[Subterm of Traditional Chinese Medicine]
Chinese Qigong (also spelled Chi Kung, Qi Gong, Chi Gong, Chi Gung, amongst others) refers to an ancient healing discipline consisting of breathing and mental exercises. These are usually, but not always, combined with physical exercises. For approximately 900 years, people in China gathered each morning to practice taiji (tai chi chuan), a martial art exercise that was developed from Qigong. Taiji is a useful discipline for maintaining health and energy levels and for controlling some disease conditions. Most taiji practitioners have switched to Qigong because Qigong exercises produce much stronger healing effects. Qigong balances the subtle energy system in the body described in the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The exercises are usually taught in classes in a quiet, relaxed but intense atmosphere. The student should maintain a level of concentration without being distracted by external influences. Regular practice is essential in achieving beneficial effects and the exercises are considered a lifelong endeavour.