The Chinese have studied ways of creating and maintaining healthful longevity for thousands of years. One of the jewels coming out of this quest for everlasting youth is the gentle, life-enhancing exercise practice of Qigong (pronounced chee-GUNG). Commonly known as Chinese yoga and Feng Shui for the body, Qigong is an ancient form of Chinese medicine exercise that retards the aging process by cultivating and strengthening the vital energy (Qi) in the body. It is an easy-to-perform exercise practiced to self-create medicine naturally within the body and is suitable for people of all ages and physical abilities, especially older people and those recovering from illness or injury.

Qigong is a key to healthful longevity because it balances emotions, promotes serenity, and strengthens the body. A typical Qigong workout includes stretching and strengthening exercises, breath work, creative visualization, self-massage, vocalization of sounds, and meditation through both movement and stillness.

Practiced for twenty minutes on a regular basis, Qigong tones not only the body, but also the mind and spirit.

Practice of this ancient art of self-healing and fitness is often likened to giving yourself acupuncture because it opens the flow of Qi, releases Qi blockages within the energy pathways (meridians), and promotes blood flow. This is nourishing, protecting, and balancing to the body because it provides ample vital energy and blood flow. This is beneficial to the physical structures of the body, creating sustenance and maintenance for life. The result is youthful skin, bright eyes and shiny hair, enhanced sexual vitality, fortified bones, flexible muscles and tendons, balanced hormones, abundant energy, and a clear mind and vibrant spirit.

Qigong can be practiced anywhere by anyone and is especially helpful to women who desire to be ageless. In ancient China prior to 500 b.c. and the dynasties led by kings, it is believed that it was the mature women shamans who created the art of Qi cultivation through their magical powers. The ideogram for women, wu, is even thought to originally mean “to heal.” As modern women, we, too, can benefit from the healing power of Qi to keep ourselves healthy, vibrant, and beautiful for as long as we live.

According to Chinese medicine, good health occurs when there is a balance maintained between the two opposing, yet intimately related and attracting energies of yin and yang. Each person is made up of a predominance of either yin or yang energy; however, women tend to be more yin, whereas men tend to be more yang. This is because women tend to be more cold, soft, deep, wet, internal, and contracting, which are yin qualities, whereas men tend to be more hot, hard, superficial, dry, external, and expanding, which are yang qualities. Qigong practice creates a healing process, where the goal is to move more toward the center of the yin-yang continuum so that there is no longer a preponderance of yin or yang creating imbalance within the system.

True health exists when the body is adjusted according to the principles of yin and yang as well as synchronized with the yin and yang of nature, namely heaven and earth. An imbalance in the forces of heaven leads to tornados, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. An imbalance within the earth causes earthquakes and rivers to change directions. So, too, an imbalance in the forces of yin and yang energies within the human body causes illness to take hold.

The relative balance between these yin and yang energies also waxes and wanes, depending on various factors such as the energetics of foods eaten, weather conditions, temperature and dampness of one’s dwelling, emotional states, and hereditary factors. For example, ingesting cold, wet food creates more yin, whereas hot, dry foods create more yang energy.

Women can enhance themselves and become ageless through the practice of Qigong as it creates body warmth without too much heat and adequate blood flow to counteract the tendency toward dryness. In practical terms, this explains how Qigong practice maintains healthy skin, nails, and hair. Qigong practice also reduces hot flashes, insomnia, depression, pain, anxiety, and diminishing vital fluids that so often accompany a woman’s life changes.

Qigong helps women to cope emotionally through nourishing the spirit as it promotes feeling up and provides the energy necessary to be creative, achieve goals, and manifest dreams and aspirations. Practice of these empowering exercises helps women speak their minds freely and express themselves in a loving, gentle way that others can accept and honor.

The ultimate goal in Chinese medicine is to return to one’s true self—to nourish one’s destiny. This is done through searching for your true self in life through virtuous deeds. An initial step toward this goal is to be quiet with yourself on a daily basis by practicing these simple and gentle exercises. This will bring us back to the basic, true nature of peacefulness and oneness within ourselves.

An Exercise

Here is a Qigong exercise to help you connect with yourself. Calm down, release tension, and open the flow of energy throughout your body. Look deep within yourself and realize what the bottom line of importance is for you. Connect with yourself, and find that inner peace and wisdom.

* Open your mouth wide and feel if there is tension in your jaw.
* Massage the point called “Yintang,” which is located in the middle of your forehead between your eyebrows, commonly known as your third eye.
* Place your hands over your heart and do self-acupressure on the point called “Sea of Tranquility,” located at the center of your chest.
* Take three slow, gentle, and rhythmic deep breaths into your lower dan tian, located two inches below your navel. These breaths are done with your mouth closed and your tongue resting gently on the roof of your mouth. Inhale, and blow your belly up like a big balloon. Exhale, and deflate your belly.
* Open your mouth again, and compare the amount of tension in your jaw from before.

This simple Qigong exercise opens and nourishes the heart energy of the body. Creating and cultivating wonderful, nurturing relationships in life is of utmost importance, especially for promoting a healthy flow of heart energy. The heart energy must be nourished to be able to receive and give love to yourself and others. By creating a harmonious working of your heart through these simple life-enhancing exercises, spiritual and mental strength can be claimed in life. Life begins to flow, just like the movements flow. Life experiences become infused with peace, self-knowledge, intuition, balance, vibrancy, and focus—all great things in creating coping mechanisms to counteract the daily stress and pressures in modern life.

Qigong is a key to becoming an ageless, happy, and healthy woman who looks and feels younger. It softens and helps women to go inward and draw from their natural feminine power. Yet, at the same time, it creates an internal strength that helps women be heard and accepted in a clear and centered manner. Give yourself this glowing gift of Qigong so that you may truly enjoy this and many future years of looking gorgeous on the outside and being filled with vibrant Qi and serenity on the inside.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Shoshanna Katzman, LAc, CA, MS, MA has been director of the Red Bank Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, since 1988. As a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, Tai Chi/Qigong professional, massage therapist, and energy medicine specialist, Shoshanna has been involved in the field of Oriental medicine for over thirty years. She earned her master’s degree in sports medicine from San Francisco State University, CA. in 1981 and her master’s degree in Acupuncture from the Tri-State College of Acupuncture, NYC in 1999. Shoshanna also has her master’s certification in energy body medicine from Deutsche Schule fur Angewandte Energiekorper Medizin in Hamburg, Germany, in 2007. As author of Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20 Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy (Avery Penguin Group, 2003), Shoshanna has produced a companion DVD. She has been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles and has appeared on radio and television, including programs on the Food Channel and America’s Health Network. Visit and