Traditional Chinese medicine is the foundation from which qigong practices developed. In traditional Chinese medicine, people can achieve health and healing by balancing the flow of qi, the vital life energy. Qi flows through 12 meridians located throughout the body, and a blockage or imbalance at any meridian can lead to disease.
For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine has used a variety of techniques that influence the flow of qi. Acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, breathing practices, and focused movement balance and increase the flow of qi. (1) When qi moves freely through the body, optimal health, wellness, and longevity result.
The philosophy and techniques of traditional Chinese medicine gave birth to what we know of as qigong. Above all, it is a formalized blending of many practices that were passed down from master to student for centuries. In the 1940s, qigong was given official recognition by the Chinese government and began to be used widely as a form of healing and physical exercise. (2)