I understand your question quite well: I got to to a similar point during my journey. And I started to practice qi gong. It gave me a lot of benefits and I still do it. But there are some issues to consider.
Like you my background is a way of aikidō that refers more to the inner aspects and does not understand aiki as the blending of the exterior movements of tori and uke. (You mentioned Ikeda sensei, I practice with Endo sensei.)
1. Qi gong for sure will help you to understand your body better and it will give a feeling of the flow of qi in your body. You will learn to build a better structure of your body. "To stand better." You will become more relaxed. You will get aware of your body in a new way and will notice a lot of things going on you didn't feel before.
2. Reading into qi gong and daoist practice alltogether will make you familiar with a lot of topics and terms which are discussed in Ueshibas texts and which are discussed here on aikiweb: You will read about heaven-earth-man, about six direction, in-yo-ho and so on. So you will come to understand that the words of Ueshiba are not up in the clouds and are not only his thaughts, but taught elsewhere a lot.
Reading HIPS of Ellis Amdur will give you a nice intellectual connection between this world of daoist qi gong and Ueshibas aiki. And you will understand how worthfull the work of Chris Li is, who re-translates Ueshibas Texts, with a real understanding so he can more clearly express, what is meant in them, than other translators who didn't have a clue and had to put in their own understanding.
So: Qi gong helps. For sure.
You will still only learn external movements! Same thing like with most of aikidō. Qi gong digs a little deeper. But mostly it will not lead you straight into internal movement or IS or however you call it.
To get into this you need to find a teacher, who at least claims to teach internals.
This is my clear experience after having done things for some years and now for the first time having met someone who teaches explicetly internal work.
Second point, is what Dave said:
I enjoyed doing qi gong very much! It helps me to have a better day. But there is no cennection to martial / aikidō - practice. ("I can make my hands feel warm and prickling. - But not those of uke ...") So even with a lot of experience I didn't manage to transfer my qi gong into my aikidō. Except having a better posture and better equilibrium.
After just 2 1/2 days with someone who teaches explicetly internal work there is no question that this can be transferred to the martial arts.*
For sure. Makes a whole lot of sense!
So like Dave and others said: Find a teacher! Even travelling, it is worth it!
In my case this put all the pieces of the puzzle together and showed me the whole picture.
Even if I suck: At least now I know I do ...)
* And: Even without talking about qi or things like that my hands where warm and prickling! + In now understand my qi gong practice in a different way.