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Wednesday, 11 March 2009 14:09


Chi Kung (Qigong) is the study of our body's energy field and its application for particular objectives. The word means "energy work".


Some scholars in the field of Chikung classify its history into four periods, starting from the appearance of the I Ching (Yi jing) of Book of Changes. Yang Jwingming, in his book "The Root of Chi Kung" classifies them, taking as references the different dynasties, in the following manner:

  • Pre-Han period (? – 206 BC) – The I Ching appears, naturalist Chi Kung.
  • Han period until the beginning of the Liang dynasty (206 BC – 502 AD) – Religious Chi Kung.
  • Liang period until the end of the Ching dynasty (502 – 1911) – Martial Chi Kung.
  • Modern Era – Chi Kung opens up to science and before the general public.


Depending on the category of Chi Kung, different characteristics and objectives are observed. Even within each category there are different methods of training for different objectives. Actually, there are thousands of different Chi Kung exercises, a fact which lets any individual find a Chi Kung exercise appropriate for him or her.

The different categories of Chi Kung are the following:

  • Chi Kung of the Confucian and Daoist philosophical schools– Promote health, prevent illness and, in the case of the daoist school, longevity. It acts by regulating the mental activity and cultivating the vital energy (qi or chi).

  • Medical Chi Kung – Preventive y healing. It acts by correcting abnormal Chi circulation to speed up healing or  even, in certain cases, heal disease.
  • Martial Chi Kung – Has combat applications. It is subdivided into external Chi Kung (waidan) and internal Chikung (neidan). Waidan Chi Kung concentrates Chi into the jing (energy channels) while Neidan Chi Kung concentrates Chi in the mai (energy reservoirs)..
  • Religious Chi Kung – Used to reach Enlightenment. its objective is to strengthen Chi to nourish the Shen (spirit) until it can survive the death of the physical body. It has 3 subdivisions: Buddhist, Tibetan and Daoist (religious).

It must be made clear that the religious Daoist Chi Kung is different from the philosophical Daoist Chi Kung in that the latter appeared before the start of the Han dynasty, when the Daoist religion did not exist yet, thus it lacks religious connotations.


Depending on the type of Chi Kung that is practiced, one obtains different benefits. Nevertheless, the point in common all Chi Kung types have is the strengthening of overall health independently from any additional goal one seeks to reach.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:03
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