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Qigong (lit. “breathpractice”) refers to a Chinese system of body cultivation that involves the circulation of somatic energy (qi) by means of breathing techniques, mental concentration, and set sequences of movements. Practitioners expect it to strengthen the body, heal diseases, lift the mind to higher levels of awareness, and possibly even produce extraordinary abilities and powers. Though it is a part of traditional Chinese practices, it became popular in the last decade of the 20th century through the Falun Gong religious organization, which was banned by the government. Qigong was systematized in the 1940s as a cost-effective approach to medical care and health maintenance in communist-controlled areas of northern China; after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the propagation of qigong ...

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