Exercises

It is essential that people play an active part in their therapy and so I always attempt to devise exercises or make suggestions for lifestyle changes to accompany any treatment.

The use of mental and physical exercises have been a part of Chinese health preservation since the earliest written evidence and probably before. In recent times these separate schools have been grouped together under the general term of Qigong, 氣功 and range from books and exercise videos in the public domain to specific systems taught by various schools. Common themes include flowing, expansive or circular movements in time with the breath that gradually encourage people to explore the limits of their ability in part exercise, part meditation. Western therapists call this Graded Exposure or Incremental Training. The most famous form is probably T'ai chi ch'uan, 太極拳.

The best way to learn these forms of exercise is in a regular class which cannot be done in a few minutes at the end of a clinic session. The aim in a therapeutic environment is to find a few specific exercises based on the treatments that will facilitate improvement between sessions and aid with self-management. They may be inspired by eastern or western philosophies depending on what I think will get the best response. Other exercises may be more practical such as monitoring for triggers or changing an aspect of diet or lifestyle. Wherever possible I try to encourage people to find activities they enjoys or goals they want to work towards to prevent exercises becoming a chore.


A section of the Mawangdui Scrolls, 168 BC,
showing exercises similar to those practised today.