Qigong is a series of exercises that were put together under Daoism and can be traced back for several thousand years.
The Chinese character chi "Qi" means breath, air or life force. The character "Gong" means work, achievement or developing a skill in something. Gong, is used with any study or training which requires a lot of energy and time, work or self-discipline. Thus Qigong is the training or study dealing with energy work. Qigong is method training of Tai Chi.
These exercises were developed to unblock and stimulate the acupuncture meridians or channels so that the Qi energy (and blood) can flow smoothly or unobstructed in the channels to supply the whole body.
The breathing method involves using the diaphragm and abdominal muscles which massages and stimulates the organs in the body while the mind focuses and so increases your awareness of your own body and what is going on inside. For example, where your energy and blood flow or where the pathways are blocked or stagnant. Qigong also increases the acuteness of your senses.
Qigong's ultimate aim is spiritual enlightenment by mastering your own body, your mind and discovering and knowing your "true self". On the way to spiritual enlightenment, by practising Qigong regularly, you will achieve your optimum health. Optimum health is not just an absence of diseases, but includes ones ability to handle life's stresses, manage emotional ups and downs very well and make the right decisions with clarity of mind.
Another aspect of Qigong that is rarely discussed is that you're putting the responsibility for your health maintenance and healing yourself back in your own hands by not relying on others. Qigong practice will give you the suppleness of a child's body, the strength and energy of a circus strongman, and the mind and spirit of a "sage".