Where Did Qigong Originate? (Health Coach’s Advice)

where did qigong originate according to our health coaches at find it health

As the main health and wellness specialist at FindItHealth, I’m here to talk about the origins of Qigong.

Qigong is a holistic exercise technique that supports vital energy, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The history of Qigong is deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine.

The depth of knowledge and wisdom developed over centuries of practice is highly valued by many individuals, who see it as a key component of Qigong’s apparent benefit. Research supported its positive effects on the ease of pain for elderly people and it is still being used for health benefits today. Please read on for more information.

Where Did Qigong Originate?

Contrary to popular belief, India was the birthplace of Qigong, not China

With Hindu influences, Buddhism has its roots in India and has grown into a complex system designed to aid practitioners in realizing their true nature and achieving enlightenment. Some of these customs were subsequently altered by Chinese culture after Buddhism was incorporated there, and the consequence was the birth of the Qigong tradition.

History Of Qigong

More than 2 millennia ago, the Chinese developed the Qigong practice, which integrates abdominal breathing, movement, and awareness for various purposes of healing, disease prevention, exercise, and martial arts training.

The following are core elements in Qigong’s origins

  • Meditative practice – Qigong developed an exercise known as Yijin Jing which emphasizes meditative practice and coordinated body posture. The martial arts community eventually identified Yijin Jing as a training method in Shaolin martial arts.
  • Improving fighting abilities – Enhancing fighting skills is one of the purposes of modifying Qigong forms, theory, and philosophy. Chinese martial artists honor Taoism and Buddhism as the founding philosophies of Qigong.
  • Moral training – The scholarly aspect of the Qigong tradition is credited to Confucius (551-479 BCE) and Mencius (385-302 BCE), according to Chinese scholars. Both of these philosophers made references to the idea of Qi training as a kind of moral instruction.
  • Diverse application – Throughout history, Qigong evolved and diversified into numerous styles and approaches, including medical Qigong, martial Qigong, and spiritual Qigong. People who want the beneficial effects of health, internal energy, muscle strength in martial arts, or enhance their Qi levels frequently practice it.
  • 20th-century popularity – The practice of Qigong experienced a resurgence in popularity in China during the 20th century, and many varieties of it were standardized and publicized for their therapeutic properties. The practice of Qigong also became popular in the West, where it was acknowledged as an all-encompassing method of enhancing both physical and mental health.


QiGong Revolution

Here are some key milestones in the popularity of Qigong:

Qigong Boom in China (1970s) 

Following the end of the Cultural Revolution, there was a resurgence of interest in Qigong in China. The Chinese government relaxed its stance on traditional practices, and Qigong became more accessible to the general population. Many Qigong masters emerged, and large-scale Qigong events and competitions were organized. This period saw a significant increase in the popularity of Qigong within China.

Guo Lin, a Qigong master and artist rose to prominence during this era claiming to have cured her uterine cancer. She publicly instructed Qigong to the public outside of a formal setting.

Groundbreaking Qi Research in 1979

The initial study on the external measurement of Qi was published by the Shanghai Institute of Atomic Research. It was a pivotal moment for Qigong because it established its scientific foundation.

Later, there were more Qi investigations.

Measurements, first-hand accounts of Qigong’s success in treating internal organs, and examples of how Qigong’s slow movements are necessary for martial arts training all contribute to the practical application of Qigong’s benefits.

Spread to the West (Late 20th Century)

Qigong started to become more well-known outside of China in the late 20th century, especially in the West.

This was brought about by several things, including a rise in interest in alternative medicine, easier access to knowledge through media and literature, and the efforts of teachers and masters of Qigong who traveled and disseminated their expertise.

Scientific Research and Mainstream Recognition

The growing adoption of Qigong in modern times is a result of scientific studies studying its health advantages as well as recommendations from medical experts. The scope of Qigong was further increased by its inclusion in wellness initiatives, medical facilities, and community centers.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who founded Qigong?

Qigong, as a practice, does not have a single founder. Instead, it has evolved over thousands of years through the contributions of various individuals, lineages, and schools in China. But it is commonly attributed to the Yellow Emperor (2696–2598 BCE) and the classic internal medicine book called Huangdi Neijing.

What religion is Qigong from?

Despite having ties to many Chinese intellectual and spiritual traditions, Qigong is not associated with any one particular religion. It is regarded as a comprehensive discipline that combines energy cultivation, physical activity, and breathing techniques.

While Qigong and Taoist philosophy share several ideas, like the idea of Qi (vital life force) and the development of harmony with nature, Qigong is not just a Taoist practice.

Other religions, such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), have also influenced Qigong.

In Daosit tradition, Qigong is a means of achieving longevity, enlightenment, and a better relationship with nature. It’s crucial to remember that everyone can practice Qigong, regardless of their religious background or lack thereof.

Which came first: Qigong or Taichi?

Both Taichi and Qigong are age-old arts that have developed over time; it is challenging to pinpoint exactly when they first appeared. However, historical data reveals that Qigong existed before Taichi was developed. Taichi is a practice within Qigong. As previously noted, Qigong has a more than 2000-year-old history.

Are Taichi and Qigong the same?

Taichi is a specific practice within the broader realm of studies of Qigong. While Qigong is a physical exercise primarily focused on health, relaxation, and energy medicine, Taichi incorporates martial arts applications. Taichi movements are a deliberate martial art movement and can be practiced for self-defense, with an emphasis on balance, flow of Qi, agility, and applying martial principles.



The researchers at Find It Health gave us the information needed to understand the historical development of Qigong and can provide a broader perspective on its purpose, benefits, and applications. It can help you appreciate the intentions behind the exercises, the cultural significance of certain movements or practices, and how Qigong has been used for health, martial arts’ range of motion, and spiritual development.

While it is not essential to have extensive knowledge of the development of Qigong before starting your practice, it can enrich your experience and provide a deeper understanding of the practice’s origins, philosophy, and evolution. It is always valuable to approach concepts in Qigong with curiosity, respect, and a willingness to learn, and studying its history with western medicine is one way to deepen your engagement with this ancient art.


Find It Health Editor in Chief Luz Chacon Health and Wellness Coach Giving You Advice

Luz Chacon

Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!

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Luz Chacon Health Coaches at Find It Health and Stress Management and Natural Holistic Health Coaches