They say that Qigong is potentially over 5000 years old, making it the oldest exercise system in the World.
The story is that tribal dances from the Russian Steppes were formalised in the Yangtze Delta into standard sets of gentle movements. The ancients had noticed that the people who performed these dances stayed supple and healthy much longer than the ones who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Over thousands of years of investigation and experimentation by many highly skilled practitioners, the form has finally been distilled to what we know today as Qigong or in the old fashioned translation systems you might see it spelled Chi-gung, or Chi Kung.
These names are also fairly contemporary, dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century. Prior to this, these exercise forms were generally referred to as Dao Yin training.
Qigong has many roots and branches – it earned the nickname “the 10,000 things” – ten thousand being the highest numeric in ancient China; the implication being – Infinity! The styles were developed and changed within families, organisations, religions and eventually by the government too.
There are many applications for qigong, but it’s principally for building health and strength, whilst calming the mind. The specialisations were often created by religious sects, such as The Buddhists and The Daoists, or by martial schools such as the Shaolin Monks. It is used widley in China these days for healing the body