Medicine or Magic
This is not medical advise, but stick with me anyway...
After decades practicing and teaching TCM based Qigong, the question does come up...
Is TCM medicine or magic sorcery?
When you start talking energy to individuals just hearing the concept, its a bit of a jump to understanding the science behind it. After all, masters of the topic spend decades studying the theory. Now you have to find a way to convey thousands of years of evolving knowledge in just a sentence or so. No small task!
I think one of the most simple ways to explain qi (energy) within the human experience is to use western medical ideas.
Lets start with your heart. If you have complications with your heart, the doctor will connect a machine that will read the electrical pulses of the heart to see if it is steady, irregular, slow, fast etc. The key here is ELECTRICAL PULSES. Electrical. Electric. Energy...
Is this magic? or medicine?
In some ways, its both! Current day western medicine doctors are almost wizards at diagnostics with highly sophisticated technology. This same technology would have been considered magic only 100 years ago. It has more to do with education and understanding.
The power behind qigong - is that it teaches you become connected to your own energy, in a way that allows you to 'feel' what is happening. Sure, at the beginning levels - you may only have the awareness that something is not right, yet after time you can learn assessment methods and clues to help you discover what is out of balance, and what actions you can take to re-balance.
Lets start with a basic energy exercise (qigong) that you can do to connect to your qi (energy). Its called shaking the 9 gates.
Stand with feet hip distance apart on a flat and non-slip solid surface. Stand tall, head over heart over hips and relax your shoulders.
Now gently begin to shake your hands as if you are flicking water off the hands.
Then don't try to move the hand, instead lightly shake the shoulders.
Finally, let the hands and shoulders be natural, and carefully bounce a little on the ball of your foot to pump your calves.
Do this for maybe 10 seconds and work your way up to more time.
Then stop, and don't fidget. Stand still and feel the sensation of circulating qi and connecting to your energy.
(FYI - If you are uncertain about your balance, you can do this in a chair as well)