Qi Gong

We use Qi Gong at the beginning as a ‘warm up’.
Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.
Qi Gong (Qigong or Chi Kung) is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced Chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe.
The second word, Gong, pronounced Gung, means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Qigong means cultivating energy, it is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality.
We start off with Qi Gong as it is ideal for pain relief and pain prevention while providing a safe ‘warm up’.
While the mind is concentrating on the specific movements of a particular exercise other muscles and joints are being used without realising it, thus giving more benefit than it seems.

Qi Gong is very powerful but it has to be done gently and not forced, it can be described like a blade of grass cutting through concrete.

Synovial joints

Illustration of synovial fluid in a joint
Illustration of Synovial Fluid membrane

Most of the joints in the body are synovial joints and have a synovial membrane. Basically, once the joints start to move, more synovial fluid builds up to fill the space in the membrane and acts as a lubricant. Should a joint be subjected to fast movements straight away the body will not have time to make more synovial fluid to lubricate the joints, so some of the old fashioned warm up exercises such as “Let’s start by wind-milling in” can do more harm than good.

Do you have back pain?

Back pain - quadratus lumborum
Quadratus Lumborum

A common source of back pain comes from the Quadratus Lumborum muscles which are 4 layers deep. If these are tight, they can cause pain around the hips. However, we perform gentle stretches in our routine that will help to maintain their flexibility thus reducing and preventing back pain.

These exercises need to be understood to reap the greatest benefit.

Neck Pain

levator scapulae muscle
Levator Scapulae

As well as a stiff neck, tight Levator Scapulae muscles can cause pain, and even nasty headaches.

We have a gentle stretch for this too which is part of our Qi Gong warm up.

I’ve suffered from a lot of neck pain and headaches due to many years of working at a computer.  Qi Gong exercises have been a big help in reducing painful muscle tension and, because they’re so gentle and relaxing, I don’t feel they’re doing me any harm”. Ann.


Anxiety is recognised today as being a true condition, the old fashioned “Get a grip on yourself” and “Pull yourself together” only serves to make you worse and feel inferior. Qi Gong will reduce your anxiety by it’s deep breathing and relaxing flowing movements.

“Tai Chi does not heal you by turning Tai Chi into a range of motions that hurt you.”

Leg Pain

A member asked me today about leg pain. When in bed the outside of the top of the leg hurts. I sometimes get this, but mine is more of a tingle. I’ve simplified this, as I’ve looked on Youtube and the internet and it gets very technical.

The pain is usually to halfway down the Ilotibial Band hereon known as the IT band. If you press in, halfway down it may hurt at one particular spot. There may be a tendancy to massage this spot. I have known it to work, but the problem is with the Tensor Fasciae Latae being tight. Or TFL from hereon in. What you are getting is ‘reffered pain’.

The answer to this is simple, The Lion Stance. Have a go and you will feel it. Your feet MUST be parallel otherwise it doesn’t work. Also if you are in bed, which is where mine used to start playing up, you can put your hand in the cupped Tai Chi Hand and give the TFL a massage up and down in line with the arrows. Use the finger tips of the Tai Chi cupped hand.

I went on a 9 week one day course at the Pain Clinic and I asked what was the stretch for the TFL. “There isn’t one” came the reply from one of the physios. “I know one” “Show us” the physio said.

So I started in Bear Stance, sunk down, streched out my leg to Leopard Stance then turned to the straigt leg. I.E. The Lion Stance. Everyone clapped me including the 2 physios that were taking the class and 2 doctors who came in for a while.

If you look on the internet you will get bogged down with all sorts of ‘industry jargon’. So you see, Qi Gung is not just for Wednesday and Friday afternoons, it should be part of your daily routine. How can I find the time? You may ask. In the queue at the supermarket, at the bus stop, in the Chip Shop. Even at Gatwick Airport, when one passer by asked if that was Tai Chi. Not many people know this!

Calf Muscle Pain and Ankle Pain

2 members today reported that they have calf muscles that are aching/painful. I will try and simplify things. Usually it is the Soleus Muscle that goes on strike. This sits below the 2 big calf muscles (Gastrocnemius). Imagine putting your hand under these muscles with the fingers facing down. That’s where the soleus is and it goes all the way accross. Also when we look at the illustrations below, we will see that the tendons from the Soleus go all the way down and under the heel to the bottom of the foot. The 2 muscles that we need to consider are the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus which are halfway down.

You will see that from the image above left that the Soleus goes right under the foot and the right hand picture shows it going all the way accross below the calf muscles (Gastrocnemius). Because I fell off a ladder in 1988 my right ankle gives me some jip. If I don’t walk correctly my left leg comes out on strike after it gets fed up with compensating.

What do we do about it? Well, appart from walking correctly. There are 2 things, massage and stretching. Feel for a sore point both inside and outside your lower leg a few inches below the knee. Massage this by moving the tips of your fingers of the cupped Tai Chi hand. UP and DOWN, in the direction of the muscle fibres.

Then it needs stretching. Unfortunaly doing Monkey Stance is not enough, Monkey Stance will stretch the Gastrocnemius, but not the Soleus. So we stand in Bear Stance, feet parallel with the ball of the big toe on the edge of a step/ stairs with your hands holding something to support you. Let your heels sink down slowly and hold for 30 seconds, not 20 seconds, a full 30 seconds. You may have to build up to 30 seconds. In severe cases put the ball of the big toe on the edge of the pavement or similar and while standing firmly on the other leg, lower your heel down. Once again, you may have to build up to 30 seconds.

Best Wishes, Doctor Alan. L.O.L.