Qigong or chi kung (气功 or 氣功) (pronounced "chee-gong") is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophy, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to balance qi (chi) or intrinsic life energy. Typically a qigong practice involves rhythmic breathing, coordinated with slow stylized repetition of fluid movement, and a calm mindful state. Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide, and is considered by some to be exercise, and by others to be a type of alternative medicine or meditative practice. From a philosophical perspective qigong is believed to help develop human potential, to increase access to higher realms of awareness, and to awaken one to one's true nature.Qigong or chi kung are English words for two Chinese characters: qì (氣) and gōng (功).
Qi (or chi) is usually translated as life energy, lifeforce, or energy flow, and definitions often involve breath, air, gas, or relationship between matter, energy, and spirit. Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. Gong (or kung) is often translated as work or practice, and definitions include skill, mastery, merit, achievement, service, result, or accomplishment. (see online Chinese language tools)
The two words are combined to describe systems to cultivate and balance life energy, especially for health.