinds of ailments.

Before we continue, let’s establish one important fact: At Holden QiGong, we view Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine as complementary practices. As such, we recognize that surgical procedures have an important role in our society. While it’s great to do whatever you can to stay healthy through personal self-care, there are simply things that are beyond your control in this world. No one has all of the answers, and no practitioner is above the forces of nature or mortality. When certain illnesses or injuries occur, the most healthy and empowered choice you can make is to accept help from Western Medicine. The crucial point is to not only rely on Western Medicine but also to do your own part in the healing process.

Although surgery can be a wonderful gift, it still has plenty of its own weaknesses and shortcomings. Unlike Qi Gong, surgery is not a natural process for your body. During a medical operation, powerful external energies are introduced that can have a profound impact on your body, both positively and negatively. Even when a surgery is completely successful, you’re still injuring and weakening a part of your being that must later recover.

In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, we view surgery as an extremely “yang” way of healing. It works within the concrete, physical confines of your being without really addressing the energetic qualities of who you are. Therefore, many patients find themselves feeling imbalanced and disconnected after a severe operation or procedure.

Blending Western and Eastern Medicine

While surgery has an important role in healthcare, so does Qi Gong. At Holden QiGong, we don’t view Western Medicine as a “competitor” of Qi Gong and Chinese Medicine. Rather, we seek to find ways in which the two can work together. Sometimes, surgery is what is required to address a given ailment. However, Qi Gong is probably one of the best ways to help ensure a healthy recovery process.

After surgery, your doctors will likely tell you to take pain medications and stay relatively immobile until you have recovered. You can’t blame them, they’re offering the recommendations and resources that they learned in medical school. Indeed, it is important to reduce pain and ensure that you don’t aggravate a part of your body that is recovering. However, most doctors don’t know very much about Qi Gong.

The healing process is the perfect place for Qi Gong to blend beautifully with Western Medicine. After surgery, your body typically experiences severe blockages where stagnant energy accumulates. Lee often reminds his students that “flowing water doesn’t get stagnant,” and also that “the hinges of an active door don’t get rusty.” Well, if you’re sitting on the couch waiting for your surgery to heal you can be pretty certain that your Qi is getting stagnant and rusty. A stiff leg or frozen shoulder are clear indicators that your Qi is pretty darn stagnant.

Fortunately, Qi Gong offers many wonderful practices that work with the body to restore your energy without harming you. Generally, gentle flowing movements are the best way to remove blockages and cultivate flexibility.

If you do slow, intentional movements in the area of injury, you’ll help to maintain fluidity and flow in your physical body. However, when doing Qi Gong after surgery, it’s very important to not overdo it. Pay close attention to how you feel and don’t rush. The point isn’t to do a lot of movement, but just to do whatever feels right and best for you in the present moment.

Energetically, the increased flow of Qi throughout your body will help to speed up the healing process. It can also help to reduce the pain and your dependency on pain medications. Just remember to move slowly and with intention, and to focus your mind on the flow of energy throughout your body.

Practicing Qi Gong during the healing process also has some great benefits for your mind and emotions as well. Surgery doesn’t just cause stagnation in your body but also affects the energy of your entire being. As you practice, imagine your Qi flowing throughout your body, including to the place where the injury or surgery took place. By doing Qi Gong during your recovery journey, you can feel more empowered and confident throughout the challenges you face.

Lee’s 30 Day Challenge offers many great routines that include flowing exercises. These are usually intended to help you start your day with energy and vitality, but can also serve as great practices for healing and recovery.

Again, just make sure you focus on the flowing movements and refrain from activating or stretching exercises that may be too engaging. All situations are different, so the important point is to find attunement with your own body so you know what your own personal needs are. While undergoing surgery is an extremely passive activity, recovery can be an active process. Learn more about the 30 Day Challenge today and discover some great practices for health and healing.