A Brief History of Qigong
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At the height of its popularity in China in the 1980s, it is estimated that one hundred million people were practising qigong in parks and public spaces. Crowds flocked to hear great masters speak and to be healed simply by being in their presence or hearing their words. Prime-time television showed miraculous acts being performed by the power of qi while China’s top scientists and politicians were caught up in an extraordinary vision of qigong releasing the supernormal powers latent in human beings. This article attempts to describe how a self-cultivation practice - carried out in various forms for over two millennia with the aims of promoting physical, mental and spiritual well-being - gained tens of millions of followers at the height of ‘qigong fever’, and came to be associated with the development of super-powers such as distant healing, telekinesis and transformation of matter.
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