A Brief History of Qigong


According to Chinese hieroglyphics, Qigong has been around for as long as 7,000 years.

And, thousands of different forms of Qigong practices that have developed throughout different regions of China during various historical periods.

Some of these forms are suitable for general health enhancement purposes, including the improvement of mental health and physical ailments.

However, that’s not all there is to Qigong, and a brief lesson in Qigong history will help you understand the ancient art so you too can master it and use it to your benefit.

What is Qigong?

It’s hard to understand the history of something without first understanding what it is. So, what is Qigong?

In simple terms, Qigong refers to energy healing. The word is Chinese, and it means “energy work.”

While current-day practices differ in certain ways from ancient practices, the overall point is the same: to master the art of proper energy flow within the body.

Traditional Chinese medicine embodies this practice as it teaches people that when the energy in the body is flowing properly, then people can experience health and well-being.

However, it is actually more profound than mere energy work. The idea is that, when the body’s energy is in proper alignment, then the healing power of your mind and body can do the work to heal itself.

Many followers of Qigong use this work to unlock access to their own healing energies and have found it useful in treating and healing ailments that include:

  • Relieve pain, stress, and anxiety

  • Increase energy

  • Overcome mental health issues such as depression and insomnia

  • Boost the immune system

  • Enhance productivity and focus

  • Calm the mind and body

  • Heal physical health conditions

The benefits of Qigong are numerous, but there has to be a strong foundation of work before a person can achieve these kinds of benefits. Understanding the history of Qigong will help you understand the ancient practice in order to use it effectively.

The Early Ages of Qigong History

The origin of Qigong dates back to The Book of Changes. It was the first book to introduce the concept of energy. The study of these energies was the first step towards developing what has now become modern-day Qigong.

Other historical documents show that, during the rule of the Yellow Emperor, people used stone probes to adjust Qi circulation. This was around 2500 B.C.

The aspect of breath training came about around 1000 B.C. during the Zhou dynasty. This is when Lao Zi began to mention certain breathing techniques. He believed that the way to achieve optimum health was to concentrate on the Qi.

These mentions of breathing techniques and other early Qigong practices prevailed throughout the Qin and Han dynasties.

References to the Qigong became particularly popular in literature, and it was referred to as a more medical practice than a physical or spiritual one.

Qigong became particularly popular and widely adopted during the Han dynasty. Because Buddhism was arriving from India, many Chinese people began to adopt the practices, which included meditation.

Buddhist meditation and Qigong practices began to melt together and spawned a new era of Chinese Qigong. The still meditation of Chan (Zen) was especially powerful during this time period, as many Buddhists taught it at their temples.

The Mixture of Religion and Spirituality

Around 3 A.D. things started to change regarding Qigong. Whereas the practice had previously been more about the medicinal aspects of healing energies, it quickly became more about more profound spiritual pursuits.

Medical Qigong was all about achieving health and maintaining it. Religious Qigong that came from places like India was more about how religious practitioners could train their Qi to reach different levels of spirituality.

The mixture of religion and spirituality is what culminated in the true evolution of Qigong. The practice became more about training one’s energy in order to control the mind, body, and spirit.

The goal? To break the cycle of reincarnation and achieve enlightenment. It’s clear that Buddhism managed to influence the practice of Qigong in significant ways.

This carried over well into the 1st century A.D. until the emperor invited a Buddhist monk to preach in China. It turns out that the emperor didn’t like what the monk had to say.

After facing rejection from the emperor, the monk retreated to a Shaolin Temple in search of something more. Looking to learn more about Buddhist practices and Qigong, the monk stayed at the temple for nine years.

What he learned was the beginning of another turning point in Qigong history. It was also the beginning of the modern-day fusion of mind and body in Qigong practices.

Focusing on the Body and the Mind

After spending nine years at a Shaolin Temple observing the priests, the Buddhist monk found that the priests were weak. They focused all of their energy on their mind and paid no attention to the body.

This led the monk to write two important pieces of Qigong literature titled Yi Gin Ching (Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic) and Shii Soei Ching (Marrow/Brain Washing Classic).

The books taught the priests how to use Qi to clean their blood and train their bodies to become stronger. In the process of doing so, the priests found that they could energize their brain and achieve higher levels of enlightenment.

1026 A.D. marked another special turning point in Qigong history that relates to the fusion of mind and body. In this year, Dr. Wang Wei-Yi built the Brass Man Acupuncture.

Many pieces of Qigong literature had talked about acupuncture theory, but this was the first time in history that someone had developed systematically organized acupuncture theory and principles.

The accompanying book, Illustration of the Brass Man Acupuncture and Moxibustion, helped explain the relationship between the 12 core organs and the 12 Qi channels.

The practice of acupuncture in relation to the Qi began to flourish after Dr. Wang used it to treat the emperor in 1034 A.D.

Modern-Day Qigong Practices

Modern-day Qigong practices began to flourish after the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911. As China began to change, so did Qigong.

Various Qigong styles began to crop up, and with widespread communication becoming so popular, these styles feature influences from other countries and cultures.

Modern-day Qigong history is becoming more and more dependent on technology. Experts can now study the ancient art and science of Qigong but with modern-day tools and technology.

However, this doesn’t mean that Qigong is going to change completely. Students who practice the art are beginning to learn new techniques, such as distant energy healing.

The combination of technology and worldwide communication is making it possible and easier for people who study Qigong to share their expertise and knowledge with others around the world.

Is Qigong the Same as Tai Chi?

You’ve probably heard of both Kung Fu and Tai Chi. These are both forms that some people consider part of Qigong, as they stem from the Taoist philosophy and are helpful in the development of spiritual, mental, and physical growth.

This means that, throughout the history of Qigong, people have found many different ways to use the Qi in order to improve, heal, and use energy.

Therefore, it’s important to employ the techniques found in Qi Gong but in the manner that suits you best.

While Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Qigong aren’t all the same, they do share one common thread: the invisible chi. The chi origin refers to the internal power aspects that derive from the 3,000-year-old Qigong tradition.

This means that the chi origin is somewhat rooted in Qigong, but Qigong doesn’t come from Tai Chi. Both use chi energy, and this kind of energy work is, in part, what Taoism is all about.

To make it easier to understand, it’s better to view each one as a different form of art. Tai Chi has a martial art component, while Qigong is mostly for healing.

People have used Qigong for years as a way to build energy and promote healing. It usually isn’t a discipline that features any fighting techniques themselves.

Benefiting from Qigong Healing Practices

Understanding the history of Qigong is important in understanding the real power of what it can offer those who practice it.

Qigong is an ancient art and science that has been around for nearly 7,000 years. This means that it undoubtedly yields a lot of power. Benefiting from that power requires a deep understanding of the principles and where they come from.

Now that you understand the history of Qigong and how it works, it’s time to decide how you wish to implement these practices.

Engaging in energy healing is a powerful way to change your life, but it can be challenging to find the right person to guide you through the process.

If you’re looking for energy healing, check out our distant energy healing options. We offer monthly healing programs that will allow you to benefit from Qigong without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

Michael Mohoric specializes in global Qigong distant energy healing. He has thousands of positive testimonials how his work has helped heal many serious illnesses, pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and more. He discovered he was blessed with a gift of distant energy healing after recovering from a serious spinal cord injury. He is the former Secretary of the International Tibetan Qigong Assoc. He has over 1,000 endorsements on Linkedin, many from health care professionals. He also has over 233,000 Likes on Facebook with thousands of positive posts about how this work has transformed lives.