Culture-Bound Syndromes: Qigong Psychotic Reaction

Qigong (pronounced chee-gung) is the ancient Chinese folk health-enhancing practice and exercise of vital energy, specifically, the movement of vital energy throughout the body. Qigong psychotic reactions result when individuals engage in erroneous or excessive practice of qigong. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, qigong psychotic reactions are “acute, time-limited episodes characterized by dissociative, paranoid, or other psychotic or nonpsychotic symptoms” occurring after participation in qigong.


The exercise of vital energy has been an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts since 500 BCE. Combining the exercise of body (qi) and mind, qigong is considered a form of psychotherapy in Eastern cultures, and it has become a widely accepted alternative form of psychotherapy in Western cultures. Similar practices ...

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