Background. The high prevalence of chronic neck pain in high income countries impacts quality of life and the social and work-related activities of those afflicted. We aimed to understand how mind-body therapies and exercise therapy may influence the experience of pain among patients with chronic neck pain. Methods. This qualitative interview study investigated how patients with chronic neck pain experienced the effects of exercise or qigong therapy at two time points: during an intervention at three months and after the intervention at six months. Interviews were analysed thematically across interviews and within person-cases. Based on other qualitative studies, a sample size of 20 participants was deemed appropriate. Results. The sample (n = 20) consisted of 16 women and four men (age range: 29 to 59). Patients' experiences differed according to the therapies' philosophies. Exercise therapy group interviewees described a focus on correct posture and muscle tension release. Qigong group interviewees discussed calming and relaxing effects. Maintaining regular exercise was easier to achieve with exercise therapy. Conclusions. The findings of this study may help health care providers when counselling chronic pain patients on self-help interventions by informing them of different bodily and emotional experiences of mind-body interventions compared to exercise therapy.