A-Z of Ancient Wellbeing Practices, Part 4 (Final Part)

This week I’m covering letters T-Z

T is for Tuina and Toxins

Tuina, or tui na (pronounced ‘twee-nah’) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine massage practice that is believed to be the oldest bodywork system, recorded in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine from 2300B.C.. I started training in Tuina alongside acupressure, Five Element Theory, qigong, Daoist healing and meditation 20 years ago. Tuina uses acupressure to stimulate the flow of qi round the body using acupoints, as in acupuncture. It is used widely in China and also increasingly in the West for treating and clearing pain conditions such as repetitive strain injury and arthritis.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Daoist practises promote harmony within the body and with the environment by clearing toxins and also restoring and nourishing energy. This is where these practices differ from others. The focus on balance, maintaining and restoring health means that your body isn’t left weakened or feeling ‘empty’ and fatigued as a result of clearing.

U is for Uses

There benefits of qigong, meditation, Daoist breathing, acupressure and tuina are almost endless. There is so much we can understand about ourselves by connecting with our body in a meaningful way.

Some uses include:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Connection with your body
  • Improved muscle tone
  • Improved digestion
  • Treat and clear headaches
  • Improved breathing/clear toxins from lungs
  • Connection with Nature/the Universe
  • Helps anxieties
  • Improved ability to stay calm and relaxed
  • Helps sleeping problems/insomnia
  • Balancing your emotional and physical wellbeing
  • Increased stamina
  • Improved emotional and physical strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • Clear what’s holding you back from achieving what you really want
  • Positive mindset
  • Improved focus

V is for Vitality

Ancient healing practices not only aim to harmonise our energy and therefore regain and retain physical and mental health, they also build our vital energy. The lower Dan Tien (energy centre) is where we focus the energy we’re gathering in most exercises and when we finish practicing in order to keep the accumulated energy stored, and thereby increase our vitality. The lower Dan Tien is also known as the ‘Sea of Qi’. Water helps life to grow. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Daoism, kidney energy corresponds to the water element. Kidneys are responsible for our vitality, aging, growth and reproductive health. When our kidney energy is weakened, we lose vitality. Practicing these exercises restores vitality and balance.

W is for Weight (loss)

The emphasis in ancient healing practices is on health over vanity. If you need to lose weight for your health and wellbeing, and want to increase your body-confidence, these practices are ideal. Soon after I started practicing qigong, meditation and Daoist breathing techniques daily and following my tutor’s nutrition advice, I lost nearly a stone in weight. This was ‘stagnant’ weight that had built up because of problems in my digestive system. Also, the stomach pain I’d suffered for 11 years lessened and I was able to clear any flair ups. Now, I hardly ever have stomach aches, and have been the same healthy weight since having my 2nd son (12 and a half years ago).

Here’s a way you can help your digestion and weight, and also something I can help you to achieve –

Consume ‘warm’ foods and drinks. The stomach and spleen don’t deal so well with cold temperatures and prefer the warm. The Traditional Chinese Medicine belief is that eating too much cold food damages the digestive system, causing bloating, reflux, nausea etc. This is a particular issue for the female body because of the energy we lose during menstruation, childbirth, breastfeeding etc. Cold and damp build up and cause inflammation, and leads to problems including losing weight and putting weight on easily. Eating warming foods (cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin, sometimes (small amounts of) lean meat), aids smooth digestion and aids weight loss.

Strengthening your kidney, liver and spleen energy/function significantly impacts your ability to lose weight and keep it off. When these organs are functioning as well as possible, it’s much easier to lose weight and retain it. The kidneys, for example, produce adrenaline – one of the strongest fat burning hormones in the body.

X is for Xianggong

Aromatic Qigong, or ‘Xianggong’, is one of the most relaxed forms I teach. It gets its name from the fact that fragrances seem to arise from nowhere while you practice. The beginner’s level consists of 15 different motions which are designed to exercise the upper body, clear obstructions from the energy channels, regulate the flow of qi, and strengthen the organ functions, relieving tension, loosening up your body, and clearing the airways. The intermediate level works on the lower body at the same time as the upper.

Y is for Yin and Yang

The concepts of Yin and Yang are now widely used, but not always fully understood. As well as being opposites, Yin and Yang are thought to be complementary to and to contain the potential of the other.

In qi gong, meditation, Daoist practices and acupressure/Tuina we balance the Yin and Yang – water and fire energy, the north and south, the kidneys and heart respectively. If these energies are out of harmony in our body we can suffer headaches, back pain, diarrhea, short-temper and many other problems.

Z is for Zen

‘Zen’ is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese Chan, Korean Sŏn, Vietnamese Thien. The word derives from the Sanskrit dhyana, meaning “meditation.” Slang for being completely chilled, Zen is where all the practices I teach originate. Zen is a way of life, rather than a religion. It’s a mixture of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism, founded in China in the 6th century CE.

Based on the value of intuition and full awareness of the present moment, Zen is central to the healing practices of qigong, Daoist healing, tuina and acupressure.

It’s rare that students get to this level because it takes many years of dedication and commitment, leading to your tranquil heart. However, the glimpses of joy and peace you achieve on the way makes it worthwhile.

You’re welcome to contact me if you’re interested in learning more about any of these practices. Find me on social media –




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