In ancient times, qigong was called tuna (exhaling and inhaling),
or lianqi (training of vital energy), or daoyin (guiding and inducing),
or neigong(internal self-exertion training), an exercise of sitting
quietly, meditating, and breathing. It is one of the legacies
in the treasure house of raditional Chinese medicine. It has been
shown to have particularly outstanding effects in treating chronic
and difficult diseases.
According to traditional Chinese medital theory, the qi in qigong is not only the air people breathe, but also the vital energy in the body, which is also called "genuine qi" or "internal qi " In
terms of modern medicine, "vital energy" is equal to disease resistance, adaptability to the environrnent and the healing ability of the body.
The practice of qigang causes one to exhale waste qi, inhale fresh qi, preserve the antipathogenic vital energy in the body, strengthen the health, resist senility, and prolong life. Having practiced for a long peried of time, one can become aware of a stream of heat (vital energy) or qi being transmitted through the body. Sometimes this can be released from the body, and then it is known as external qi. Internal qi, on the other hand, follow the channels (or meridians, as they are sometimes called) and collaterals within the body. When the internal qi is transmitted along these channels and collaterals, the blocks within them will be removed, the qi and bho will synergize, and the vital energy will be preserved within the body.
Generally speaking, in qigong training the practitioner regulates his mind, his breathing and his physical body by way of exercises, which is called daoyin, or guiding and inducing. Mental
daoyin has to concentrate thoughts on one object so as to put the cerebral cortex in a special inhibitory state. Breathing daoyin includes exhaling, inhaling, breathing out deeply, blowing, aspirating and holding the breath. Daoyin of the physical body requires various postures such as walking, standing, sitting, kneeling, and massaging.
Qigong has a long history of more than 3 000 year. In Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), the oldest medical classic of ancient China, there is a chapter called "Natural Truth in Ancient Times", which reads, "When one is completely free of wishes or ambitions, he will really get the genuine vital energy. When one concentrates his consciousness internally, how can diseae attack him? One must breathe the essence of life, defend oneself independently by regulating one's respiration to preserve one's spirit and make the muscles remain unchaned".
Historicaly, there were numerous kinds of qigong exercises, including those of the Taoists, Buddhists and Confucians. Up to now, 396 kinds of qigong exercises have appeared in book form in China. Ther are different classilications of qigong. It can be classified into health-protecting qigong, therapeutic qigong and martial art qigong, or classified into hard (or tough) qigong and soft qigong. Hard qigang is also called kungfu qigong. Soft qigong includes health-protecting qigong and therapeutic qigang.
Qigong can also be classified into static qigong, dynamic qigong, hard qigong and emitting qhang. The first two refer to the qigong practices with or without "external movements" which
means the involuntary movments occurring spontaneously when one has reached the state of tranquillity. Emitting qigong refers to the skill by which a qigong master emits external qi for treating patients or attacking the opponent at a certain distance in martial arts.
Qigong is becoming part of the daily life of millions of the Chinese people as a way to keep fit in both mind and they. In its more developed form it is effective in adjusting the functions of the ner-
vous, respiratory, digestive, blood circulation and endocrine system. In short, qigong proves to be able to prevent and treat diseases, protect and strengthen health, and prolong life.