The 13 Health-Preserving Techniques by Simiao SUN

The 13 Health-Preserving Techniques by Simiao SUN

孙思邈 养生十三法

Simiao Sun, also known as the King of Chinese Medicine (药王) and Sun Hevenly-doctor, was a famous ancient Chinese physician and practitioner of qigong. He was born during the Western Wei dynasty (535–556) and was said to have lived to the age of 141 before becoming an immortal, making his longevity secrets worth learning and practicing. Sun Simiao studied medicine due to his own illness when he was young, and was well-versed in various schools of medicine and thoughts.  During the Sui and Tang dynasties, he declined some official positions and remained as a physician, but was still renowned so that even the emperor Taizong Tang had gone to the mountain to see him.

In his famous medicine book “Thousand Golden Formula” (千金要方),there are 13 health preserving techniques recorded:

The 1st technique: “Frequently Comb the Hair” 发常梳 — Rub your palms together until feel warm, then start from the forehead and sweep upwards towards the back of the head and down to the neck; do this 36 times in the morning and evening. There are many important acupoints on the head; frequently doing this exercise can improve vision, prevent headaches, tinnitus, premature graying, and hair loss.

The 2nd technique: “Frequent Eye Exercises”目常运  – (a) Close your eyes, then open them forcefully, roll your eyeballs in circles, and look in the four directions of left, up, right, and down; then close your eyes again, open them forcefully, roll your eyeballs in circles, and look in the four directions of right, up, left, and down. Repeat this three times; (b) Rub your hands together 36 times, then apply the warm palms to your eyes. This exercise can strengthen your eyesight, correct nearsightedness and amblyopia.

The 3nd technique: “Frequent Teeth Knocking”齿常叩 – Slightly close your mouth and knock your upper and lower teeth together without using too much force, but make sure there is a sound when they come into contact. Do this gently 36 times. This exercise can stimulate the meridians of the upper and lower jaws, help maintain clear thinking, improve digestion, and prevent tooth decay and bone resorption.

 The 4th technique: “Rinsing with Jade Liquid” (Jade liquid refers to saliva) 漱玉津 – (a) Slightly close your mouth and extend your tongue out of your teeth. Slowly rotate it counterclockwise starting from the top, making 12 circles in total, then swallow the saliva. Then start again from the top and rotate clockwise; (b) Slightly close your mouth again, but this time keep your tongue inside your mouth and rotate it around your upper and lower jaws. Make 12 circles counterclockwise, swallow saliva, then rotate clockwise. When swallowing saliva, try to imagine bringing it down to the lower dantian. From a modern scientific perspective, saliva contains a large amount of enzymes that can regulate hormone secretion. Therefore, doing this exercise frequently can strengthen the digestive system and promote longevity.

The 5th technique “Ear Drumming”耳常鼓— (a) Cover both ears with palms, press inward firmly, then release, there should be a sound. Repeat 10 times; (b) Cover both ears with palms, fold the ears back, press the Fengchi acupoint at the back of the head with index fingers, flicking them 10 times. This technique can be done before sleep every day to enhance memory and hearing.

The 6th technique “Face Washing”面常洗 — (a) Rub hands 36 times, then sweep up and down on the face; (b) After warming up hands, circle both hands outwards. Doing this technique regularly can make the complexion rosy and shiny, and prevent wrinkles.

The 7th technique “Head Shaking” 头常摇 — Hands on hips, close eyes, tilt head down, slowly twist to the right until back to the original position, repeat 6 times; repeat in the opposite direction. Doing this technique regularly can keep the mind flexible and prevent cervical spondylosis. However, it is important to do it slowly to avoid dizziness.

The 8th technique “Waist Swinging”腰常摆 — The body and hands swing rhythmically. When the body twists to the left, the right hand is in front and the left hand is behind. Gently tap the lower abdomen with the right hand in front and tap the “Mingmen” acupoint with the left hand behind. Repeat in the opposite direction. Do at least 50 times, or up to 100 times. This technique can strengthen the digestive system, tonify kidney qi, and prevent indigestion, stomach pain, and back pain.

The 9th technique “Abdomen Rubbing”腹常揉— Rub hands 36 times, cross both hands after they are warm, and rub clockwise around the navel. Rub from small to large for 36 times as if rubbing a clock. This technique can help digestion, absorption, and relieve bloating.

The 10th technique “Lifting anus” (i.e. Kegel Exercise) 摄谷道 — Inhale and tighten the muscles of the anus. Hold your breath for a few seconds until you can’t stand it, then exhale and relax. This technique can be practiced anytime. It is best to do it 20 to 30 times in the morning and evening. It is said that this technique is Ten-Complete-One’s favorite health-preserving exercise.

The 11th technique “Knee Twisting” 膝常扭 — Stand with feet together, knees close together, slightly squat down, put hands on knees, twist left and right for 20 times each. This technique can strengthen knee joints. As the saying goes, “If legs are weak, kidneys are weak; to live longer, start with your feet.”

The 12th technique “Regular Walking” 常散步— Walk with a straight chest and relax. It’s best to enjoy the scenery along the way without any distractions. There is a folk saying that “walking after meals can make you live until 99 years old.” Although it may be exaggerated, walking is indeed a beneficial exercise.

The 13th technique “Foot Rubbing” 脚常搓 —  (a) Rub the left foot with the right hand and the right foot with the left hand. Rub from heel to toe and then back to heel for 36 times; (b) Alternate rubbing Yongquan acupoints on both feet with thumbs for 100 times. Doing this technique regularly can treat insomnia, lower blood pressure, and relieve headaches. The soles of the feet contain reflex zones of all organs in the body. Regular foot rubbing can strengthen various organs and benefit the body.

We will teach and practice these 13 health preserving techniques by Sun Simiao in our weekly Qigong for Health on Sunday morning, in August 2023.  Please join us on Sunday morning 9:00 to 10:30am at:

ZOOM LINKS of Sunday Qigong for Health class at 9:00 am EST (USA):

OR   If logging on to Zoom with meeting id & password:  

Meeting ID:  99355413260   

Password:   2020520 

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