I don't know quite why it is. Maybe it is simply caution about the unknown, like trying a new vegetable when you were a kid.
Sometimes people act a little nervous or uncomfortable when I mention Qi Gong (sometimes spelled Chi Kung). I'm guessing it might be because of that odd group that was in the news several years ago. I don't know anything about falun gong, but I do know Qi Gong, and it is nothing to be afraid of - it's better than trying brussel sprouts for the first time, that's for sure.
Qi Gong is basically just "energy work".
Think about junior high science class. Energy can mean electricity, magnetism, or it can be anything that produces an effect. Like the bowling ball on the shelf that produces the kinetic energy that produces the effect of denting your floor if the ball falls down. Qi is energy.
Gong is work, and tied to the idea of carrying energy. Kinetic energy in a hammer does the work of pounding a nail that produces the effect of building a house.
In this case the "energy" we are talking about is life energy. In China it is called Qi, in Japan it is "Ki" (like Reiki). Old Greek and European physicians like Galen, Hippocrates, and Paracelcus called it "vital force". Whatever the name, it all means the same thing...that special something that makes us alive.
"Gong" in this case is simply working with the life force vital energy to bring mind and body into balance to help us have better mental outlook, fitness and health.
Qi Gong relies on visualization (focused imagination) and gentle movements to help move and balance life energy, to improve our health, and support mental well-being. To use Qi Gong effectively, you need a teacher. Think about the building a house example. Anyone can learn to pound a nail with a hammer. It isn't really all that hard, but just pounding nails all willy-nilly doesn't accomplish much unless you know what you are doing. You need the special know-how of a good contractor to build it right. The same is true with Qi Gong. You need to learn to do it right for it to really work at its best and cause no harm.
On August 18, 2012 Internationally known marital artist Master Nick Gracenin will be offering a Qi Gong workshop at 10 am at 1240 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon PA (the Unitarian Universalist Church at Sunnyhill). The cost is $40. A Bagua workshop will follow at 11 am. Take both workshops for a discount...$70 total. Please contact Dr. David Clippinger to register at 412-480-9177.
(Bagua is a type of internal style Chinese martial arts...think "airbending" if you watch the cartoon "Avatar: The Last Airbender")