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We use Chi Kung for our 'BODY HEALTH’ programme, which now encompasses the majority of our public sessions. Something of its background is shown below, but in essence it is an exercise system built around awareness of the body and learning to CONTROL as many of its functions as possible.

Movement and exercise have always existed in Chinese culture. The earliest reference we have to special 'dances' for warding off illness date from the period of the legendary Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, who reigned perhaps as early as 2700 BCE.  Certainly by the 6th century BCE, scholars had already begun to classify various methods of exercise and breathing techniques for maintaining health - some of which may be depicted in jade carvings dating from this time. Later, during what is known by historians as the Warring States Period, 480-222 B.C.. we find the emergence of what are called Tao Yin (daoyin) disciplines - special exercises for health that may, in part at least, have been derived from the much earlier era of the Yellow Emperor.

Tao Yin means 'guiding and inducing' - guiding and inducing the flow of chi around the body. At the same time, special breathing techniques combined with meditation were also being introduced by the Taoist philosophers. These techniques, they claimed, were effective not only in the treatment of certain illnesses but also in the prevention of disease. It is important to understand that in those times a philosopher was also someone who meditated and probably also practised medicine. All these subjects were linked, making up what we would today term an 'holistic' approach.

Yang Sheng may be interpreted as ‘health & longevity’, which suggests that the Daoyin Yangsheng Gong is designed to promote health & longevity through guiding and inducing movement of chi!


Combining traditional knowledge with modern medical theory, Dao Yin Yang Sheng Gong is a system of exercises characterised by gentle twisting motions and involving breath control; plus the stimulation of key acupoints in the body and development of mental awareness of the body and its functions. This system has evolved over the period since about 1965 by Professor Zhang Guangde, now based at his Institute at Beijing Sport University, but with a European base in Biarritz.   He has appointed suitably qualified teachers in most countries of Europe, who in turn run National Associations.   See below for the English Daoyin Yangsheng Gong Association.   Patrick Harries is rated as a Fourth Duan by Professor Zhang and was awarded his grading in 2010.

Its soft, fluent and harmonious movements aim to improve blood, lymph & chi energy circulation within the whole body, to loosen the joints, tone up and oxygenate the muscles and to relax the nervous system.

The system is an extremely comprehensive one. Some exercises are designed to "soften" the body and develop flexibility, others relate directly to specific organs, while others have a more general effect on health.  There are both standing and sitting forms, making the system accessible to people of all ages and physical conditions.  For more advanced practitioners, Professor Zhang has created Tai Ji Quan hand and sword forms which combine traditional Tai Ji martial principles with acupoint stimulation.

Daoyin Yangsheng Gong therefore has three aspects which make it such a valuable contributor to health care.

First it is preventive. People in good health may practise in order to maintain and enhance their robustness.

Secondly, it is curative. People suffering from a particular conditions (for example angina), may practise the appropriate exercises in order to help to alleviate that condition. N.B. Members of the English Daoyin Yangsheng Gong Association never claim that Daoyin Yangsheng Gong is a substitute for conventional medicine, and people interested in exploring the curative aspect of these exercises should only do so with the full co-operation of their doctor. Under no circumstances should anyone substitute these exercises for prescribed medication.

Thirdly, Daoyin Yangsheng Gong is recuperative. For example, someone who has suffered a heart attack, might practise the appropriate exercises with great benefit during their return to health. Once again, one should not introduce these exercises into a recuperation programme without the full support of one's doctor.

Clinical trials performed in China and examinations done by medical specialists and researchers from all over the world, have shown Daoyin Yangsheng Gong to be effective in improving the health, while preventing and ameliorating many conditions without showing any adverse side effects.

Although full scale trials have not been done in Europe, there are excellent results being seen by Daoyin Yangsheng Gong teachers working with people having conditions including: stress related problems, back pain, heart disease, asthma and even very serious chronic conditions such as Parkinson's Disease.