Alternate Names

  • Chi Kung
  • Qi Therapy
  • External Qigong
  • Internal Qigong


Principal Proposed Uses

Other Proposed Uses


The term Qigong refers to various systems of breathing exercises and physical postures that are thought to improve general health by following the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine . More precisely, this is internal Qigong, or Qigong practiced by a person for his or her own benefit. Expert Qigong practitioners may also use their training to treat other people, a practice called "external Qigong," or, alternatively, "Qi Therapy." Internal Qigong is said to increase one's overall vitality and health by facilitating the free flow of Qi in the body. The term "Qi" refers to a supposed underlying "energy" in the body, as conceptualized in the ancient medical systems of East Asia. (There is no scientific evidence for the existence of Qi.) Those who practice External Qigong claim to have developed so much mastery of Qi they can project it into others. Methods related to modern Qigong are mentioned in Chinese texts dating back more than three millennia. Qigong bears a close relationships to the martial arts traditions of East Asia, but, like Tai Chi , it has been adapted primarily for health rather than fighting. Qigong also has strong historical connections with metaphysical and religious traditions, but it has become popular more recently as a purely secular exercise. This evolution is similar to that of yoga . Cults may form around practitioners of external Qigong. The present-day Qigong master Li Hongzhi can, reportedly, turn invisible, levitate, teleport himself through space, and control people's thoughts. His tens of millions of followers, known collectively as the Falun Gong, have achieved sufficient political power in China to have been banned.

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