EDIT: A Definition of Qi Gong / Chi Kung
Qi means "breath" or "energy". Gong means "skill". Hence, Qigong is the "skill or working with one's breath or one's energy". The idea is to move Qi throughout the body. There are many methods.
- Hard vs Soft
- Moving vs Standing
- Internal* vs External
Hard, Soft, Moving and Standing Qigongs are all External methods. Internal Qigong uses meditation or visualization to move the Qi throughout the body. This can be very confusing because Qigong as a whole might be referred to as Neijia, meaning "Internal Arts", as opposed to Weijia, meaning "External Arts".
Your question might be taken to mean "does Qi Gong / Chi Kung really develop Qi Powers?" As with anything involving this bugbear of a word, we have to ask "what do you mean by Qi?"
A few points:
Qi / Chi is not an observable phenomenon. We can detect the presence of electricity, air, and other, otherwise invisible phenomena. We cannot detect the presence of Qi, because Qi does not have a consistent definition. When Qi is given a specific definition, e.g. "bio-electricity", we can answer definitively, "yes, of course bio-electricity exists", but at that point we can use the term bio-electricity, as it is more precise and does not carry mystical baggage with it.
Qi is a pre-scientific medical theory. Acupuncture isn't real and only works via the placebo effect. So-called Qi meridians often align with nerve clusters. Nerve clusters are real. Qi meridians aren't. Qi is a lot like the four humours from ancient, western medical theory. Qi might be useful as a metaphor, but I wouldn't ask anyone to treat my diseases using Qi as a basis.
Qi is a placeholder word, meaning energy. Like the word "energy" it doesn't have a precise definition. What do you mean by energy? Electricity? Light? Feeling good? The character for Qi is an ideogram combining the character for rice, with the character for steam. The idea behind the character might be taken to mean "the steam coming off a pot of boiling rice". Thus, the idea of Qi is directly related to the energy derived from eating good food. Want Qi? Eat Rice. Simple.
If you ever see someone use "Qi Powers", ask yourself who the people they are using them on are. Chances are, they are their students, or other persons who are for whatever reason highly suggestible. Each time someone who claims Qi Powers has attempted to use them on a person who is not suggestible, their "powers" have failed. I refer you to the sad case of George Dillman.
Focusing your Qi does work. By using visualization, you can make your body perform better. There are (at least) two observable benefits from visualizing Qi: relaxing the muscles and reducing tension as you perform athletic activity, and making your body mechanics work together more efficiently. Yes, your mind can trick your body into working better.
You are talking about "Soft" Qi Gong. Don't forget "Hard" Qi Gong. It's a different animal than what you're talking about. Generally speaking, "Hard" Qi Gong is for breaking stuff with your body. It involves a lot of conditioning of the various surfaces of your body, e.g. "Iron Shirt", "Iron Head", "Iron Crotch". The only thing it has in common with "Soft" Qi Gong is Focus and Visualization.
You are talking about "Moving" Qi Gong. Don't forget "Standing" Qi Gong. It is often used in the same regimens as "Moving" Qi Gong. It involves holding static postures until the muscles "Give Up". The purpose is to force the body to cease holding tension and to force the body's posture to align in a more efficient, natural way.