Pronounced "chee gung", Qigong (Chi Kung) comes from the Chinese words "Qi" meaning "Energy" plus "Gong", meaning "work" or "practice". It is a term that describes a Chinese practice that focuses on cultivating and attracting "Qi" or "lifeforce" energies. Through individual effort, practitioners build up their health and prevent illness by combining discipline of mind, body and the body's "Qi" (vital force).

Qigong draws on many elements. It includes "regulating the body" through posture, "regulating the mind" through quiet, relaxation and concentration of one's mental activity," regulating the breath", self-massage and movement of the limbs. Qigong practices are divided into two categories: active and stationary (passive), of which may involve either standing or sitting. Since ancient times, thousands of different forms have been passed down to successive generations, and presently there are about 100 popular styles: however, the principles and effectiveness of all Qigong forms have remained the same. You do not have to learn all of the 100 different approaches or any variations to receive their benefits.

Stationary forms are like passive meditations in that the body does not move, just as all thought ceases and one's awareness is turned inward during meditation. Stationary Qigong can be practiced while sitting, lying down, or standing. By using the breath and the combined power of the mind and the eyes, Chi can be guided through specific pathways as you focus on the body's energy centers. The principle is that while the body remains stationary there is movement within. In the stillness one can concentrate more effectively, and it becomes easier to feel, activate, and increase the life force. Stationary practices can also provide a foundation for the active practices because they train the mind to remain focused as the body moves.

Active Qigong practices include motion of body and limbs, either from a seated position as the hands move, or from a standing position as both hands and legs move. The active or moving stage utilizes the breath in conjunction with each motion as the mind calmly focuses on the energy centers. The principle here is the opposite of the stationary practices because while the body is moving there is stillness within. This helps to increase the flow of Chi, blood, and lymph while exercising the joints, tendons, and muscles. The movements can be slow, fast, smooth, or forceful.

Chinese Qigong has been practiced with a recorded history of over 2,000 years. But it wasn't until 1953, when Liu Gui-zheng published a paper entitled "Practice On Qigong Therapy", that the term Qigong was adopted as the popular name for this type of practice.  Prior to that date, there were many terms given to such practice, such as Daoyin, Xuangong, Neigong, Yangshengong, etc.