The 5th of June was World Environment Day, and it reminded me of the many days that it was impossible to practice Qigong outdoors because of the haze. Actually whenever the air outdoors is dirty, the air indoors is also dirty, unless you have an effective air-filter or other air-cleansing methods. In fact, if you do not have such air-cleansing methods, the air outdoors may still be better because it circulates whereas the air indoors is relatively stagnant.

Doing physical exercises while breathing unclean air can be more damaging to health than the potential benefits of the exercises. Doing exercises would make us breathe more, hence, more of the pollutants, toxins and carcinogens which contaminate the air get into our lungs. Lung cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths. Although 90% of lung cancers are associated with smoking ( and more women are being affected since more of them are now smoking ), non-smokers also are at risk. Environmental pollution further add the risk to smokers and non-smokers alike. Then, there are the other lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, etc. which are all on the rise.


Clean air has a lot to do with Qigong because qi also means breath, and this life-energy is intimately related to the air that we breathe. Thus, conscious, co-ordinated breathing is an essential component of Qigong exercises.

Qi-breathing is breathing in a relaxed manner, while being aware of and enjoying the air that fills the lungs. For better effect, imagine the red blood cells which are in the small blood capillaries lining the spongy lung tissues absorbing the oxygen and then nourishing all your cells and organs with this life-sustaining element.

At the same time, imagine the qi-energy also going to and nourishing all your body parts and organs, especially those that need healing. If you know the meridians, you can direct the qi along these meridians for faster relief.

Acupoints on the lung meridian not only refer to lung diseases like asthma, bronchitis and rhinitis, but also to joint and muscular problems of the arms and thumbs.

All the Qigong exercises can be utilized to strengthen the lungs, as all the exercises involve breathing. As the breath-energy enters together with the oxygen that the air carries, this energy will bathe the lungs before it gets dissipated along the meridian system.

For healing of lung diseases specifically, you can do the standing exercise with your arms half-extended, and your palms facing inwards as if you’re about to hug someone ( Mother or Wu Chi posture ). First breathe in to fill up your upper lungs ( deep chest-breathing ) with air and qi. Next send the air and qi to the middle lungs. Finally, fill the lower lungs with air and qi ( abdominal breathing ).

If you can smile to your at your lungs as you send the healing qi, it would be much better! This “inner smile” is very important in Qigong, as healing is better if you are in harmony with yourself and your organs. So from now on, even when you’re not looking at yourself in the mirror, smile at yourself. And smile at the organs, one by one, as whenever you send healing qi to them.

Many of us do not open up our lungs fully for too long and the distal lung tissues become inactive. It is good to take deep breaths often and feel the exhilaration from the extra dose of oxygen and qi!

Next, do the lung massage. Place both hands over your upper chest and massage the chest slowly in a circular motion. Do 12 circles. Breathe in a relaxed manner as you do this, and don’t forget to smile at your lungs! Then, take a deep breath as you press your palms against your chest. Relax as you exhale. You can repeat this 3 times. Then repeat the circular massage in the opposite direction.

In Healing Tao, we are taught the different types of energies that we can generate by changing the way we breathe. You can test this yourself. Take a deep breath, open you mouth wide, and then breathe out the air onto you your palms. You will notice the warmth. Take another deed breath, now blow the air out ( almost like whistling ) onto your palms and you will notice that it is cool.

You can control your emotions by how much you open your mouth. It is easier to be calm and not explode in rage if you can keep your mouth shut. Even if you have to say something, you cannot shout without opening your mouth out wide. The wider you open the mouth, the hotter is the emotion. The wise ones always listen more than they speak, and when they speak, they do so in a calm, soft manner.

The chest is the seat of our emotions. When you received terrible bad news or you are severely depressed and sad, you feel chest tightness. Often, when checked for physical medical problems, none is found. Often you get breathing difficulties that are relieved only when your emotional problems are alleviated. So strengthen your chest with qi massage whenever you are sitting down watching TV or sitting at your desk at work. The next time you are down, you can at least breathe better!


The air around should be charged with qi to make it more healthy. This is so obvious when you are in a forest or park, where the trees and the greens give out qi to the surroundings. This is especially so after a drizzle, and more so after a thunderstorm.

Lightning cutting across the air changes oxygen to ozone, which then sterilizes the air around it as it dissociates to become oxygen again ( ozone itself is unstable ). Plenty of negative ions are also created during the thunderstorm. Thus we get multiple benefits – from the rain washing the impurities, the ozone sterilizing the air, and the health-enhancing negative ions (excess positive ions make us tired ). You will notice the fresh “ozone” smell after a storm.

We also get lots of qi. The Earth is a massive reservoir of qi ( the plants absorb this as they absorb water and nutrients ) and much of this is discharged to the surroundings during a thunderstorm. So go out to the outdoors and enjoy the fresh healthy air and absorb the qi that is in abundance. Do your Qigong exercises if you can.

What if there is no rain or thunderstorm? And how to ensure the air indoor is clean, fresh and energetic? If the outdoor air is fresh and the wind is blowing, do open your windows and invite the fresh air in. Unfortunately, more often than not, the air outside is dirty and hazy, or we are in closed air-conditioned rooms, offices or buildings.

The best air-filter is HEPA-grade which will ensure the elimination of the smallest pollutant particle. You can ionize the air with a simple air-ionizer. Or you can ozonize the air with an air-ozonizer. Since ozone itself is toxic, you should get a reliable unit with a safe low ozone output. The best is to have a combined ozonizer-ionizer.

Those who are concerned about their health should also routinely ozonize their food ( fruits, vegetables, meats, rice, etc. ) using a water-ozonizer with a higher ozone output.

There are other types of air-purifiers, including one gadget that “washes” the air by circulating it through water. You can have a fresh, pleasant ambience by adding natural fragrances. If you add the various essential oils, you can have therapeutic benefits as well. So there is so much you can do to improve the air that you breathe. When you combine all these, you can almost mimic the post-thunderstorm effect! Then there are the aromatherapy essential-oil burners, candles and joss-sticks that you can also try.

For air-conditioning, choose a plasmacluster unit if you can. This releases both negative and positive ions that eliminate even viruses and bacteria. All air-con units should of course have good filters and anti-mould features. Many people are breathing unhealthy air from clogged and mouldy filters and air-con conduits that have not been serviced ( just as many people are actually drinking unhealthy water from their clogged and mouldy unserviced water filters ).


Dr Amir Farid Isahak
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