Here are some links to free videos and resources for self care that I’ve collated over the past few months about supporting our mental and physical health during the current pandemic of COVID-19 Coronavirus. They include information about the ancient Chinese system of supporting a healthy immune system and exercises for adults, young people and children to strengthen the lungs and calm the mind. Plus there is a link to a book for children about coronavirus.
The art of nurturing life and strong Qi
My colleague Danny Blyth, who is a Chinese medicine teacher at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading, has put together a 6-minute narrated slideshow on the art of nurturing life by cultivating strong upright Qi and a healthy immune system.
The slideshow is an overview of the concept of Yangsheng, which is an ancient Chinese system of nurturing life and enhancing health through diet, meditation, lifestyle and exercise. These are practices which aim to protect our spirit, vitality and essences. Thereby supporting a balance between our spirit, mind/emotions and body.
Exercises to strengthen the lungs and calm the mind
In view of COVID-19 targeting the lungs, my colleague Peter Deadman (acupuncturist, founder of The Journal of Chinese Medicine, author and Qigong teacher) has made this 20-minute video of a Qigong routine to help strengthen the lungs. Qigong is an umbrella term for a variety of traditional Chinese body-mind-breath cultivation practices.
The video contains three Qigong practices. The first practice focuses on deep, slow, lower abdominal breathing which expands the lungs to support better oxygenation. The second practice contains two qigong movements to support strengthening the lungs. The third practice focuses on stimulating the Lung channel and chest by slapping and rubbing.
Peter Deadman has created a separate short video which demonstrates further the practice of coherent slow, deep, breathing and simple qigong movements to accompany it.
Here is a longer presentation by Peter Deadman which explains why the internal Asian traditions of exercise, which cultivate the three treasures of body, mind and breath, are so good for us even though they are minimally aerobic. The presentation explores slow, deep, breathing both from the traditional energetic perspective and through the lens of recent scientific research.
Master Zhongxian Wu, an internationally respected Taiji and Qigong teacher, has written instructions for a simple and beautiful Qigong practice on his website. The practice is aimed at strengthening the body’s protective Qi and improving the spiritual and physical functions of our lungs.
You may need to scroll down the webpage to access the Qigong practice instructions.
These Qigong routines would be enhanced by being outdoors and near trees if possible. Trees are considered to be the Lung of the earth. The routines simplicity also makes them accessible for children and young people to do.
My colleague Julian Scott (acupuncturist, herbalist and author), with whom I studied paediatric acupuncture in Germany, has documented in PDF format a simple series of Qigong exercises to strengthen the lungs. Although in the document a child is shown doing the exercise, they are actually appropriate for any age to do.
A book for children about coronavirus
A free digital information book explaining the coronavirus to children, illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, has been published by Nosy Crow and is available to download. The book is written in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds, although as an adult I enjoyed reading it too because it explains the subject very clearly.
The book has been written by staff within the company with expert input from a Professor of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, two head teachers and a child psychologist. It is offered free of charge to anyone who wants to read the book. However a voluntary donation can be made to the health service. There is also the option of listening to a free audio edition on the webpage.