Understanding Chinese Qigong in the context of Western culture



It tries to present various perspectives on the value that Qigong brings to the Western world, responding to medical, creative and spiritual needs, and proposes a cultural approach to its dissemination that can encompass all its facets. In the current growth of China's soft power and the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, there is a clear opportunity for the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Qigong abroad that shall bear fruit in the near future, gradually shifting the role of China in the world stage: from a manufactured products supplier to a major influence in culture, lifestyle and thought.


尝试从不同的视角去看待气功给西方带来的价值, 以回应医疗、创作与灵性三个层面的价值需求, 并提出一种能涵盖气功各方面的文化传播方法。随着中国软实力的日益壮大以及“一带一路”战略的逐渐实施, 不久 的将来可能会在世界范围内呈现出一个中医与气功开花结果的显著时期, 逐渐转变当前中国在世界舞台的角色: 从产品供应商转化为文化、生活方式与思想的主要影响者。

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. [1]

    Delza S. T'ai-Chi Ch'üan (Wu Style)-Body and Mind in Harmony: The Integration of Meaning and Method. New York: Body and Mind in Harmony, 1961.

  2. [2]

    Kaufman SB. Consciousness and Flow. HuffPost, 2011. [2017-04-20]. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-barrykaufman/consciousness-and-flow_b_1108113.html.

    Google Scholar 

  3. [3]

    Liddell HG, Scott R, Jones HS, Mckenzie R. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953, 8(4): 636–637.

    Google Scholar 

  4. [4]

    Pagels E. The Gnostic Gospels. New York: Random House, 1989: 123.

    Google Scholar 

  5. [5]

    Carroll R. The Bible: Authorized King James Version with Apocrypha. Oxford World’s Classics Collection. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  6. [6]

    Various authors. UNESCO Decision 37/C4 2014–2021 Medium-term Strategy. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 2014. [2017-04-20]. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002278/227860e.pdf.

  7. [7]

    Crabtree J, Ming C. Why soft power could be the real value of China’s massive belt and road project. [2017-05-06]. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/22/one-belt-one-road-whythe-real-value-of-Chinas-project-could-like-in-soft-power.html.

  8. [8]

    Xu F. The understanding ‘great health’ from traditional Taiji (yin-yang) philosophy. Some thoughts on ‘Taiji Health’. Article Compilation of the 14th International Symposium on Qigong Science and First International Taiji Health Symposium. Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Institute, Shanghai Qigong Research Institute, 2017.

    Google Scholar 

  9. [9]

    Chenault, M. The culture of qi. A Chinese or a universal one? [2018-04-16]. http://www.booksandideas.net/The-Culture-of-Qi.html.

  10. [10]

    Harari, YN. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  11. [11]

    Laloux, F. Reinventing Organizations. Belgium: Nelson Parker Publisher, 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  12. [12]

    Steingress G. The cultural dimension of globalization: a new challenge for sociology. Res: Revista Española de Sociología. Federación Española de Sociología, 2002, (2): 77–96.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The author is grateful to Li Jie, Xu Feng, Hong Jue, Marceau Chenault and Ding Jie.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Estel Vilar.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vilar, E. Understanding Chinese Qigong in the context of Western culture. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. 16, 315–318 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11726-018-1069-4

Download citation


  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Physical and Breathing Exercises
  • Qigong
  • Exercise
  • Cultural Globalization
  • Tai Ji
  • The Belt and Road Initiative


  • 中医学
  • 导引
  • 气功
  • 锻炼
  • 文化全球化
  • 太极拳
  • 一带一路倡议