(redirected from Qi Gong)
Also found in: Dictionary, Medical, Wikipedia.
Enlarge picture
Various exercises are associated with the practice of qigong. Such religious groups as the Falun Gong in China use qigong to manipulate qi energy for physical and spiritual benefits. Getty Images.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The term qigong refers to a set of practices integrated into traditional Chinese exercise, meditation, and healing practices. The practices are tied together by the belief in qi (also known as chi or ki), the universal energy existing throughout the cosmos. In psychic circles, qi is usually identified with prana, spirit, and other names for cosmic energy. In traditional Chinese healing practices, such as acupuncture, qi is pictured as flowing through the body along a number of invisible channels called meridians. Disease is the result of blockages of the normal energy flow through the body.

Qigong has both its esoteric side, known only to a few master practitioner-teachers, and a practical side, as demonstrated in the popular practices in which the public engaged. Qigong masters traditionally horded their knowledge and passed it on orally to a few successors. The role of qigong radically changed after the Chinese revolution. The Maoist government suppressed the Taoist and Buddhist centers and monasteries from which most qigong teachings were generated and oversaw the destruction of numerous qigong texts. As a result, some teachers fled to southeast Asia and the west, and some of the texts began to be published.

The height of suppression of traditional practices in China, viewed by many as superstitious practices, occurred during the decade of the cultural revolution that began in 1966. In the aftermath, Chinese leadership began a reevaluation of traditional culture, one result of which was the encouragement of qigong. A national association of qigong groups emerged and the practice flourished. At the same time, several teachers established themselves in the west.

Qigong reemerged as a secular practice, though some connection to Taoism and Buddhism, which were also reemerging at the same time, continued. The teachings about qi as the underlying cause of qigong’s value helped the practice retain some of its religious connections. It also led to the appearance of parapsychologists in China who carried out a number of experiments attempting to scientifically verify the existence of qi.

One effect of the reemergence of qigong was the founding of a number of new groups, which were more or less attached with the national qigong association, to perpetuate its practice. One such group, called Falun Gong, was founded in the 1990s by Master Li Hongzhi. It ties the practice to a variety of traditional Buddhist ideas, but as a total set of teachings it was a new religious movement in which qigong practice was an essential tool leading to enlightenment. Li left China in 1996 and now resides in the United States.

Falun Gong claimed millions of practitioners inside China by the end of the 1990s. It also came under attack. It was independent of the national association and was advocating a new religious teaching independent of the state-approved China Buddhist Association at its temples. After a newspaper criticized Falun Gong on April 25, 1999, some 10,000 members engaged in a silent protest at Tiananmen Square in front of the government buildings in Beijing. This demonstration, which came as a surprise to government security forces, had a completely opposite effect than that desired by the organization. Rather than stopping the actions against it, Falun Gong became a major target of government suppression. The Chinese government moved to destroy the organization, and inside China it has largely succeeded in suppressing it. Numerous adherents were jailed and all public activity outlawed. The organization was declared an evil cult.

By 1999 Falun Gong had nevertheless spread to a number of countries outside China, and adherents have organized an international campaign to call attention to the suppression of the movement inside China. It has negatively branded the government for violating human and religious rights, as well as for engaging in the torture and killing of its members. The Chinese government has retaliated by charging the movement with denying members proper medical care and thus causing the death of many people. While justifying its actions within China, the government’s charges have found little support outside the country.


Hon, Sat Chuen. Taoist Qigong for Health and Vitality.A Complete Program of Movement, Meditation, and Healing Sounds. Boston: Shambhala, 2003.
Hongzhi, Li. Zhuan Falun (Revolving the Law Wheel).Hong Kong: Falun Fo Fa Publishing Co., 1994.
Jahnke, Roger. The Healing Promise of Qi: Creating Extraordinary Wellness through Qigong and Tai Chi.Chicago: Contemporary Books, 2002.
Lee, Richard E. Scientific Investigations in Chinese Qigong. San Clemente, CA: China Healthways Institute, 1999. Wong, John, and William T. Liu. The Mystery of China’s Falun Gong: Its Rise and Its Sociological Implications. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. and Singapore University Press, 1999.
The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena © 2008 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the East, tai chi and qi gong are practised in public parks by many people of all ages every morning and I recall watching a woman walk backwards very slowly and deliberately for half an hour during her practice.
A 2011 study published in Biological Research for Nursing found qi gong may be helpful for older adults in wheelchairs.
"As China becomes more of a player in the world, Chinese practice is becoming more mainstream," Stuff.co.nz quoted Matthew Cohen, creator of the Tai Chi and Qi Gong Basics DVD, as saying.
A QI GONG class is being held tomorrow on the second floor above Somewhere Else on Bold Street, Liverpool (next to News From Nowhere).
When they returned home, John discovered the advantages of a type of Chinese Qi Gong called Pangu Shengong.
Qi gong is a type of Chinese psychosomatic exercise that integrates meditation, slow physical movements, and relaxed breathing, to which numerous physical and mental benefits have been classically ascribed.
The techniques themselves embrace a wide range of possibilities, including breathing techniques, using pre-performance rituals and mantras, diet, yoga, qi gong, posture, practicing performing, mental strength, role models and role play, self-talk, visualization, journaling, and more.
Travel Business Review-25 June 2010-Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars Palace Offers Yoga and Water Qi Gong Classes(C)2010 ENPublishing - http://www.enpublishing.co.uk
Written by a physical therapist and an expert in Tai Ji and Qi Gong, "Healing Gifts" contains "the perfect balance of movement and meditation" specifically adapted to breast cancer recovery needs.
Therefore, "yoga" can be said to be an overarching category that includes all Asian mind-body practices, whether from India (Hatha yoga, etc.), Tibet (Tsa lung Trul khor [rTsa rlung 'Phrul 'khor]), China (T'ai chi, qi gong) or other Asian origin.
As well as the 70-plus educational sessions this year also sees the introduction of short hatha yoga, Qi Gong and mediation sessions to put busy visitors in the right frame of mind for a hectic day ahead.
Our group, including a hotelier, teashop owner and teacher, kick off our shoes on the grassy bank of a gurgling stream to prepare with 20 minutes of Qi Gong, an ancient form of Chinese exercise like static Tai Chi.