UNLABELLED Muscular dystrophy patients have often experimented with different alternative or complementary methods since there is at present no curative medical treatment. PURPOSE To evaluate, through qualitative analysis of interview data, the subjective experiences of twenty-eight patients with muscular dystrophy practising a complementary method, qigong. METHODS Semi-structured qualitative interviews were performed and data were analysed by a method inspired by Grounded Theory. The material was first coded into 119 categories, thereafter condensed to 59 categories through a constant comparison analysis. In the final analysis, six broad categories were formed out of these 59 categories. RESULTS These broad categories were: (1) experience of health care and alternative methods; (2) expectations, acceptance and compliance; (3) qigong as an adaptable form of exercise; (4) stress reduction and mental effects; (5) increased body awareness and physical effects; (6) psychosocial effects of group training. CONCLUSION Qigong was accepted as a novel exercise regimen and there was a wide variation of experience regarding it among the participants. Depending upon factors such as expectation of benefits, time available to do qigong and perceived effects doing it, compliance varied. One major advantage of qigong is the ability to adapt the different exercises to the physical capability of the person practising qigong. There were reports of mental, physical and psychosocial effects of the qigong, which reduced the feeling of stress and improved well-being.