Traditional Self-Practice Exercises in Chinese Medicine

Traditional Self-Practice Exercises Traditional morning exercise

To incorporate regular physical exercise into our lifestyle is an important aspect of TCM health maintenance. In contrast to the modern Western way, TCM does not recommend that we push the body to its limits. Moderate and gentle-flowing activities are considered the best way to move qi and blood around the body for the purpose of protecting and nourishing every part of it. These are the prerequisites in maintaining health, harmony and overall well-being.

Exercise, if undertaken to an extreme, can cause disharmony. For example, many athletes, who train to an excessive degree, appear very fit, but are often very susceptible to infections and injuries. TCM believes that this is due to consumption and impairment of qi and blood as a result of physical overstrain. In the long run, excessive exercise may cause kidney and liver deficiencies, and lead to a series of related problems. If proper care is not taken when recovering from sports injuries, the damaged sites are likely to recur some time later as stagnation can easily develop again.

Therefore, it is noted that many Chinese exercise regimes such as Qigong or tai chi are not obviously aerobic in nature like many Western forms of exercise. These practices, however, offer a more balanced approach to exercise consistent with the principles of TCM. It is evident that good health and longevity are notable in the practitioners of such activities. TCM has created a great deal of distinctive physical training pursuits such as boxing, sword dancing, gymnastics, qigong, tai chi, martial arts, meditation, and massage. Some well-known ancient forms are introduced.

  • Five-animal Play (Wu Qin Xi)
  • The Eight-brocade Exercise (Ba Duan Jin)
  • Supreme Ultimate Fist (Tai ji quan)
  • The Changing Tendons Exercise (Yi Jin Jing)

    Apart from avoiding over-exercising, one should always pay attention to exercising in the proper place and wearing proper clothing. As the skin pores are open during exercise, external pathogens like wind, cold and dampness can invade easily. (Luk Tung Kuen Exercise)