Currently, there is much in the news and media about the medical crisis facing the NHS and an ageing population in poor health with a high proportion of preventable illnesses that need high cost care and support. How can we enjoy our old age in good health without NHS bankruptcy?

There are several facets to consider, self-care, lifestyle, diet, nutrition, exercise and activity if we are to improve and maintain our own health and wellness. But just, for the moment, to focus on exercise and movement, what might be the features of an activity which could help to improve health and well being?

  • Such an activity would conveniently fit in with your routine and commitments, be low cost with the minimum need of facilities, equipment and preparation.
  • One that everyone, whatever gender, age and health could do to some degree to suit their individual needs and circumstances.
  • That the only equipment needed is comfortable clothes that are easy to move in and soft flat soled shoes.
  • That can be done indoors or outside depending on the season and weather, in a group or on your own, varying from a few simple routines that only takes a few minutes to longer routines taking 30 minutes or more.
  • That as the skill and the understanding of the individual increases the need for a coach or instructor reduces.
  • That allows the individual to focus the activity on the health aspect that is most beneficial to them, strength, stamina, suppleness, balance, breathing even stress relief.
  • The movements help to develop, relaxation, awareness, creativity and imagination.

So what could fit all these criteria?


First the pronunciation, Qigong is spoken as ‘CHEE KUNG’.  Yes, it is Chinese.

Qigong has a long history of being specifically used for health purposes. It is the therapeutic exercise part of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) which also includes Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal remedies, massage and Tai Chi.

So what type of exercise is Qigong?

The word Qigong translates into ‘energy skill’.  So the purpose is help you care for, develop and enhance your own innate energy and health.

In the West, the Oriental concept of enhancing energy and wellness through exercise is not well understood as many western exercises and sports can drain you of energy. Sports persons usually retire in middle age while Qigong practitioners can continue to be active throughout the whole of their lives generally enjoying good health, well being and longevity.

The Oriental concept of being holistically actively involved in your own health is very different to our western health care system where illnesses are somehow seen as being separate from us with our role as patients being primarily passive in a health care system that relies heavily on the use of drugs and operations.

Qigong exercises cover a wide range of whole body postures, balances, stretching, twisting and turning movements to stimulate your body.

Over the years, many Qigong routines and exercises have been developed so there is much choice. Some copy the movements of animals such as monkeys, tigers and birds while other routines have wonderful names such as the 8 Pieces of Brocade, the 18 Qigong Jewels or Lifting the Sky. They encourage the use of creativity and imagination and so help stimulate pleasant mental activity.

As well as the exercise activity form of Qigong, there is also Medical or Health Qigong where the trained therapist uses specific techniques together with knowledge of the body’s energy fields to cleanse, tone and balance energy to help improve wellbeing.

Could you fit some Qigong practice into your life?

Marie Paulinus works from Rowan House, holding her Qigong classes on a
Tuesday at 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm – with hope to run an evening class soon (day and times to be confirmed.) Marie has a real passion for Qigong, here are two New’s Articles focusing on how Marie and Qigong have helped change peoples lives.